Serving Greater Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township, McKeesport, Bethel Park


Signs & Effects of Water Damage on Concrete

Water Damage & Concrete

Excess water can damage weak or unprotected concrete. Water seeping into soils beneath or pooling on top of your concrete slab can contribute to cracked concrete, sunken concrete, and even foundation settlement. Addressing water-damaged concrete as early as possible will give you a better chance at total repair instead of costly replacement. To effectively repair your concrete, you need to fix the source of the water problems and not just the resulting damage. It's always a good idea to schedule a professional concrete inspection at the first sign of water damage to your slabs.

Types of Concrete Water Damage

Water Under Concrete

Water underneath concrete can soften or wash away the supporting soils and cause the slab to settle or crack. If the cracked slab is near your home, it can direct surface water toward your home and cause foundation settlement or soil washout on a much greater scale.

Settled concrete can also create low spots where water and debris collect. This standing water can stain the concrete and even turn to ice in freezing temperatures.

Frozen Water Under Concrete

Water seeps under concrete and may freeze and expand, pushing slabs upward until that water eventually thaws. This cycle of freezing and thawing repeats over and over, visibly damaging the concrete’s surface.

Pressure from ice can also create hairline fractures on the slab’s surface that may create even more opportunities for freezing damage.

Water Pooling On Concrete

Unlevel concrete sidewalk

Water pooling can create lasting damage if not tended to right away.

Soil washout under driveways can cause dips where the concrete is no longer supported. If water is pooling on your concrete driveway, it can lead to:

  • Cracked, damaged concrete
  • Muddy conditions when it rains
  • Slippery, icy conditions during winter
  • Pest and insect infestations
  • Decreased property value

Driveways often develop these little reservoirs because of washouts and rainfall, but water can also pool on indoor concrete slabs in less-than-ideal conditions. Suppose the water damage is specifically in your basement or foundation. In that case, it may lead to indoor mold growth, decreased indoor air quality, and even structural problems in the form of rotted wood beams or sunken floors.

What Are the Signs of Concrete Water Damage?

Several distinct and indisputable signs of concrete water damage can’t be missed. The primary signs of water damage are:

  1. Discoloration: Stained or discolored concrete is a telltale sign of water damage. Both white and dark spots indicate a consistent drip, spill, or hole in the concrete. The discoloration is often one of the earliest signs, making it crucial to spot.
  2. Mold or musty smell: This applies to concrete inside your home. When you enter your basement, are you greeted with a musty smell? Do you see mold growing on the walls? Mold usually indicates the presence of water because mold needs moist conditions to grow.
  3. Cracking: Water damage is a common reason for concrete to crack, but it isn’t the only one. Even if water isn’t the cause, cracking in your concrete makes it more susceptible to water seepage and develops bigger problems underneath. These cracks will likely grow over time, eventually allowing mold or algae to grow inside.
  4. Peeling paint or delamination: If you’ve painted the concrete in your basement or garage, the paint will most likely degrade as water seeps in. Bubbling, peeling, or delamination of the surface can show you where the problem is and how it originated.
  5. Stains: Not to be confused with discoloration, rust-colored stains, and the presence of efflorescence are red flags. Efflorescence is a powdery white film that’s left behind from water that has salt deposits in it. While rust-colored stains are a result of deposits of iron in the water.

Can water erode concrete?

Yes. Water is one of the leading causes of erosion and deterioration of concrete in driveways, garages, foundations, and basements. If you live in an environment where water can freeze – and thaw repeatedly – your concrete is at risk for damage. When it rains, rainwater will enter the small holes or cracks in your concrete. In freezing temperatures, the water becomes ice and expands within the concrete. Once warmer weather returns, the ice will begin to melt, and the process is repeated, leaving you with even bigger holes and cracks in your slabs.

Standing Water Damages Concrete

When concrete sinks, water can pool in the area. This often leads to further concrete cracking or foundation structural issues. Water drainage or pooling issues are just one of the reasons to fix a sinking slab.

How to Stop Water Damage on Concrete

Uneven Pool Deck

PolyLevel contractors can fix an uneven pool deck by using its highly-rated slab jacking solution.

You may encounter DIY concrete repairs in your search, but it is best to call a professional for a long-term solution. Trained concrete repair experts can help stop water from coming through your concrete and repair existing damage. Your local PolyLevel contractor will begin with an assessment of your property to determine where the water is leaking from and how to keep it from returning. There are many reasons why PolyLevel is the best residential slab jacking solution. PolyLevel not only restores damaged unlevel concrete in as little as one day but also improves soil stability and load-bearing values. Leveling your concrete can keep water away from your foundation and basement, preventing water from seeping in and causing future problems. Additionally, sealing cracks and holes in your concrete slabs will help prevent further stress.

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