Concrete Lifting Problem Signs: Concrete Patio and Porch Cracks
Concrete patios and porches can be extremely appealing for people who want a patio or porch that’s easy to take care of and can withstand a beating. However, even though concrete is very strong and tough, it can still end up with cracks in it from time to time. If you’re looking for a good way to maintain your home’s structural integrity, you must consider the best ways to handle cracks in your concrete patio or porch. Here’s what you need to know about concrete patio and porch cracks.
How Does a Concrete Patio or Porch Crack Happen?
There are many reasons you might end up with a crack in your concrete patio or porch. Although the potential reasons for these cracks are essentially limitless, there are a few reasons that might be more common than others.
- Issues with the Underlying Foundation
If your concrete patio or porch has a secondary foundation underneath it, you might see cracks because of problems with that foundation. It’s not as common, but this is especially true if the concrete patio or porch rides up directly against the rest of the home. When you start to see the patio or porch shift away from the home, you could have a problem with the foundation as a whole.
This could indicate a problem with either the foundation under the patio or porch or with the foundation under your home. That’s one of the reasons it’s such a good idea to get a concrete repair expert in when you start to see cracks in these concrete slabs. They can help you understand what you’re seeing.
- Soil Erosion
Another very common reason for concrete patio and porch cracks is soil erosion underneath the concrete. Have you noticed a significant amount of rain and flooding recently in your area? Do you feel like the soil has moved around a lot in other areas? You may be experiencing soil erosion underneath your concrete slabs.
If this is the case, then you probably have pockets of air underneath the concrete. You need to fill those pockets of air with something. If you don’t, the concrete will start to sink into those pockets of air. That’s when you tend to get cracks as the concrete sort of falls in on itself over time, pushing up against the lack of support.
- Uneven Settling
Settling is something that happens to just about all concrete as it sits over time. However, what if one side of the concrete starts to settle more than the other side? If this happens, then you’re going to end up with serious problems regarding uneven settling. This uneven settling is a problem because the concrete just won’t sit back up properly.
It’s common for uneven settling to cause issues where two concrete slabs won’t match up properly now, even if they did when you first poured them. However, another problem that can occur is cracking. That’s especially true if one side is sinking substantially, causing the other to lift in the air. Its weight will eventually cause the slab to crack.
Why Do I Need to Fix Concrete Patio and Porch Cracks?
Some homeowners are always looking for the easiest way out. To that end, it might make sense for them to ask why they even need to fix concrete patio and porch cracks. Here are a few compelling reasons for you to put in the work that you need to fix these cracks.
- Continuous Problems
Possibly the biggest reason you want to fix concrete patio and porch cracks early on is that otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to a realm of constant problems. Concrete and porch cracks just won’t fix themselves, and it’s common for one problem to lead to another and another and another until you’re drowning in concrete issues.
When you only have one or two cracks in your concrete patio or porch, you can almost certainly lift it back to its initial state and make sure it stays healthy. However, if you have many cracks in the patio or porch, you’re almost certainly not going to be able to do that. It’s less time-consuming and much more effective to just fix the problems early on.
- Tripping and Falling
When you have concrete patio or porch cracks, you’re opening yourself up to issues with tripping and falling. This is especially true because patios and porches tend to be places where people spend a lot of time. It’s easier than you might think for you to catch your foot on a crack and end up taking a spill.
Many people think of elderly folks and those who have a difficult time walking as being the ones most likely to end up tripping and falling on broken concrete. However, anyone can end up with these problems. If you have cracks, you could end up tripping and falling, so it’s always important to fix the problem.
- Aesthetic Problems
Aesthetic problems may not be first on your list of things to worry about, but it is important to think about this when you’re considering whether or not to fix your concrete patio and porch cracks. Specifically, it’s important to think about aesthetic problems because they can have an impact on your home’s valuation.
It’s well-known that beautiful homes end up with a better valuation. The more care and effort you put into your home, the more likely you are to end up with a high valuation if you eventually sell or rent the home. Fixing concrete patio and porch cracks makes your home more beautiful, which means it adds to the valuation.
FAQs About Concrete Patio and Porch Cracks
Once you call a Groundworks concrete repair expert, you’ll get a full understanding of what’s happening, and you can move forward in your concrete repair process. Here’s how an expert will help you with your cracked porch or patio concrete.
- More Information
To the untrained eye, all concrete and all cracks may look the same. For your everyday life, this is fine, but if you’ve just bought a home with a concrete porch or patio, this lack of knowledge may quickly develop into a problem for your entire home. After all, if you don’t spot the early warning signs of soil erosion or tree root problems that crop up with your porch or patio, you can easily overlook similar cracks in your foundation, basement, or crawl space.
Because of this, Groundworks concrete repair experts can give you peace of mind with more information. They offer a free inspection that not only assesses any complications with your patio’s concrete but also early warning signs of damage to the structure of your main home. While you may think tree roots bothering your front porch is a small issue, an expert can quickly spot if that’s about to become a huge problem for your foundation as well.
- A Variety of Options to Fix the Problem
After that, an expert will provide you with a range of options to choose from. These will be customized to your exact problem, your area, and any future complications that may arise. For example, you may need to invest in foam lifting, weather-resistant seals, or even ways to stabilize the soil around your patio without damaging your landscaping.
After the no-obligation quote, you can think over the best option for you and let the expert get to work. Depending on how extreme the damage is, an expert can return your patio to its former glory in under an hour. If you need something more extreme, it’s possible to fix all the damage in a single day. That’s backed up with a quality guarantee, so that any updates or tweaks needed to make sure the solution is long-lasting won’t affect your budget.
