When concrete slabs start to heave, crack, and become uneven, a host of problems can result. Water can seep into the subsurface, walking surfaces can become hazardous, and pests can begin to infiltrate the area.
Many of these issues can be avoided by correcting the uneven slab through a process known as concrete leveling—also called ‘slab jacking’.
So what exactly is slab jacking? Is it safe? Can any concrete slab be ‘jacked’ back into place? To answer these questions and more, the waterproofing and foundation repair professionals at Helitech are here to help.
Slab Jacking, Defined
When concrete is initially poured, it is normally done in sectioned areas called ‘slabs’. Slabs are often intentionally sized to allow for the concrete to settle without developing significant cracks or fractures, even though most traditional concrete slabs will eventually crack and weather given enough time.
And, over time, voids will naturally form underneath concrete slabs. This cannot be prevented without extensive environmental engineering, and even the best-poured concrete slabs can and will develop voids beneath them due to heavy weather events and just overall time causing the slab to settle.
When these voids form, the concrete slabs above them start to sink. After all, concrete is very heavy! Signs of sunken or lowered concrete can be cracks or splits, and more obviously, uneven sections of the concrete can develop. These symptoms can take months, years, or even decades before they’re noticeable.
‘Slab jacking’ is just that: ‘jacking up’ a concrete slab that has lowered over time. Slab jacking is typically done in one of two ways: via ‘Mudjacking’ or via polyurethane concrete leveling.
Let’s explore these two methods.
The Mudjacking Solution
When a concrete slab is re-leveled using the mudjacking method, the pressurized substance used is a mixture of cement, aggregate (crushed stone), and water. This mixture resembles mud, hence the term ‘mudjacking’.
Mudjacking projects often involve the following steps:
- The affected slab is measured and analyzed for areas where support is needed.
- Holes are drilled in strategic locations above the voids.
- Specialized equipment is used to pump the ‘mud’ directly into the subsurface voids, raising the concrete as close as possible to its initial level.
- The drilled holes are filled in and in some cases, the surface is reconditioned to look like new.
Mudjacking is a very cost-effective method of dealing with lowered concrete slabs, and the entire process can take hours, not days. Generally speaking, mudjacking is only used to level concrete slabs that are not attached to a building foundation.
The Polyurethane Concrete Leveling Solution
Polyurethane concrete leveling is a lot like mudjacking, however instead of a cement-based mixture, the media used is a lightweight polyurethane foam.
Polyurethane concrete leveling offers a host of benefits compared to traditional mudjacking, including:
- Faster curing times
- Less invasive process
- Fewer holes drilled with smaller hole diameters
- Better-looking surface finish
Helitech’s environmentally friendly PolyJacking Concrete Leveling system is fast, effective, and completely safe. The entire process can typically be completed in just a few hours, and the before-and-after differences will astound you.
Which Is Best for You? Helitech Knows!
Now that you know what your options are when it comes to correcting sinking concrete slabs, the next obvious question you might ask yourself is, “Which is the better choice for me, mudjacking or polyurethane concrete leveling?”.
The answer depends on a variety of factors ranging from the severity of the affected slabs, their location, and how accessible the area is. Even considering these factors, both mudjacking and poly jacking are typically much, much less expensive than replacing the concrete with new pours.
If it turns out that replacing your concrete is the best option, we can help you with that, too. It’s all part of the Helitech suite of services.
Ready to Fix Your Uneven Slabs? So Are We!
The bottom line is that uneven concrete slabs don’t have to stay that way. And, in fact, they can get worse over time. Professional slab jacking is a tried-and-true approach to correcting these slabs, and the total cost for either mudjacking or poly jacking doesn’t have to break the bank!
If you think your home or business might need slab jacking to help ensure the safety of people who walk on your concrete surfaces, it’s time to call Helitech—the go-to source for waterproofing and foundation repair in Illinois, Missouri, Quad Cities, and Western Kentucky.
Don’t let uneven slabs develop into an even more problematic situation. The best time to act is the present; contact our offices today and a member of our team will be happy to answer your questions and arrange for an on-site consultation.