Signs it’s Time to Fix Your Cement

Cement is often the unsung hero of our infrastructure. It’s on our driveways, in our basements, and under our feet, quite literally holding everything together. But like all things, cement doesn’t last forever, and knowing when it needs attention can save you a world of trouble and a hefty repair bill down the line.

Here are five subtle and not-so-subtle signs that it’s time to roll up your sleeves—or call in the professionals—and give your cement some much-needed TLC.

1. Cracks Are Showing

Visible cracks in your cement are the clearest sign that something’s not quite right. It might start with a hairline fracture, barely noticeable, but that’s often a symptom of underlying issues that, if not addressed, can lead to larger, more concerning cracks.

Keep an eye out for the width of the crack, as this can indicate the severity. Hairline fractures might be manageable with some DIY crack sealing, but if a crack is wider than a quarter of an inch, that usually indicates a deeper problem, and professional repair is the wisest course of action.

2. Patchy Patches

If your cement has been patched in the past and those patches are looking worse for wear, it’s a sign that the original problem wasn’t solved—only cosmetically covered. Repetitive patching can indicate that the subbase is compromised or that the concrete wasn’t properly mixed and poured to begin with.

When previous patches start to crumble, they need to be addressed along with the rest of the concrete. This might mean you need to resurface the entire area, or in severe cases, remove and repour the concrete altogether.

3. Water, Water Everywhere

One of the most common enemies of concrete is water. If you notice pooling water or cracks that seem to be following a water path (water damage often looks like a branching pattern), it could be a sign of poor drainage or incorrect sloping, leading rain or runoff to pool and seep into the concrete.

Over time, this can cause erosion of the subbase, leading to settlement and further problems with the surface. Correcting drainage issues and sealing your concrete against water can prevent these issues from worsening or occurring in the first place.

4. Tripping the Surface Fantastic

Uneven surfaces are more than just a cosmetic issue—they’re a safety hazard. Trip hazards are a liability, and if you’ve got dips, humps, or an uneven step from one slab to another, it’s not just a white mark on your homeowner’s record, it’s a potential injury waiting to happen.

Most often, unevenness is caused by settling of the ground beneath the concrete due to erosion or inadequate compaction during the original installation. This may require professional intervention to level out and prevent the issue from returning.

5. That Dreaded S-Word—Sinking

Concrete sinking isn’t just an alarming sign; it’s an undeniable one. When a section of your cement starts sinking, it’s because the subbase has eroded or compacted beneath it, causing the concrete to have insufficient support.

This issue might start small, with one corner just a hair lower, but given enough time, it can lead to dramatic differences and considerable issues. Polyurethane injections or slabjacking are two common methods of raising sunken concrete and stabilizing the subbase to prevent further sinking.

Wrapping Up

Ignoring your cement can be tempting, but it will only lead to larger issues that are more difficult and costly to address. Regular inspections and prompt action can keep your concrete looking good and doing its job for years to come.setChecked:true