A Little Bit of Settlement

So your porch has settled a little bit, or your pool deck isn’t quite as level as it used to be. What’s the big deal? It’s not much of a problem, right? Well, it really depends. There is no way of telling what the concrete section is going to do and how much of an issue it may pose in the future. While Jackcrete doesn’t have all the answers, we can provide some advice for deciding whether or not to fix that pesky settled concrete.

Scenario 1: Sunken Concrete Stays the Same

Your concrete has noticeably settled, but you decide to wait it out. Lucky you! The section does not get any worse, and all you have is a bit of a trip hazard. When old people or young children visit you want to be careful to remind them about the dangerous area, but otherwise you are fine. If you choose, you may even grind it down to level for a bit less money than foam concrete leveling. This would be a bit of a gamble, however, because you’ll be betting on the concrete not settling further- if it does, your concrete is once again unlevel but already scarred from the grinding.

Scenario 2: Concrete Continues to Sink

A little bit of settlement turns into a lot of cracking which turns into a lot of small uneven sections that look terrible and pose a real hazard. This happened slowly over time, but you barely noticed. Who could blame you for not keeping close tabs on something as mundane as concrete? You have two options- replace all of the concrete, which will be twice as expensive as concrete lifting or concrete grinding, or just let the concrete remain with the understanding that if you ever go to sell your home the inspector will definitely bring the concrete into contention, and for the remainder of your time in the house it will be an unsightly hazard.

Our Recommendation: Weigh Your Options

A little bit self-serving, but we would recommend fixing it when you identify the issue. Unless you have a way of knowing that the concrete is not going to sink further or crack from the stress, the best option is to have it repaired to maintain your home’s value without accruing extra costs down the road. At a minimum, get an estimate to have the concrete repaired. There will be no obligation to move forward, you’ll get a better idea of the cost to fix your concrete, and our inspector may be able to give you advice on whether or not the area is prone to further settlement or cracking based on the surrounding conditions.

If you’re not in a position to repair it immediately, think about it as a question of opportunity cost. For those a bit less business-savvy, opportunity cost is defined as “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” Basically, you want to compare the current expense of concrete leveling with the potential much higher future expense of concrete replacement, taking into consideration your current financial situation with the situation you expect to be in 1-3 years down the line if the concrete’s condition were to worsen significantly. Everyone’s situation is different, and there’s rarely a clear answer one way or the other.