What to Do With Sunken Concrete Steps?
No one likes the look of sunken concrete. It can make your curb appeal feel disheveled and worn. When it’s your concrete steps that have begun to sink, however, it’s more than just unsightly. Concrete steps that sink unexpectedly can be dangerous, especially for children or senior citizens who live with you. Even flat concrete can become dangerous when it’s not level, much more for steps. In order to have them repaired, it’s important to know what the problem of sunken concrete is…and what causes it.
What Causes Sunken Concrete Steps?
Your concrete steps could begin to sink for any number of reasons. A concrete repair expert can help you identify exactly what went wrong in your case. Typically, however, it’s a problem to do with the soil. It could be that the soil support of the concrete slabs are uneven, that some of the slab is supported by soil while the rest is not. It could be an issue of the soil shrinking or becoming compacted over time, especially if the soil is too dry.
It might even be the wrong type of soil. Different types of soil have varying degrees of load-bearing capacities. Concrete can be quite heavy, and if the weight exceeds the load-bearing capacity of the soil — as might be the case with concrete steps — the soil will shrink and become compact, which offers less support to the concrete.
The Problem of Sunken Concrete
Even on flat ground, concrete slabs that are unsupported and sinking will be uneven, which can be a massive tripping hazard. It can also potentially damage tires of vehicles or furniture if you’re in the process of moving. When it’s concrete steps that are sinking and uneven, this tripping hazard can be even more problematic. If you lose your footing, you could potentially fall down the remaining steps. If the concrete steps are on a residential property, it could be dangerous to those who live in the home or to guests that you invite over. If the concrete steps are on a commercial property, customers could be hurt and you could be in for a lawsuit.
Repairing Sunken Concrete Steps
There are a few ways to repair sunken concrete steps, but not all of them are equal. Some might be more of a commitment than you’d like for the project, while others could leave behind a shoddy appearance that won’t last very long. Here are the common solutions to sunken concrete steps, as well as the solution that Childers Brothers stands by:
If you’re struggling with sunken concrete steps, one option you could opt for is concrete replacement. This would involve taking out the concrete steps completely and replacing them with new concrete steps. This is an involved process as well as a costly one. It requires the most labor of these three options to accomplish, and even after the job is done, you’ll have to wait 24-48 hours to allow the concrete to dry before you can use the stairs. It will take about four weeks before the concrete is at full strength. So while it’s good to have a professional who knows how to replace concrete, you also might want to avoid this option while there are other options still available, saving yourself both money and time.
The most common method of concrete repair is called “mudjacking.” Mudjacking pumps a slurry-grout mixture beneath the concrete to level it by drilling large, unattractive holes into the concrete. It’s also not a long-term solution as the mixture can erode away and cause a need for further mudjacking in a few years. Compared to full concrete replacement, most customers find it to be more convenient and cost effective.
However, this is not the only solution available before concrete replacement.
Slab Lifting Foam
At Childers Brothers, Inc., we use slab lifting foam because it’s less intrusive, environmentally friendly, and durable enough to lift 10,000 lbs per square foot. This foam is injected through a small whole and then expands to the size of the concrete slab, so that it lifts it and supports it firmly. Best of all, it’s permanent, so you won’t have to do it again in a few years.