Concrete is a strong and durable material, but it’s not perfect. The concrete that surrounds your home – like your patio or driveway – was designed to withstand the elements for an extended period of time. Sooner or later, the concrete will begin to deteriorate. This is because of said elements, and will likely result in cracked and sunken slabs.
Concrete repair – or concrete raising as it’s called in the industry – is necessary to prevent tripping hazards that may occur because of cracks and unevenness. Before beginning this process, learn about the choices you have in concrete repair: Mudjacking and poly foam. Both materials are durable and long-lasting, but are used for different projects. It’s good to know about each material, how the installation processes works, and what material is the best solution for your concrete problems.
Concrete repair is a cost-effective, quick solution that can be completed in almost any weather condition.
Why Concrete Sinks and Cracks
There are a variety of reasons why your concrete sinks and cracks. The most common culprit is soil washout. When water gets under concrete slabs, the soils that support those slabs wash away. This creates spaces between the concrete and the ground beneath it. Over time, the concrete’s own weight destabilizes the slab and will cause it to break off (or sink) into the space. Aside from washout, concrete may deteriorate over time for other reasons. These include:
- Rodents and other critters that burrow and create voids under the concrete slab
- Poor drainage can cause pooling water to compromise the concrete’s integrity
- Water expands and contracts with freezing temperatures, which may create cracks
- When initially installed, the soil holding the concrete may not have been properly compacted and graded
Foundation settlement can also create cracked and sunken concrete. Concrete stairs and patios that are attached to the home are more susceptible to movement and settling when a home’s foundation fails.
When your concrete cracks or sinks, mudjacking and poly foam are reliable materials to repair your concrete.
The Basic Tenets of Mudjacking
Mudjacking, slabjacking, and pressure grouting all refer to the same technique and materials used in concrete raising. This reliable material has been the primary method in concrete raising for over a hundred years.
Mudjacking: ‘Mud’ is an insider’s word referring to concrete or plaster. The substance made up of a modified cementitious mixture of cement, sand, and other materials. This slurry is mixed according to the needs of your geographic location and how the concrete area is being used.
This cementitious material is quite heavy, and is preferred for specific locations and uses. Commercial jobs, driveways, and other locations that need to support heavy loads are ideal jobs for mudjacking. The dense material is able to withstand these weighty situations.
Installation Process for Mudjacking
Mudjacking is a relatively quick method for concrete repair jobs. Your concrete team will assess the areas of repair, and then drill holes into specific locations of the slabs. These holes are just shy of 2″ in diameter. Next, the cementitious material is hydraulically pumped through the holes to fill and raise the slab (hence the name “concrete raising”). Once the slab is leveled, the holes are patched.
This short video illustrates the process:
As mentioned in the video, the patched holes may be a different color from the existing concrete. This should fade over time and become less noticeable.
What to Know About Poly Foam
Poly foam is a newer material and technique in the concrete raising industry. This material is light, durable, and a great alternative to the “mud” used in mudjacking.
Materials Used for Poly Foam
This newer method of concrete repair has proven itself to be versatile and quick to install. This is due to its material. Poly foam is a dense closed-cell foam that resists water penetration. The foam begins in liquid form; it then quickly expands to fill in voids and raise concrete slabs. The pliable foam hardens, or cures, and provides adequate support for the concrete slab. This light material makes it ideal in a variety of concrete raising jobs. The Kent Home Services concrete team prefers poly foam for most residential jobs.
How Poly Foam is Used in Concrete Repair
Poly foam and mudjacking use similar techniques in their repair and leveling methods. Both require a contractor to drill holes in the sunken portions of the concrete, are hydraulically pumped under the slab, and is completed with patching the holes made. One difference is the size of the hole. For poly foam, we only need to drill a hole about ⅝” in diameter. A delivery port is inserted into the hole and foam is pumped through the port. Since the holes are smaller, the patched areas are less noticeable compared to mudjacking holes.
Poly foam is versatile and a great choice for repair jobs due to erosion and burrowing rodents. The foam is thin and light in its liquid form. This helps the material seep into every nook and cranny under the concrete slab. As it expands, it fills in every void. When new critters come looking to burrow, they will not be able to displace the foam.
Find Out Which Concrete Repair Option is Best for Your Home
It’s easy to get bogged down with all the details of home repairs. Don’t let your concrete repair options weigh you down. Mudjacking and poly foam are both reliable and durable choices. Our concrete professionals will be able to assess your concrete, walk you through your options, and explain which method they recommend. This is all included in your free estimate. And to prove our work, Kent Home Services provides a one-year warranty for our concrete repair services.