Homeowners may worry that they don’t have a problem that’s “serious enough” for an expert to help. However, you don’t need to prove that your problem is extremely serious to get help from an expert. The truth is that experts appreciate it when you contact them early on.
- Call in as Soon as You Find the Problem
Ideally, you should call an expert as early as you notice the concrete patio and porch cracks. After all, that’s when they can do the most effective work. A hairline crack and the beginnings of real damage may seem identical to the untrained eye. However, a professional will be able to diagnose when your concrete needs a few quick patches and when it’s starting to develop real issues that need to be addressed at length.
Small cracks will always be the cheapest and easiest to fix. A professional will only need a few minutes and a small amount of sealant to fill up these cracks, returning your patio or porch to its original glory. The smaller the fissure, the more complete this update will be, so you may be unable to detect where the patch begins and ends. As soon as you notice cracks in your concrete, no matter where they are or how bad they are, contact a Groundworks concrete repair expert.
- The Potential for Future Issues
While cracks that have escalated can be repaired, there is a point where the damage is too severe. If you wait too long, even the best sealants won’t be able to bridge the gap. You might need an expert to repour the concrete patio or porch completely. You can usually tell if the problem is getting this bad, but, sometimes, irreversible damage may appear in the span of a few weeks, depending on the main cause.
For that reason, it’s best to have an expert perform a checkup on any small cracks and identify warning signs. Even if no repair work can be done immediately, because the damage hasn’t escalated, an expert can at least point out things like tree roots or eroding soil that should be fixed before it causes problems with your slabs in the future.
A concrete patch or caulk might be something that you’re thinking about, especially if you feel like it’s too much effort to fix the underlying problem. The thing is, putting a patch over these cracks or just caulking over them won’t work. At the most, you’re postponing the issue.
- Not Addressing the Real Problem
Cracks in your patio or porch are a tripping hazard and an ugly flaw. If you want to get rid of the aesthetic disaster or make sure that feet won’t get caught up in the damage, you can just patch the cracks. Caulking will be a cheap way to fill them in, and concrete patches will last longer. However, this won’t fix the real problem; DIY will be more costly in the long-run, you’ll be causing very real damage to your porch or patio, and you’ll only hide the damage for a couple of days or weeks at the most.
That’s because your porch or patio isn’t cracking for no reason. If the slabs aren’t properly supported, or the cement was poured badly, then the cracks will just get longer and deeper. This will make your DIY solution null and void, as the concrete will develop additional cracks that are even more dangerous than the originals. You will eventually need a professional solution, and if you keep applying more patchwork in the meantime, the slab may need a full replacement by the end.
- Only a Fix for a Few Months
As the caulk or concrete patch dries, it will only maintain its veneer for a few months at the most before it starts to crack again from the underlying issue. Because of this, even your DIY solution itself will need repairs. Weather changes, the expanding cracks, and the soil shifting may leave your patches to develop cracks. The caulking will even shrivel and fall into the cracks, making the low-cost fix completely useless.
Worse yet, if you were trying to save the aesthetic appeal of your patio or porch, these fixes will quickly become an eyesore. Patches will leave marks on your existing concrete slabs, drawing your eye to the damage and revealing the DIY solutions as a poor fix. When a professional does intercede to fix the main problem, they will then need to cover up or remove your DIY fixes, which may take additional labor and drive up the cost. It’s far better to contact a professional at the beginning.
Every concrete patio or porch crack is a problem because it indicates there’s something wrong. Your concrete patio or porch can’t crack for absolutely no reason, which means there’s almost certainly something going on. Here’s what you can do when you address your concrete patio and porch cracks immediately.
- Finding the Underlying Problem
The first step should not be to fill or repair the cracks. Instead, you need to locate the real issue that’s causing this instability and damage in your porch or patio. This may involve checking for soil erosion, thinking about sudden weather changes that happened in the last few days, or checking if the surrounding trees or bushes may be disrupting the area.
Once you have a list of possible causes, you can then work on bringing those issues to a halt. Maybe the tree roots need to be removed, perhaps the patio or porch should be reinforced, or you might have to stabilize the soil underneath the entire area. If you just try to patch the damage first, then you’ll find these solutions only last a short while before they crack as well.
- Addressing and Fixing the Problem
Once you’ve found and addressed the problem, now you can move on to repairing the surface-level damage. If the soil was unstable, for example, a professional can use a foam solution that lifts the concrete off that shifting soil. This gives it a more stable base, where old slabs can be filled in and secured in place. Likewise, new slabs can be laid down and you don’t have to worry about these cracking for the same reasons as the old ones.
If the issue was weather changes, then a professional can use high-grade sealants that are compatible with cement and fill in any cracks. This sealant will be mixed to resist the weather changes, so the next heat wave or cold snap won’t leave you with cracks all over again.
Fix Your Concrete Patio and Porch Cracks with a Visit from an Expert
Regardless of where your concrete patio or porch is right now, it’s important to remember that you can fix those problems. A concrete patio or porch is a great investment for most people. You need to take care of that investment so you can enjoy it for many years to come. When you start to see cracks in that porch or patio, you can call a concrete lifting expert to help.
The moment you start to see issues with concrete cracks, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert. Concrete cracks can spread and become much more serious very quickly. If you talk to an expert early on, you’re much more likely to end up with a fix that genuinely works for you and your concrete slabs.