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3 Most Common DIY Concrete Leveling Mistakes

Have you been dealing with uneven concrete slabs in your driveway, walkway, garage, patio, or elsewhere? Uneven concrete slabs are not only an eyesore, they are also dangerous. You don’t want your kids or guests to trip and hurt themselves.

It’s tempting to want to get it over with and try to fix the issue yourself, but concrete leveling is a little more complicated than just pouring down some new concrete. To cut down on time and money wasted, read the following tips.

3 DIY Concrete Lifting & Leveling Mistakes

Gap in concrete garage floor

1. Using Self-Leveling Concrete

When working with self-leveling concrete, you need to be very careful. It is a finicky material and it’s easy to make mistakes. The product is quite expensive and labor-intensive, one mistake can unwind an entire project.

One huge mistake is using warm water. Warm water causes the concrete to set up much too quickly so, when it’s all set up, it will have hills and bubbles in it. The concrete may be too soft or the subflooring may not have been properly lifted so the new concrete slopes.

You also can’t assume that if you’ve used it before in a small patch you can use a different brand on a whole floor with the same results. Every brand has a different set of instructions based on its own mixture.

2. Not Getting the Right Mix

For floors, foundations, driveways, and load-bearing support, it is essential that you understand how much concrete you will need. If the concrete is too thin, it will crack and collapse.

You can use an online calculator to get a translation of the three-dimensional measurement into cubic yards. Once you have your number, round up. You don’t want an exact amount because then you leave no room for adjustments. You can always return unused bags of mix.

Common slab thicknesses:

  • Sidewalks: 4 in.
  • Residential driveways: 6+ in.
  • Commercial driveways: 8-10 in.
  • Loading docks or dumpster pads: 10-12 in.

3. Assuming All Concrete Is Equal

Concrete is made out of three ingredients — Portland cement, water, aggregates (i.e. sand or gravel). Every type of concrete mix has a specific purpose so the mixtures will have different ratios of dry ingredients, as well as requiring differing amounts of water. While it sounds easy enough to just follow the directions and get whatever the internet suggests, it’s still not that easy.

There are five types of Portland cement, all used for different sorts of projects, and they may each have different admixtures to create different products. Some admixtures are made for moist areas, some for dry, some slow corrosion, and others allow the concrete to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle.

4. Not Contacting an Expert First

As soon as you want to get started on lifting your concrete slab, you should contact an expert near you. They will give you an estimate and their advice on how to proceed; inspections are usually free (they are from us). I

t might just pay off to take advantage of any special offers and save yourself some time and money. You will feel better knowing the job will get done properly and you don’t have to mess around with it.

Leave It To Us!

If you’re looking for concrete lifting experts in the Atlanta, Athens, and Marietta areas, look no further than AquaGuard Foundation Solutions, the premier foundation repair, and waterproofing professionals! Contact us today for a free estimate!

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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