Mudjacking vs. Polyjacking
Your concrete has begun to sink, and you find yourself looking up methods of concrete leveling. You’ll find that mudjacking is a popular choice, but it does have its downsides. But what about polyjacking? It’s another commonly used term when it comes to concrete leveling, but what does it do and how effective is it? And for that matter, what is mudjacking? What are the differences, and which is the best option for your home? It can be difficult to know that you’re making the right choice for your concrete leveling. In today’s blog, let’s break down the difference and pros and cons of mudjacking vs. polyjacking.
What Is Mudjacking?
No matter how neat your concrete may have looked in the beginning, over time, soil can begin to slip or your concrete can sink and become uneven. When that happens, one solution is lifting the concrete slab from beneath. This is where both mudjacking and polyjacking come in handy. The main difference comes down to the material used.
Mudjacking involves drilling large holes into the cement slabs, which then pump cement slurry into the gaps between the concrete and the soil. This cement slurry hardens and reinforces the concrete slab. From there, the hole in the concrete slab are sealed up and the concrete leveling contractors call it a day. Mudjacking typically lasts about 8-10 years.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mudjacking
Mudjacking has long been a popular choice when it comes to cement leveling. For one thing, it was the main option available at one point. It makes sense — reinforcing concrete with more concrete. However, there are disadvantages to this option as well as advantages. First, let’s break down the pros. Some reasons homeowners might choose mudjacking include:
- Cost. Mudjacking is far cheaper than a full concrete replacement. It is even cheaper upfront than polyjacking (although maybe not in the long term — more on that later).
- Easy fix. Mudjacking takes no longer than a day and is far less mess than a full concrete replacement. It’s less mess and less hassle for everyone who lives or works near the sunken concrete.
- Eco-friendly. Cement slurry is made mostly from natural materials so the environmental impact is lower.
- Sturdy, dense material. There’s not much chance of air pockets when it comes to cement slurry.
But of course, with all of these advantages, there are also disadvantages that homeowners have to keep in mind when making their decision. These include:
- Too dense for small cavities. Do you want a slab-lifting material that fits “every nook and cranny?” Cement slurry sometimes misses the tight corners of a gap between the slab and the soil, which could leave holes that could be expanded later, leading to more sunken concrete.
- Needs to be replaced. As stated above, mudjacking lasts about 8-10 years on average, which means that in a few years you might need another treatment of slabjacking in order to lift the concrete again.
- Soil compression. Because cement weighs 180 lbs per cubic foot (which is very heavy), it can sometimes worsen an issue of soil compression that can lead to sunken concrete in the future.
- Larger holes. Multiple holes have to be drilled for mudjacking to work, and the holes tend to be larger to make room for the amount of cement slurry that has to be poured.
What Is Polyjacking?
On the outset, polyjacking looks very similar to mudjacking. A drill is still used to reach the gaps below the concrete slab, but the material used to fill the space is not concrete slurry but polyurethane foam, or slab-lifting foam as it is sometimes called. Once below the slab, the foam expands to fit the space, hardening and lifting the concrete slab above. Unlike mudjacking, polyjacking will typically last for as long as you have the house or business without needing to be reapplied, so long as there’s not an underlying issue like shifting or compacted soil that needs to be addressed.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Polyjacking
Polyjacking is a more recent method of concrete leveling than mudjacking, which means that many homeowners have questions about the process and the effectiveness. There are also contractors who still swear by mudjacking. Like mudjacking, there are advantages and disadvantages, although the right contractor will be able to make the most of those advantages while minimizing the disadvantages. Here are some of the benefits of polyjacking:
- Less mess. If mudjacking is less mess than concrete replacement, polyjacking is less mess than mudjacking. It requires one small injection, easily covered over so that the surface of your concrete slabs don’t have to suffer. The foam then does the work of expanding on its own.
- Lightweight. Slab-lifting foam is sturdy, and far more lightweight than cement slurry, weighing ONLY 4 pounds per foot. Which means it will put far less pressure on the soil below. It applies its strength when it should be used: reinforcing the concrete slab.
- Long lasting. As stated above, polyjacking offers a much more permanent solution, so you won’t have to repair it in the next few years.
- Less material used. It’s true that cement slurry is made of more natural materials. However, polyjacking requires less materials to begin with. Because the foam is expansive, less of it has to be applied to be effective.
- Fills any space. The foam expands to fit the space that it needs to cover, so you won’t have to worry about any gaps being left behind.
If you’re interested in polyjacking, there are challenges of which you should be aware before you make the decision. Here are some of the disadvantages when it comes to polyjacking:
- Upfront cost. Polyjacking is still far less expensive than concrete replacement, but is a bit more expensive than mudjacking. However, it is far longer lasting, so it pays off. You can also apply for financing to make it more affordable.
- Availability. Polyjacking is not as well known in the world of concrete leveling, so not all contractors have access to it.
Fortunately, Childers Brothers, Inc. does have access to slab-lifting foam, and it’s the tested method that we trust for our concrete leveling projects, both residential and commercial. Contact us today to learn more about our polyjacking or to schedule a concrete leveling project of your own.