Six Types of Concrete Cracks and What They Mean

May 17, 2021

Concrete is one of the most durable materials out there, which makes it a fantastic product for driveways, sidewalks, patios and all sorts of different construction projects. However, concrete isn’t perfect: It can crack and crumble for a variety of reasons, some of which are out of our control.

There are six main types of concrete cracks in Racine, WI. Continue reading to learn a little bit more about each type of crack.

Plastic shrinkage cracks

Before concrete hardens and is in its plastic state, it’s full of moisture. When the water eventually dries up, it leaves behind large voids in the concrete that are prone to cracking. These cracks are called plastic shrinkage cracks, and they almost always happen in corners or surrounding circular objects in the middle of the slab.

Although these cracks are typically very narrow, they extend downwards throughout the entire slab. Contractors can incorporate control joints into a slab to reduce the chance of these cracks forming.

Expansion cracks

Heat causes concrete to expand, and when concrete expands, it tries pushing everything out of its way. This expanding force often causes cracks, as concrete isn’t a flexible material. Expansion joints made of asphalt or rubber can act as shock absorbers between slabs of concrete and other immovable materials (like a brick wall).

Heaving cracks

Another one of the different concrete cracks in Racine, WI is often caused by the freeze/thaw cycle. Deep freezes can cause the ground to lift upwards, bringing concrete with it. When concrete slabs get heaved up like this, they can crack. Large tree roots can also cause this type of cracking, so always beware when planting new trees.

Settling cracks

When the ground settles below a concrete slab and creates a void, a crack is likely to occur. These cracks can’t really be avoided, but they can be repaired if you call a concrete contractor as soon as you notice one.

Cracks caused by overloading

We mentioned how strong concrete is earlier—but it does have its limits. One of the different concrete cracks in Racine, WI is simply caused by placing too much weight on a concrete slab. This often occurs when homeowners park heavy RVs or dumpsters on their driveways for extended periods.

Cracks caused by premature drying

When concrete dries prematurely, crazing cracks or crusting cracks could both occur. Crazing cracks are fine, surface cracks that look like shattered glass and occur when the top of the slab loses moisture too quickly. When a contractor stamps the concrete to add a decorative pattern, crusting cracks can form around the edges of the pattern.

Fortunately, neither crazing nor crusting cracks cause structural damage.

Hire Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete for your next project

When it comes to residential and commercial concrete projects, nobody tops our crew at Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete. With over a century of industry experience and a customer satisfaction rating of 99 percent, you know you’re in good hands with our staff.

Whether you need us to install new concrete or repair concrete cracks in Racine, WI made by a different contractor, we’re the team for the job. Give us a call today to learn what we can do for you.

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