When looking for professional services to repair uneven concrete, do you search “concrete lifting,” “concrete repair,” or “concrete leveling”? Did you know that you really don’t want someone to level your concrete? “Level” is a term that has been used more recently in a general sense than a technically accurate description of concrete repair. Read on to understand more about leveling your concrete and reasonable expectations you should have when hiring a concrete repair contractor to correct uneven concrete.
To level your concrete or have your concrete leveled is a misnomer. When referencing the true meaning of the word level with its original intent, you do not want a level concrete porch, sidewalk, or driveway. This may sound odd, but it’s true.
When it rains, where should the rainwater go once it falls onto your concrete surfaces? None of us want water puddling on our concrete porches or standing water on our sidewalks and driveways. Water collecting against the house on a level concrete porch can cause structural damage to the home. Standing water on a concrete driveway, porch, or sidewalk can eventually cause discoloration and severe damage to the surface. During the winter this water may seep into the cracks in your driveway or sidewalk and freeze, causing expansion that makes these cracks larger and your problems bigger.
Let’s also consider those with a swimming pool and kids who love to splash. Just one summer of aquatic birthdays and outdoor entertaining can become witness to an emptying of half the pool onto the concrete surface of the pool decking. Where will that water then go if the concrete is level on the pool surround? If water remains on level concrete, it’s an invitation to a slippery surface and algae-prone area. No one wants this hazard near their pool, or their home.
In both examples, a level concrete surface is less than ideal. To create the best-case scenario, the goal should be concrete that is slightly sloping to allow water to run off the surfaces surrounding your pool, your porch, or away from your driveway, into nearby grass or drainage. If you have level concrete that holds water, you invite moisture near your structures, deterioration to your concrete, and danger to your walkways.
Level is defined by Oxford dictionary as a horizontal plane or line and by Merriam-Webster as a line or surface that cuts perpendicularly all plumb lines that it meets. This means that when you consider the potential damages, you do not want level concrete. Concrete surfaces need to drop approximately 1/4 inch per foot in one direction so that water drains readily from the surface. Concrete surfaces should never be perfectly level.
So, why do we search “concrete leveling”? Over time, the concrete repair industry has termed the operation of lifting concrete as concrete leveling, even though leveling was hardly ever the goal. The phrase concrete leveling has become more of a general term than technical. Most of us prefer to even our concrete surfaces to remove the trip hazards, fix the sinking concrete, and close the gaps that settlement created. Lifting concrete addresses these issues, and when introduced with methods like PolyLift, it resolves them.
You may ask then, “what should my expectations be for a concrete repair contractor if the goal is not for my concrete to be perfectly level?” The goal is to achieve a successful lift with concrete repair so that your concrete surfaces are no longer uneven or unsightly. A reputable concrete lifting company is one that aims to not only correct the problem (cracks in concrete, sinking concrete, uneven concrete steps and sidewalks, and shifting concrete driveways), but also address any underlying causes. A trustworthy professional will provide an honest assessment, informing you in extreme cases when concrete replacement may be the only solution or when nearby tree roots will cause a recurrence in the need for concrete repairs. Know what the concrete repair company promises—a one-time concrete repair or warranty attention should your concrete settle in the future.
The next time you need concrete lifting, concrete leveling, or concrete repair, remember the real goal is not to level concrete but to achieve a successful lift with concrete repair. Call USS today to discuss the concrete repair needs of your concrete driveways, concrete porches, concrete sidewalks, concrete pool decking, and concrete patios. We’re happy to help!