Three Reasons To Repair Cracks In Concrete Slabs

Why A Crack Can Be A Sign Of A Bigger Problem

2022-01-19Updated: 2024-06-20 Strengthening Technologies

At Strengthening Technologies, we are the nationwide experts in all types of concrete repairs. A concrete slab often develops cracks over time, and this type of foundation damage can happen for multiple reasons. Concrete repair of cracks in slabs and foundations is crucial for three reasons in residential and commercial buildings. 

Cracks in a Concrete Slab Indicate Other Problems

There is always an underlying reason for the problem when a slab cracks. These reasons include:

  • Improper initial construction of the slab, such as insufficient or deteriorating steel reinforcement in the concrete
  • Poor drainage or leaks in pipes around the concrete slab or foundation beams, causing water intrusion and settlement under the structure
  • Insufficient soil compaction leads to the ground settlement under the slab or foundation beams
  • Large roots undermining and lifting sections of the slab or foundation
  • Expansive soils such as clay can significantly expand and contract when weather and moisture conditions change, resulting in cracks.

In addition, minor cracks can appear in concrete slabs when the concrete does not get the correct treatment during the curing process after the concrete was poured into place. Hairline cracks caused by improper concrete curing are often only a cosmetic problem, and they are easier to repair than cracks that develop for other reasons.

However, cosmetic cracks can also lead to further problems if they allow moisture to enter the slab, resulting in rusting the steel inside. Due to the complexity of causes for slab cracking, it is vital to have an experienced professional diagnose the problem to determine the cause before choosing the best concrete repair method to address the issue.

Cracks in Slabs Can Pose Safety Risks

A cracked slab or foundation can be a safety hazard for people using the building. For example, many slabs are also floors where people walk, and a significant crack can create a trip hazard. In addition, a cracked slab or foundation can undermine the structural integrity of walls, roofs, chimneys, and other parts of the building.

For example, a cracked slab caused by soil settlement can eventually collapse a structurally significant wall that could injure people or result in expensive repairs. Or, a cracked slab can lead to settlement and shifting of walls that then cause problems in the roof, resulting in leaks that damage property inside the building.

Cracked Slabs Decrease Property Values

Cracks in slabs do not look good to potential buyers and tenants, and they can lead to concerns about the structural integrity of the building. Even if the cracks are not causing structural problems, a buyer or tenant might not understand this, and they might reject a property where they see damage in the foundation or a concrete slab.

Repairing Cracks in Slabs and Foundations

There are multiple methods for repairing cracks in slabs and foundations. For small cosmetic cracks due to improper concrete curing, applying filler material to the cracked surface might be all that is needed. However, cracks caused by soil settlement or drainage issues might need repair using one of these methods:

  • Installation of straight or helical steel piers or concrete piers under the slab to prevent further settlement
  • Injection of high-density polyurethane foam products under the slab, a technology called foam jacking and mud jacking
  • Installation of a French drain outside the slab to redirect rainwater, preventing the undermining of the structure
  • Repair of broken pipes that are causing water intrusion and slab settlement
  • Removal of large tree roots and refilling the voids in the soil with a foam or concrete product

After fixing whatever is causing the crack to develop, the next step is to repair the visible damage by filling it with a concrete sealant or epoxy resin product to produce a smooth and attractive finish on the slab or foundation surface.

Finding Help for Concrete Slab Repair

If you discover cracks in a slab or foundation in your residential or commercial building, getting the problem diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible can save you money and reduce your liability risk in the future. Structural issues in concrete only get worse over time.

Strengthening Technologies specializes in a wide range of concrete repairs, including fixing cracks in slabs and foundation beams. We have the equipment, know-how, and trained technicians to quickly diagnose the problem and give you the best solution to match your budget. We travel all over the continental United States and can bring our services to you, no matter what state you're in.