How to Fix A Bad Concrete Job?

You can fix a bad concrete job by resurfacing or tearing the concrete out completely. Some types of bad concrete jobs that are deemed safe by a structural engineer can be left as it is as well.

Bad concrete jobs are more common than you might think. Most contractors lay concrete with cracks or uneven surface finishing constantly. The key is to never pay contractors in advance just because of such risks. However, if you’ve already paid them there are a few things you can do after you notice a bad concrete job.

What is a bad concrete job?

A bad concrete job can be identified from the exterior when there are cracks at surface level, when the concrete is not even, or when the concrete slab moves.

A bad concrete job is typically only visible when there are cracks on the surface level. These can be fine cracks or large cracks (larger than 1 inch). Both should be seen as red flags.

You can place a level on different points of the concrete to check for its even pouring. Concrete is typically laid at an angle for roads, driveways, and other open areas where water needs to be directed away. Concrete needs to be flat when you plan on building a structure such as a home or a garage on it.

  • Bad concrete job on driveways

Among all of the concrete jobs that could go bad, driveways are particularly notorious. The large size of driveways makes their hard jobs. Apart from a surface that’s uneven for concrete, there are multiple other reasons why the job could have gone wrong, including adding too much sand to concrete.

  • Bad concrete jobs on foundations

Foundations or concrete slabs are the most troublesome. A bad concrete job in a foundation can never be fixed 100% without tearing it apart. Surface-level and crack fixes can be a solution, but they typically don’t last either.

What to Do With a Bad Concrete Job?

A bad concrete job can feel like a significant headache. You weren’t expecting this and your budget is not easy considering tearing the concrete out either. Contractors should be able to replace a bad concrete job on occasion, but not all the time. Here’s what to do.

Get the concrete job evaluated by an engineer

First, you need to stay calm. At the end of the day, the concrete is already in place and each action you take from here is normally limited unless you plan on redoing it all over.

It’s best to call a structural engineer to evaluate the job. If you plan of building on top of the concrete you should always take the advice of the engineer seriously. A house or a garage should last for life, if not longer.

Resurface concrete

There are multiple methods of resurfacing concrete. Cracks and surface-level cracks can be dealt with by heavy machinery which typically sands the top until the expos the rocks in the concrete. A new layer of concrete or a special adhesive is poured on top. Expect to pay at least $100 for a small resurfaced driveway and up to $5.000 for a large home’s resurfaced concrete foundation.

Leave the concrete as it is

You can alternatively leave the concrete as it is. If a structural engineer gives the green light you can simply leave it as it is. One area where this is possible is when building a garage with a bad concrete job. You can add a self-leveling finish to the concrete and paint it over with durable paint such as resin paint. This method is also limited on an aesthetic level as cracks can still resurface after a few years.

Tearing concrete out as a last resort

If you have the budget you should always tear concrete out and try to prepare the soil better before doing the concrete job all over from scratch. While this takes time and money, you know you only want the best concrete now and you shouldn’t settle for less.

How to avoid a future bad concrete job

You can learn a lot from a bad concrete job. Here are a few takeaways from all your future concrete projects around the house.

  • Sign a firm contract

You should sign a good contract with the concrete company. Most have this option and you should go ahead and sign a contract where you should write down all of the partial or total repairs the company should liable for in case something goes wrong.

  • Only pay a small deposit

Some companies work without a contract. In this case, you should only pay a small upfront fee and the rest when the job is done. This gives you at least some room to save money in case something goes wrong.

  • Always prepare the ground solidly

Some companies won’t give you the money back even if the concrete job is bad. They can argue you haven’t prepared the ground correctly and this led to cracks in the concrete. Make sure you invest the right amount of time preparing the ground for the weight of the concrete.