Fixing Bad Concrete Before You Attempt to Sell

Home Improvement

You are looking to sell the family home. You are smart enough to know that certain repairs will be necessary in order to command top dollar. What you do not know is whether or not it is worth putting money into your concrete driveway and back steps. In a word, yes.

Cracked, broken, or sinking concrete makes buyers nervous. Home inspectors do not like it much either. So, unless you are willing to entertain low-ball offers on your property, invest the time and money to repair that bad concrete.

When Concrete Sinks

Concrete driveways and steps can sink for a variety of reasons. One of the more common reasons is poorly compacted soil. In other words, the soil underneath was not properly compacted before the concrete was poured. Over time, that soil has settled, and your concrete steps or slab is now sinking because the soil is sinking.

Other causes of sinking concrete are:

  • Poor Drainage – If water gets trapped beneath the concrete slab or steps, it can lead to erosion. Even worse is a scenario in which the land hasn’t been properly graded, causing water runoff to head straight for the concrete. This also causes erosion that can lead to sinking.
  • Generally Poor Soil – Certain soil types don’t do very well under the weight of concrete. Clay is one of them. If the concrete was poured without the soil being dealt with, it is likely to sink when the soil underneath begins to move.
  • Too Much Weight – You could have a concrete driveway that was installed correctly from the very beginning. But if you’ve parked heavy vehicles in the driveway for too long a time, the excess weight could be the culprit.
  • Voids Underneath – Sometimes you do everything right and a concrete slab or set of steps sinks anyway. This can happen when there are voids 5 to 10 feet below the surface. Such voids are prone to collapse brought on by flooding.

As you can see, concrete slabs and steps do not sink for just one reason. There could be lots of things in play in any given situation. The good news is that repairs may not be a big deal.

Raise That Slab

Let’s say you are thinking about selling a home in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can call a contractor like the Concrete Raising Company who specialize in raising sinking slabs, steps, etc. They say that raising concrete is effective in most cases.

Unless your property is suffering from some kind of serious underlying issue, concrete raising can get your driveway or steps back to the original level quickly and at a reasonable cost. It is done by injecting material underneath the sinking concrete.

Mud jacking utilizes a concrete and aggregate solution while slab jacking relies on a synthetic material very similar to an expanding foam. Both materials get rock hard as they cure. Foam is preferred because its expanding properties add pressure that makes leveling more effective.

In either case, the contractor drills holes in the concrete at strategic locations. A high-pressure pump is then used to pump the material into the underlying soil. As voids are filled and pressure builds, the concrete rises. The contractor then finishes off by sealing the holes with regular concrete.

If you are looking to sell a home that has visibly broken or sinking concrete, you’re better off investing in repairs before listing. Remember that buyers are scared away by concrete in poor condition. It is likely you will have trouble commanding the price you want if you do not get it taken care of.