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6 Problems with Self-Leveling Concrete You Should Know

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self-leveling concrete
self-leveling concrete

When issues occur with concrete, one of the options that many homeowners consider is using self-leveling concrete. This type of concrete flows easily, works quickly, and can fix an uneven floor in a matter of hours.

Self-leveling concrete is often used for the wrong purpose, especially for a foundation slab. It is a convenient material but it is not as strong as concrete.

That being said, self-leveling concrete is not a cure-all for every problem experienced with a concrete slab. Some issues are specific to self-leveling concrete that you should know before using it at home.

1. Self-Leveling Concrete Is Difficult to DIY

Many homeowners enjoy doing work around the house when possible. They might even have an impressive set of tools, and they can regularly be found working the weekends doing anything from yard work to interior home repairs.

Self-leveling concrete, however, is not something that a homeowner generally does. It is not recommended as a DIY project because any error in the mixture could lead to problems with the finished results. The problems could include not leveling itself properly or cracking quickly after it is applied.

2. Self-Leveling Concrete Can Crack and Crumble

Self-leveling concrete is often used for the wrong purpose, especially for a foundation slab. It is a convenient material but it is not as strong as concrete.

Cracks are a common problem when concrete is curing. Even large concrete slabs can have small cracks form as the concrete cures due to the stress associated with the concrete drying.

Self-leveling concrete can experience the same problems, but they are amplified in different ways. Since self-leveling concrete dries quickly, it can also crack quickly, and the cracks may be more substantial than what you would see with regular concrete.

Sometimes, self-leveling concrete is also used to cover cracks in the concrete slab. Doing so is a mistake because if the cracks are not repaired, they will get larger and result in the new layer of concrete cracking.

3. Self-Leveling Concrete Does Not Fix the Bigger Problems

There are times when self-leveling concrete is going to be a good solution. One reason it is used includes leveling the floor before you put tile or another type of flooring down. This type of issue resolves a problem where there may be dips in the concrete slab.

All too often, however, self-leveling concrete is used to cover problems that need repairing as well. A good example is when a concrete slab foundation cracks due to differential settlement. If that crack isn’t repaired and the foundation isn’t fixed, you can end up with bigger problems in the future.

If you have any large cracks in a concrete slab, it’s important to have the slab inspected by a professional. Epp Foundation Repair can provide you with that inspection. All you have to do is call or fill out the form on our website.

4. Self-Leveling Concrete Is Not for Vertical Surfaces

Self-leveling concrete is often used for the wrong purpose, especially for a foundation slab. It is a convenient material but it is not as strong as concrete.

Self-leveling concrete does have the benefit of curing quickly, but it is a thin mixture and will not cure quickly enough for use on vertical surfaces. You should only use self-leveling concrete on horizontal surfaces where the application is appropriate.

5. Self-Leveling Concrete Thickness Is Limited

Self-leveling concrete is a convenient choice for correcting specific problems, such as leveling a concrete floor before another floor is installed. It is not appropriate, however, for pouring a thicker slab.

Generally speaking, self-leveling concrete is only poured to a depth of 1 or 2 inches. If you need a thicker layer of concrete, such as pouring a foundation slab, you cannot use self-leveling concrete because it will not support the structure’s weight.

6. Self-Leveling Concrete Is Not Useful Outdoors

Self-leveling concrete is often used for the wrong purpose, especially for a foundation slab. It is a convenient material but it is not as strong as concrete.

It is not recommended that you use self-leveling concrete for any outdoor applications. Due to the nature of the concrete, it can experience problems due to the freeze-thaw cycle or exposure to excess moisture.

The extremes that are experienced outdoors can cause self-leveling concrete to crack easily and even crumble.

Can Problems with Self-Leveling Concrete Be Repaired?

Some issues are associated with self-leveling concrete, such as cracking or crumbling. Removing the self-leveling concrete and starting from scratch may be the only option.

Is A Foundation Repair Necessary?

Slab on grade foundations can sometimes experience problems due to differential settlement. Settlement is often associated with poor drainage and high moisture levels in the soil under and around the slab.

When the soil can no longer support the weight of the slab and structure, it can begin to sink and often does so at a different rate at different areas of the slab. As a result, the slab may eventually sink and crack, leading to many problems.

Epp Foundation Repair can be called on to correct this problem. Through underpinning with slab piers, the slab can be stabilized and even raised to an acceptable level.

After boring through the slab, slab piers can be inserted into the ground till they reach stable soil or bedrock. At that point, they are attached to the underside of the slab and provide the support the slab needs to last for a lifetime.

Contact Epp Foundation Repair today for a foundation inspection and more information on how we can fix a problem concrete foundation.

WRITTEN BY

Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.

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