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Why Concrete Settles

Without addressing the core reason behind your sinking concrete, any repair done could be a temporary fix. At A-1 Concrete Leveling, we want our fixes to be permanent and last for years to come. Because of that, we are always looking for the root causes of every issue.

The reasons why concrete becomes uneven are many, but broadly speaking they can be boiled down to four primary causes, water issues, dry soil conditions, poor compaction, and animal and pest influences. Read below to get more information on each cause of concrete settling.

Water Issues

The number one reason concrete settles is water. Heavy rain or flooding can cause soil to soften, which can cause concrete to sink. Water that freezes and thaws in winter months can also break down soil beneath a slab weakening its ability to support the concrete. Finally, water that continually flows over, and under, concrete can wash out the subsurface, leaving voids that cause the concrete to sink. This can often be a result of downspouts running directly on the ground beside concrete sidewalks or driveways, or poor grading around your concrete slabs.

Causes of concrete settling - water issues

Dry Soil Conditions

Long periods of dry conditions, like during a drought, can cause soils, mainly clay, to shrink. This can result in unstable sub-surfaces, and voids which often lead to sinking concrete. Also, dried out soil that is then soaked with heavy rain can also lead to sinkage due to voids being filled with now moistened soil.

Causes of concrete settling - dry soil conditions

Poor Compaction

During construction, sometimes contractors don’t compact the soil well enough before pouring footers or concrete slabs. This can often happen around foundations where backfill can be poorly compacted, or even worse, debris such as old tree stumps and building material can be shoved in holes before filling. When this debris rots or shifts it can result in sinking soil, leading to uneven concrete or sunken foundations.

Causes of concrete settling - poor compaction

Animal/Pest Influences

Animals such as chipmunks, groundhogs and more can burrow under concrete, creating voids. These voids can also be widened by running water causing even more issues. Even pests like ants can cause quite a bit of perforation of the soil beneath concrete causing the slabs to sink.

Causes of concrete settling - Animal Insect Infestation

The A-1 Concrete Solution

A-1 Concrete Leveling and Foundation Repair has solutions to all of these problems. And without addressing them now, they will simply get worse, causing more damage and increased cost to repair.


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Rhonda Swinehart - Owner
250 Reviews - 5 out of 5 stars [READ MORE]

My husband and I had a stair project that we needed to have addressed. With the settling of our home, the top step was 3 inches higher than the other stairs. Everyone who entered our home through the front door would trip and sometimes fall onto the front porch. A-1came out, took a look at our project, gave me an estimate, and were in front of our home to do the work in less than a week! In addition, although they don’t do the railings...ours was connected in a way that made raising the steps impossible if they didn’t disconnect them. They cut the railing loose, cleaned up the stairs, and completed the leveling in under 2 hours. Unfortunately, the railings were not equal and one side was higher than the other. I called Andy Stepan, explained the situation, asked him if they could fix it, and he sent Ben and Jason back out THE SAME DAY to make sure the job was done right. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND A-1 Concrete Leveling to anyone who asks, and plan to have them come back to do our driveway soon.

- Janice Edwarda-Armstrong from Pittsburgh