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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Do it Yourself Discussion! => Topic started by: bonesmtb2 on July 31, 2020, 01:08:02 PM

Title: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: bonesmtb2 on July 31, 2020, 01:08:02 PM
Wondering what I should do with my front porch.  It has cracked, and is now sinking down in the middle.
This is about 3' up all around, and there are stairs in the front.  I will try and take some more pictures later.
As you can see, I added a pressure treated board against the house, since otherwise water pools there and pours down in between the crack between the stoop and the house.  In hard rainstorms, this has caused some water to get in my basement.  Not ideal.

I had a company come out to see if they could jack up the slab by injecting foam underneath, but they didn't want to risk blowing out the sides of the stoop.

I know the real answer is probably to just take it out, and install new wood or concrete stairs, but wondering if there is a cheap way to limp it along.
Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: Sun Hat on August 01, 2020, 06:24:12 AM
My thought is that if you can't fix it from the bottom, then can you add something on the top to level it out? My stepmother had this stuff added on top of her cracking concrete steps (a contractor did it, but you can get DIY kits from Home Depot), and it looks great and has survived a decade of harsh winters. I wonder if it could be applied so that it's thicker in the centre of your dip to level the whole surface out and allow the water to run off away from the house.

Self-leveling concrete might also work, but I don't know anything about how durable that is when applied on top of an existing layer of concrete.

Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: Papa bear on August 01, 2020, 06:45:05 AM
Sounds like you have a water and drainage issue.  Does the ground slope back toward your house and steps? Do you have gutters overflowing in the area? Do your downspouts drain to a storm sewer or are they properly dish charging away from the property? If you have a sump pump, is that dish charging properly?

My guess is there is a water issue causing the area to sink. That and/or the original installer didnít have enough of a gravel base under it.

Water sucks and can do major damage.  If you canít fix what is causing the problem, all youíre doing is slapping on some lipstick. 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: lthenderson on August 01, 2020, 07:43:34 PM
Assuming the middle is sinking and not the edges raising, you have a water issue causing this problem and putting something on top isn't going to make the issue go away. Concrete just doesn't sink in the middle. Something is causing the fill to go somewhere leaving the concrete unsupported. I agree with papabear, you need to figure out the issue first.
Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: Fishindude on August 03, 2020, 01:35:42 PM
You've got some type of settlement issue going on with the soil underneath the slab.   You can probably carefully jackhammer out the top slab, see what's going on underneath it, make repairs, then replace the top slab without messing with the steps.    However it would look better and not cost a fortune more to replace the steps at same time if there aren't too many steps.
Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: bonesmtb2 on August 04, 2020, 02:02:20 PM
Thanks for the input.  There used to be a gutter that dumped a bunch of water next to the stoop.  I extended the downspout out further and fixed that about a year ago, after I noticed in a heavy rainstorm.  Who knows if that did some damage though.
Also, even before this sinking started happening, I am not sure if the stoop was sloped enough away from the house.  Water might have been going in between the house and the stoop.
There also was a chipmunk living in between the house and the stoop for a time, so not sure if any digging/tunneling was done.
Bottom line is I think I need to tear it out, and replace it with new PT wood, or a new stone stoop.  Wood I could probably do myself, not sure about new stone.
Silver lining is the rubble I get from this could be used to re-grade some other areas around the house to make sure I don't have any other drainage issues.
Unfortunately under our deck was not graded properly before the deck was installed.  I think I am going to have to crawl under there and install a french drain.
Home ownership is so fun, haha.
Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: lthenderson on August 04, 2020, 04:02:19 PM
Whether you end up putting in a wooden step, a stone step or a new concrete step, I would make sure to have a footer poured (at least for the stone or concrete) around the perimeter of where your steps will sit that extends down below your frost line. This will keep things from heaving or tilting relative to your door jam and also prevent varmints from digging underneath and causing other stability issues. If you go with the wood steps, make sure you pour a footer where the wood would rest against the ground that extends down below the frost line. This keeps the stairs from moving relative to your house door jam.  I see so many times where people just pour a bit of concrete on top of the ground and then wonder a couple years later why their stairs are now tilted one way or the other.
Title: Re: Front porch cracking/bowing
Post by: bonesmtb2 on August 05, 2020, 07:43:17 AM
Thanks so much @lthenderson , I will definitely be sure to get a good footer poured below frost line.  That makes a ton of sense to keep things solid, rather than just placing on top of the ground.  I might only get to the demo before the winter this year, but will make sure the ground is at least graded away from the house.