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Replacing Broken Concrete

Posted on 13th June 2016 by Ever Readymix Concrete

There are times when you need to face up to the fact that, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to perform a quick fix on broken concrete. Trying to patch up slabs or driveways will likely not solve the real, underlying issues with the concrete and it is highly likely that they will just reoccur if you don’t properly deal with them.

replacing broken concrete

The team here a Ever Readymix Concrete have put together this guide on why you should replace broken concrete and how to go about doing so, to ensure that you don’t waste valuable time and money.

How concrete becomes damaged

There are three main conditions under which broken concrete will need to be replaced. These are:

  • Frost heave
  • Sunken concrete
  • Widespread, deep cracks

Attempting to patch concrete that has undergone any of these kinds of damage will offer no solution to the problem; the damage will only reoccur after a short period of time, leaving you out of pocket and back at square one.

Frost heave

Frost heave is common in colder climates and occurs when moisture in the ground freezes, forcing the soil surface to heave. This can cause dramatic upheaval in concrete slabs and make them uneven, unstable and substantially cracked.

Spotting signs of frost heave is easy, as the concrete slabs will be raised out of the ground higher than usual. This will likely be incredibly pronounced. If you spot concrete that has been damaged by frost heaving then you should look to replace it.

Sunken Concrete

Sunken concrete occurs when the subgrade was not prepared properly. It may be that loose dirt has been used for the subgrade. If this dirt settles, the concrete is left entirely unsupported, making it far more susceptible to sinking under any weight. Low quality subgrade will be compromised by water – rainwater, water from sprinklers/hose pipes for example – getting in underneath the concrete.

Sunken concrete can still occur with compacted subgrade if extreme weight has been placed on the concrete itself. You should always be aware of how much weight certain slabs are able to take to avoid causing prolonged damage.

Sunken concrete is also easy to spot as it will pushed deeper into the ground, usually one side more so than the other. You will also be able to feel sunken concrete as you walk over it as the slab will react to the weight you put on it.

Deep cracks

We aren’t talking about surface level cracks, we mean when cracks have broken all the way through the surface leaving the concrete entirely fragmented. These types of cracks can occur for numerous reasons, including: extreme weight from large trucks, poorly or improperly prepared subgrade, subgrade erosion and poor quality concrete. Deep cracks cannot be patched up.

Replacing damaged concrete

Under any of these circumstances, as we’ve said, concrete should be replaced without wasting time trying to salvage it. To replace concrete that has been broken in any of the ways we’ve detailed, here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the concrete. Don’t partially remove broken slabs, break them up and remove them in their entirety.
  • Remove the subgrade and base layer. Not doing this will likely mean that the problems that broke the previous concrete will only happen again once new concrete has been laid. Problems with the subgrade can lead to any of the conditions we have outlined above, so removing the subgrade is vital.
  • Replace the subgrade with compactable material, then compact it. This will help create a stable, solid foundation for the new concrete and should go a long way towards preventing the problems we’ve talked about in the future. Properly compacted subgrade is one of them most important steps to achieving a successful slab.
  • Pour fresh concrete over the area. Once the base has been properly installed it should be ready to support the new concrete, so pour in the new concrete to finish off the job. Make sure the concrete you choose is not of inferior quality so it doesn’t end up breaking apart once installed. Ever Readymix Concrete supply top quality concrete that lasts, perfect for any replacements you need to make, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Ever Readymix provide concrete to domestic and commercial customers throughout the Yorkshire region at highly competitive prices. Our experienced team are on hand to advise you how best to use our concrete products, casting an expert eye over your concrete needs. With prompt delivery and expert service, get in touch today to discuss what the team here at Ever Readymix can offer you.