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4 Common Concrete Slab Problems

Concrete slabs form an essential component of the home’s foundation and hence play a role in the stability of your home. Although concrete slabs are strong and require little maintenance, they aren’t invincible. They’re prone to damage. Small cracks in the concrete slabs may not be such a big deal, but sometimes, even the most minor hairline fractures can result in significant problems.

To ensure the integrity of the foundation and stability of your home, you must be aware of common concrete slab problems. We’ve listed down some of the most common concrete slab problems so that you can ask for a professional’s assistance at the right time.

1. Blisters

Blisters are bubbles that form on the surface of a seal-coated concrete slab. Blisters form when the air gets trapped under the sealed surface. Bubbles can be of varying sizes and are usually identified when the slabs are being laid for the foundation. All it takes is some alteration to the concrete mix to prevent the formation of more blisters. Blisters don’t pose a structural problem or cause any long-term issues for the homeowners. They’re only problematic if you’ve got a concrete basement floor. In that case, they can be quite unsightly.

2. Cracking

Concrete slabs have a high tendency to crack due to subgrade settlement, thermal contraction, internal or external restraint of concrete to shortening, drying shrinkage, and application of external loads. There are three types of cracks; shrinkage cracks, settlement cracks, and frost heaves. Frost heaves pose a substantial risk and the most serious among all types.

The cracks that develop during concrete hardening can be fixed easily. However, the cracks that form over time are the problematic ones. Cracking is one of the most common of the concrete slab problems, which, if not fixed, can impact the integrity of the foundation.

3. Curling

Curling is characterized by the distortion of the edges of a slab. It occurs due to the difference in temperature or moisture between the bottom and top of the slab. The top of the slab cools and shrinks more as compared to the warmer and wetter bottom. Curling is fixed if this problem occurs during the drying of slabs. However, if it occurs after the slabs have been laid down, it can lead to cracking in the upcoming years.

4. Surface Scaling

Surface scaling is the result of degradation of the hardened concrete surface to a depth of 1.5mm – 5mm during the first year of its placement. It occurs when the concrete slabs haven’t been cured properly. The concrete finisher usually blames the homeowner and vice-versa. The reality is that there is nothing a homeowner can do to prevent the surface scaling from occurring. Surface scaling leaves the strength and integrity of the foundation under question.


Concrete slab problems aren’t easy to identify. Minor defects can rapidly exacerbate to create a major problem. However, once you observe any signs, you must seek assistance from a reliable concrete professional right away.