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Sunken, settled, and uneven concrete slabs are not uncommon in Ohio. Mudjacking and polyjacking are two common concrete leveling solutions for property owners looking for an alternative to costly replacement. Is one concrete leveling method better than the other? Let’s compare mudjacking vs. polyjacking.
Mudjacking is a concrete leveling method that pumps mud under a building, driveway or other sunken concrete to lift it. A specialized hydraulic pump pushes the mud mix into holes drilled in the slabs.
Mr. Level considers mudjacking the “Flintstones” approach to concrete leveling. With mudjacking, your sunken concrete is drilled with dime-size holes, pumped with mud and then the mud hardens up. To support the lifted concrete, mudjacking relies on underlying soils, which are impacted by the same elements that lead to cracking and sinking, so contractors are not able to guarantee the work.
Recently, we were hired to come in and correct a mudjacking job. In this video, you can see the product they used to pump the uneven patio hardened up, and the slab ended up back in its old sunken state. The mudjacking product distorted the property and rendered the patio unusable.
An alternative concrete leveling option, polyjacking uses polyurethane foam in place of mud. We call this the “Jetsons” approach. The foam expands after filling the holes drilled in the concrete slab. As the polyurethane expands, the concrete is lifted.
Mr. Level uses polyurethane foam to raise concrete, fill voids and stabilize soil. By drilling a 5/8” hole (about the size of a thumbnail) into the concrete slab, we’re able to install a tapered delivery port into the same hole. The injection gun is connected to the port, delivering the polyurethane through the port and slab. Within seconds, the polyurethane expands, compressing loose soils and raising concrete. Polyurethane causes a chemical reaction with underlying soils that stabilizes the soil and concrete, so it doesn’t fracture or fail. This method proves longer lasting, which is why Mr. Level is able to offer a lifetime guarantee on our services.
Before Polyurethane Concrete Leveling:
After Polyurethane Concrete Leveling:
The job (pictured above) would have cost $4,500 to replace it. For a fraction of the cost, Mr. Level was able to repair it using polyurethane concrete leveling.
Ready to put these two concrete leveling methods to the test? See how mudjacking and polyjacking compare in terms of appearance, longevity, environmental friendliness, and price.
With polyurethane, fewer and smaller holes (an inch smaller, to be exact) are drilled into the slabs compared to mudjacking, so the finished product looks cleaner. Additionally, fewer resources and heavy equipment are required, so the job site is neater, and the surrounding landscape isn’t damaged.
Polyurethane is fast compared to mudjacking. Polyurethane foam cures in minutes, so it’s ready to be walked and driven on right away. Mudjacking, on the other hand, can take 24 to 72 hours to cure and allow for foot traffic on the lifted concrete. This is not only inconvenient but can cause hurt commercial owners who rely on their parking lots for business.
Mudjacking relies on underlying soils to support the lifted concrete. Heaving from a dramatic freeze and thaw cycle or settling from decaying tree roots or water damage can cause the underlying soils to shift and crack your concrete. There’s no guarantee your concrete will remain smooth and level with mudjacking.
With polyurethane, however, the chemical reaction with the soil causes the foam to harden, so it doesn’t fail. This stabilizes the soil and concrete, so your concrete should last a lifetime.
Polyjacking is hydrophobic, meaning that the polyurethane can be used underwater or in wet conditions. The foam-like material creates a moisture barrier that is resistant to water penetration. This can not only keep your concrete level but can also help prevent water from leaking into your home or building. Mudjacking, which as previously discussed can shift, doesn’t offer any water resistance to protect your concrete or structure.
Settled concrete is often the result of poor soil conditions under the slab. You’ll want a lightweight material, so you don’t further burden the already weak soil. Mudjacking typically weighs 100 lbs. per cubic foot, whereas polyurethane is far more lightweight, weighing only 2 to 4 lbs. per cubic foot.
The cost of mudjacking runs cheap compared to polyurethane. However, because there is no warranty or guarantee your concrete will remain leveled, you’ll likely need to pay to repeat the process.
It’s better to do it right the first time with polyurethane. While it does cost more upfront, the long-term costs and potential cleanup and repair costs prove significantly less.
Uneven concrete is not only unattractive but can also be harmful to pedestrians and your vehicles. Not to mention, neglected, uneven concrete will only worsen over time, meaning more money to repair and more structural and safety issues to address.