Why Does Concrete Crack?

If you have concrete surfaces on your property, you have probably dealt with cracks in concrete slab areas. What can be done about this unsightly, annoying problem? This quick guide will provide you with information on what to do if your driveway is cracking or patio is cracking. Let’s look at some common reasons why concrete is cracking. Keep reading to learn more.

Plastic Shrinkage

When concrete is in its plastic state, this is the state concrete is in before hardening takes place. During this stage, the concrete is full of water. That water will eventually leave the slab, but when it does, it will leave large gaps in the solid particles. Those empty spaces can make the concrete weak and prone to cracking.

If a concrete mixture is excessively wet, this can be a real problem. Plastic shrinkage cracks can often extend deep into the foundation.

Expansion Cracks

Hot temps can also cause concrete to expand. When the concrete expands, it will start to push against other objects in its way. When there is no room for the concrete to flex, cracks can happen.

Heaving Concrete Cracks

During very cold temps, water can freeze under the concrete. This can lift the concrete up a few inches. After thawing, the concrete will then settle back down. During this process, the concrete can crack.

Tree roots can also cause this to happen by lifting the concrete higher.

Settling Cracks

If the soil beneath the concrete starts to settle, the concrete slab above it could experience cracking. Settling cracks usually happen when a void is created below ground. For instance, if a large tree is removed from nearby, the voided area where roots were once located is now empty space. The soil will eventually settle into this empty space causing damage to the concrete above.

Concrete Overload

Another common cause of cracks in the concrete is an overload on the concrete itself. Concrete is created with different weight loads in mind. For instance, the concrete used for a residential driveway will not be the same as the concrete used for an industrial area often exposed to large trucks. If concrete is exposed to a weight load that it is not designed to carry, it can result in cracking.

Premature Drying

When concrete does not dry properly, it can also create cracks. There is a specific process required to properly dry and cure concrete.

If you need help repairing or patching cracked concrete, you should reach out to a concrete professional nearby.