Over time, your beautiful concrete driveway, patio and sidewalks can settle and become uneven, compounded by tree roots and storm run-off.
Give Rochester Hills Concrete a call to come out and evaluate the option you may have for bringing everything back into alignment by leveling the concrete.
For those who have not heard of concrete leveling, it is a process of correcting uneven concrete by adding fillers underneath. The goal is to achieve a level surface—be it a driveway, path walk, stoop, road, patio, or flooring—by lifting slabs that may have settled over time.
These slabs have sunk lower than the others around it most probably due to soil settling and erosion. There are also instances when the soil underneath was not compacted properly by the contractor who poured the concrete.
The concrete itself now becomes prone to damage. If not corrected right away, what started as a simple problem can compound into even further damage.
Look at some of the hazards that uneven concrete may present:
- people may trip on heaving or protruding slabs
- steps may become too far in between
- porches may be sloping
- patios may be leaning towards other structures
- store floors may be more prone to flooding
- pool decks may be fractured
- parking lots may be sagging
- control joints on driveways may be wreaking havoc on vehicles or truck loads
- a structure or house may be in peril due to a sinking foundation.
These situations are but a few examples of where concrete leveling may be necessary. In industrial or commercial settings, these hazards present potential liability.
History of Concrete Leveling
The concept is not new. This process of concrete raising has been used by civil engineers for over a century. Back then, it was called concrete jacking, mudjacking, or slabjacking after the “mud” or slurry used.
The government used concrete jacking to fix sunken sections of roads to accommodate the growing number of motor vehicles using them in the 1930s. It was so effective that even the military used it to stabilize runways for smoother aircraft takeoffs and landings during World War II.
In the 1960s, the continued development of compact, self-contained pumps used for concrete leveling made it more practical to be used in residential and commercial applications.
Concrete lifting is preferred by many clients for its cost-efficiency. Using this method saves existing concrete, sparing you the expense, downtime, and headache of having the surface torn up and replaced. A new slab might cost you up to 40 to 50% more than concrete leveling.
However, concrete raising will only work if slabs are still about intact and only need height. Severely cracked or split slabs need to be repaired or replaced depending on the extent of the damage. This is also why sunken slabs should be evaluated for concrete lifting right away before the damage worsens.
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Contrary to what many believe, concrete raising does not mean adding a brand new top layer to the existing slabs.
Instead, 1 to 2” diameter holes are drilled throughout the concrete, and a limestone-based slurry (‘mud’ or mortar mixture) is hydraulically pumped through all the voids underneath. The slurry is a mix of crushed limestone, soil, sand, and cement. The pump uses at least 10 psi or higher to inject the mixture into the holes.
As the material seeps underneath the concrete, the slab is lifted to the right height, effectively creating a new subbase.
The concrete workers ensure that all voids underneath are filled, re-pressurizing the soil for a more stabilized base. This is important to avoid cracking the slab that was just raised. It also eliminates freeze-thaw weathering on the slab especially for colder areas like ours where it is most prevalent.
If the slabs are too big, they can be cut by a power saw. This will require the gaps and joints to be caulked later.
The holes drilled are then filled up with patching material that matches the surrounding concrete for a uniform look. The filling material completely dries after 1 to 2 days, but the surface is ready for same-day traffic. For heavier floors like in factories where the concrete needs to bear the weight of heavy equipment, the wait does not exceed 48 hours.
If necessary, the joints are caulked. Caulking will seal off all these joints to prevent water erosion and soil settling. These joints will allow for some concrete movement to avoid cracks or failures during freeze-thaw cycling. A self-leveling sealant is then applied and let dry for about half a day.
After the work is done, the surface looks like a newly built structure.
A couple of decades ago, a stronger and more lightweight filling material was introduced to the process of concrete lifting. This material is called polyurethane foam, the same filling that’s commonly found in mattresses, furniture, and clothes.
But it’s not the type of polyurethane foam that you can bounce on. For one, the chemical that comes out of the pump is liquid. This compound is specifically engineered and mixed using heat to produce a highly dense subconcrete filling that can withstand up to 6.5 pounds per square foot of pressure when dried up. This is suitable for lifting highways and stabilizing rocking slabs. It can even be used underwater for industrial applications.
With polyjacking, the foam doesn’t just level surfaces. The hardened material becomes a more durable and reliable subbase that won’t erode as soil or mud would.
Polyurethane is a safe and non-toxic material if used properly. It is chemically inert and won’t leak into the surrounding soil. Both OSHA and the EPA approve of this material for concrete jacking.
If it is trusted by the most stringent industries, it is definitely more than enough for your residential or commercial needs. Polyjacking has been widely used since the 1980s and has proven to be durable and dependable.
Polyurethane foam has become the preferred material in concrete leveling over the past 20 years. Part of it is its better, cleaner method of injection. It is easier to pump than mortar, as the latter is a lot thicker. Thus, the holes drilled with polyjacking are smaller in diameter (about 5/8”) and consequently, easier to patch up.
Although the newer technology seems to be the more obvious choice in concrete and floor leveling, certain factors affect the decision of concrete pros and clients alike.
Concrete leveling cost is certainly higher using polyurethane foam. This is a big consideration especially if you have a wide area that needs to be leveled. Injecting polyurethane foam will make the project up to two and a half times more expensive because of the sophisticated technology needed to operate this method and the cost of raw materials.
However, some applications will necessitate this kind of material. While polyurethane foam only weighs 3 lbs per cubic foot, limestone-based slurry or mortar (mud) weighs at least 30 times heavier than that. It also absorbs water and that can add to the weight of the filling, whereas polyurethane foam is water-resistant.
For sure, the mortar will not be suitable for situations where the sinking concrete was caused by eroding soil in the first place. The mud would only bear down the soil further and cause more damage in the long run. For these type of situations, polyjacking is the right solution as it will not put additional bearing on the soil. The material will even compact the soil as the foam expands.
When it comes to longevity, polyurethane foam outlasts mortar. It will keep its shape for a guaranteed 10 years at least, while mortar lasts up to 5.
You won’t have to look far to find a concrete lifting company that answers your needs. Rochester Hills Concrete is right here in the area, ready to serve you. We serve Rochester Hills and surrounding areas and cities.
We have both concrete jacking and polyjacking services you can count on. The members of our crew are highly trained in mudjacking and even certified in polyjacking or polyurethane foam installation.
Our concrete leveling expert will assess your situation for the appropriate filling, or if you need concrete repair and resurfacing instead. We will be objective and present to you the pros and cons of each for your particular application. Whichever one you choose, Rochester Hills Concrete will make sure you get the best results with the most affordable rates.
If in case your mudjacked concrete loses height due to water, we will come back a few times to add more filling underneath that surface. This is part of our 2-year warranty on mudjacking jobs. For polyjacking projects, we provide a 2 and a half year warranty.
We have many satisfied clients who have had their driveways and garage floors evened by us through the years. So, if you need a trustworthy company that provides concrete leveling near you, Rochester Hills Concrete is one call away.
Contact us now and schedule a free onsite estimate.
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