Polyjacking vs. Mudjacking: Finding The Best Concrete Lifting Method
Whether you have concrete steps leading up to your porch or a concrete walkway that leads to your business, there’s no question that sunken concrete is a problem.
It looks horrible, but can also lead to dangerous trips and falls for you, your friends and family, or your customers. Especially if you run a business, you could be held liable for any injuries that happen as a result of your uneven concrete. Needless to say, this is a problem you’ll want to resolve immediately. The question is how best to handle it.
Two popular approaches to leveling sunken concrete are mudjacking, through which cement slurry is pumped beneath the concrete to fill any gaps and lift the concrete into place, and polyurethane slab lifting foam. Which is the right choice for your home? How do you compare polyjacking vs. mudjacking?
What Is Mudjacking?
Mudjacking is the process of drilling large holes in a slab and pumping cement slurry beneath the sunken concrete. The cement slurry fills any voids beneath the sunken concrete and lifts it until it is level with the rest of the concrete available. The hole into which the slurry was poured is then patched up. This cement slurry hardens and reinforces the concrete slab.
This is considerably cheaper than a full concrete replacement and takes less time.
Mudjacking has been a popular choice throughout the construction world for decades when it comes to leveling concrete. More modern methods — such as polyurethane foam — have caused it to lose some of its hold on the concrete lifting market, however.
That is because, while Mudjacking has its benefits, it is not without its problems.
Pros of Mudjacking
- Cost: Mudjacking is cheaper than a full concrete replacement.
- Convenience: Mudjacking is less messy and less hassle than a full concrete replacement.
- Ease of Use: Mudjacking is a popular concrete leveling method, so many contractors are familiar with it.
- Eco-Friendly: Mudjacking uses a cement slurry typically made from all-natural materials.
Cons of Mudjacking
- Not a Permanent Solution: Mudjacking is a temporary fix and will need to be redone in a few years, or the concrete will need to be replaced.
- Versatility: Mudjacking is not ideal for steep inclines as the cement slurry moves down in the direction of the incline.
- Weight: Mudjacking is heavy. Adding more weight (180 pounds per cubic foot to be exact) to the already weak soils could cause the concrete to sink again.
- Larger Holes: Mudjacking leaves unattractive holes in the concrete surface, which can make for a messy appearance.
- 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.
What Is Polyurethane Slab Lifting Foam?
Polyurethane slab-lifting foam, also known as polyjacking, was created as an alternative to mudjacking.
They share some similarities. In each, holes are drilled and a material is injected under the slab to fill in any gaps in the soil raise the sunken concrete.
Rather than using cement slurry, polyjacking utilizes a slab lifting foam which is injected as minimally invasive of a way as possible and expands to fit the space beneath.
It is light but sturdy enough to lift the concrete without adding excessive weight to the soils (4 pounds per cubic foot).
Slab-lifting foam is growing in popularity largely for this purpose. It’s been used for some time in the commercial sphere and has recently been on the rise in the residential market.
Pros of Polyurethane Slab Lifting Foam
- Time: Polyurethane foam takes less time to install and hardens faster than mudjacking.
- Fewer Materials: Less polyurethane foam is needed to lift the concrete, as it expands to fit the space.
- Easier Application: Polyurethane foam injections are minimally invasive and easier to clean up.
- Cost: Polyurethane foam is still considerably cheaper than full concrete replacement.
- Permanent Solution: Polyurethane foam lasts, so you won’t have to have another injection in a few years.
- Weight: Polyurethane foam is lightweight and thus does not overload the weak soils, causing further failure.
- 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.
Cons of Polyurethane Slab Lifting Foam
- Relative Cost: Polyurethane foam costs more upfront than mudjacking (but lasts longer).
- Cracks: As with mudjacking, the cracks will still exist. They will just now be level.
- Only Works If Concrete Not Too Damaged: If your concrete flooring is crumbling or too damaged, you may need a full replacement.
Other Solutions For Sunken Concrete
As stated above, there may be times when your concrete is simply too far gone and requires a full concrete replacement. It helps to have a contractor who can take a look at your siding and tell you exactly what you need, not just what will make them the most money.
It may also be a problem with the soil below your concrete. Soil can swell as it takes in water and then shrink, possibly causing your concrete to sink. For this, we offer a soil stabilization technique that changes the soil at an atomic level so that it takes in less water, becoming more stable. This, in turn, will help ensure that your concrete has less reason to slip. It may even prevent concrete cracks, as the swollen soil will no longer push up against the surface of the concrete.
Choose Polyjacking Over Mudjacking for Your Concrete Leveling Needs
Overall, when it comes to the question of polyjacking vs. mudjacking, polyurethane slab lifting foam is the better option for lasting results, least amount of hassle, and the smoothest appearance at the end of the job. But there may also be other solutions to look into when it comes to sunken concrete.
At Childers Brothers, Inc., we’re experts when it comes to concrete repair — from concrete leveling to repairing cracked concrete. We’re happy to help level your concrete with slab-lifting foam and soil stabilizer. Contact us today to learn more or to get started with a free estimate so you can repair and reinforce your concrete today.