Why is My Concrete Patio Cracking? (5 Primary Reasons)

Concrete patios are the summer heartbeat of the backyard – the perfect location for dinner parties, chalk-art, and a cold, stiff drink after your 9-to-5. Cracked concrete patios ruin the vibe, run counterculture to barbeque community and leisure. So, why does your concrete patio crack?

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has been in the construction game for decades. We’ve done our fair share of concrete projects, from laying new slabs to leveling off-kilter sidewalks. Whether you choose to utilize our concrete services or not, we are here to walk you through what is causing your concrete patio slab to crack.

In this article, we will cover 5 reasons for cracked concrete patios:  

  •   Settlement
  •   Heave
  •   Water Damage
  •   Poor mud mixture
  •   Roots

So, let’s dive in.

Concrete Patio Cracking

5 Reasons Your Concrete Patio is Cracking  

Concrete Patio Settlement Results in Cracks 

Concrete patios crack due to slab settlement, when the concrete slab sinks into expansive soil (such as clay or loam). The slab settles unevenly, exerting pressure across the slab. Settlement results in cracks and uneven patio slope.

Patio slab cracks are an eyesore, and the slope can result in an uneven deck table and a messy dining experience. It’s expensive to tear up an entire concrete patio and pour a brand-new slab. It’s easier on your wallet to address the slope via polyurethane foam injection and the cracks with epoxy.

Concrete Patio Heave Results in Cracks

Heave is the opposite of settlement. Heave is the upward expansion of expansive soil and can result in slab cracks and uneven slabs. Concrete patio heave is rare in Southern California and Arizona, as settlement is the dominant issue. However, heave exerts a tremendous amount of force and can crack a concrete patio slab with ease.   

Water mitigation is the primary avenue of addressing heave. So, ensure your home has the appropriate drainage. Consider utilizing gutters and a French Drain if necessary.

Concrete Patio Spalling Results in Cracks

Spalling can cause pitted and cracked concrete patios. Concrete spalling is the breakdown of concrete via natural weathering and/or chemical reaction that results in sections of cement chipping off the main body – often resulting in fractured, compromised concrete.

Spalling can result in structurally compromised concrete patios, making them more susceptible to cracking. Spalling can be treated with epoxy and proper water mitigation.

Concrete Patio Poor Mud Mixture Results in Cracks 

The concrete patio slab cracks might not be from settlement, heave, or poor water mitigation. They could be from the poor initial mud mixture of the slab itself. Cement pouring is more of an art than a science. A little too much of one ingredient can ruin the mud composition.

Epoxy can be very effective at treating cracks caused by poor mud mixture.

 Concrete Patio Root Damage Results in Cracks

 Roots of large trees can work their way underneath your concrete patio and result in slab cracks. You may need to remove trees close to your patio and foundation to fight further root damage.

If Your Patio is Cracked, Your Foundation Might Be Cracked Too

In this article, you learned about 5 main causes of concrete patio cracks: settlement, heave, spalling, poor mud mixture, and roots. You also recieved a brief sketch of how each issue can be treated.

To learn more about spalling, a major contributing factor to serious loss of structural integrity, read our article What is Concrete Spalling? (Causes, Prevention, and Treatment).

In addition, to learn more about our polyurethane services and how to relevel your sunk slab, check out our article 5 Steps to Polyurethane Foam Injection (From Drill Holes to Cure).

If your concrete slab patio has cracked due to settlement, there’s a good chance your slab on grade foundation might have some settlement issues as well. We have over 100 years of combined foundation repair experience and have serviced thousands of foundations. Our foundation repair specialist would be happy to determine if they believe your foundation is suffering from settlement.

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and would like a free foundation inspection, click the link below –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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