Florida soil can be treacherous. Famous for its clay minerals, it absorbs moisture. For the building owner, this means that their structure is built on ground that shrinks or swells, depending on the water content of the soil. The visual results are uneven concrete floors, cracks in a concrete pool deck, and a gradual worsening of structural problems. Concrete lifting is the goal but let’s first dive into why concrete sinks.
How Does a Perfectly Level Concrete Slab Sink?
When first putting together the foundation of your Naples or Tampa home, fresh concrete was perfectly level. There was not a crack in sight. If the contractor made no mistake when pouring the concrete or mixing the material, there is a good chance that the Florida ground is to blame.
• Shifting soil. When soil shifts, it means that the surrounding earth is not offering sufficient support. Air and water pockets may form. Some slabs may lift while others sink. Those that do not have the option of moving will likely crack.
• Water-caused erosion. Did you know that landscaping mistakes can contribute to shifting soil? When the water does not properly flow away from your home’s foundation, it can cause erosion of the earth bearing the weight of your concrete slabs.
Entrust Experts with the Task of Stabilizing the Soil
Whether you live in Naples, Tampa, or Orlando, the first step is to stabilize the soil. However, using the right method calls for professional assistance. For example, specialists need to determine why your foundation is becoming unstable in the first place. Moreover, stabilizing the ground before attempting repair will allow for a lasting solution rather than a spot fix.
Polyurethane Foam vs. Mudjacking
Mudjacking used to be the only option for homeowners in need of concrete repair. However, technology now shows that this is not the best option. Mudjacking means that you forcefully pump slurry material (mud) under the concrete. And, initially, this method would work. The problem is that the mud eventually hardens and relies on the surrounding earth to give it support.
Because there have been support problems, to begin with, the concrete is breaking. The flaw in this system is obvious. Polyurethane foam is another choice. It does the same thing as mud but uses foam instead. This foam finds its way into every crack that is underneath. In the process, it compacts the surrounding soil even as it mixes with the particles. Most importantly, while mud eventually shrinks, the foam expands.
Understanding What Foam Is
Poly foam is a commonly used product. It is an industry standard for erosion control. It already finds use on highways where it stabilizes slabs. The material is sturdy and does not mix with the soil when wet. However, it is noteworthy that it is not so heavy that it creates weight problems for the underlying soil. Similarly, it does not contract when the soil dries out.
The Next Step Focuses on Controlled Lift
Whether you have a concrete pool deck with a crack, an uneven sidewalk, or a concrete driveway that shows a crack on virtually all slabs, Poly Foam can help. With the first phase of the project complete, the soil under your structure is now stable and will not give way any longer.
Knowing that concrete will no longer sink, technicians will now inject poly foam right in the areas where problems are. When your driveway settles due to soil movement, poly foam will let it rise again to fit with the adjacent sidewalk or walkway. You will notice that this is a highly controlled process.
Because the material expands, technicians will inject the foam in multiple bursts because they do not want to overdo it. The resulting movement of the cracking or sinking driveway and sidewalk pieces lifts them back up.
Concrete Lifting vs. New Concrete Slabs
Some homeowners believe that the only way to fix a crack in a Naples driveway or Tampa sidewalk is by having new concrete poured. This logic is faulty on two fronts. For starters, the new slab will soon sink. Because the underlying soil problems were not expertly stabilized, the soil is likely to give way again.
Secondly, using chemical ground foam to fix a sinking surface is far less expensive than having the new concrete put in. Because lifting the existing slab is possible, you can avoid having the cement mixer show, jackhammering the existing slab, and seeing your landscape destroyed in the process.
Another advantage of the chemical ground foam approach is the speed of the procedure. Freshly poured concrete takes several days to cure. Concrete lifting, on the other hand, takes a few hours. The poly foam cures in about half an hour. The result is a repair that levels your concrete while leaving your concrete in place. Most importantly, the property’s curb appeal remains intact with matching concrete.
Looking Ahead: Poly Foam Offers Lasting Repairs
When you lift concrete in Orlando, Ft. Myers, or anywhere in Florida, you want the project to fix not just today’s problem, but also prevent it from happening again. Polyjacking makes this possible. The chemical grout foam fills voids, bonds with the soil where needed, and compacts the earth adjacent to any holes. Unlike the mud mentioned earlier, it will remain in place and harden.
In addition, the foam is hydrophobic. This is a fancy word that simply means it will not be affected by wet soil that is common in Florida. Even if you were to have a leaking sprinkler line, it would not create problems for the lifted slabs. In contrast, mud will combine with the water, soften, and once again lead to shifts of the ground underneath your property.
After all, when you commit to fixing your soil problems, you do not want us to have to come back soon, do you? Now, because the problem will get worse, make a call today to have an expert come and evaluate your property for the next step.