Polyurethane vs. Mudjacking
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? Let’s break them down in today’s blog.
What Is Mudjacking?
Mudjacking is the process of drilling concrete slurry beneath the sunken concrete. The cement slurry fills the hole beneath that concrete and lifts the sunken concrete until it is level with the rest of the concrete available. The hole left by the drill is then patched up. This is considerably cheaper than a full concrete replacement and takes less time.
This is a popular choice throughout the construction world when it comes to leveling concrete. It’s been used for decades, though other more modern methods — such as polyurethane foam — have caused it to lose some of its hold on the concrete repair world. Mudjacking has its benefits, but it is not without its problems.
Pros of Mudjacking
- Mudjacking is cheaper than a full concrete replacement.
- Mudjacking is less messy and less hassle than a full concrete replacement.
- Mudjacking is a popular concrete leveling method, so many contractors are familiar with it.
- Mudjacking uses a cement slurry typically made from all-natural materials.
Cons of Mudjacking
- Mudjacking is a temporary solution and will need to be redone in a few years, or the concrete will need to be replaced.
- Mudjacking is not ideal for steep inclines as the cement slurry moves down in the direction of the incline.
- Mudjacking is heavy, which adds more weight (180 pounds per cubic foot to be exact) to the already weak soils and could cause the concrete to sink again.
- Mudjacking leaves unattractive holes in the concrete surface, which can make for a messy appearance.
What Is Polyurethane Slab Lifting Foam?
Polyurethane slab-lifting foam was created as an alternative to mudjacking. Rather than using cement slurry, it 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
- Polyurethane foam takes less time to install and hardens faster than mudjacking.
- Less polyurethane foam is needed to lift the concrete, as it expands to fit the space.
- Polyurethane foam injections are minimally invasive and easier to clean up.
- Polyurethane foam is still considerably cheaper than full concrete replacement.
- Polyurethane foam lasts, so you won’t have to have another injection in a few years.
- Polyurethane foam is lightweight and thus does not overload the weak soils, causing further failure.
Cons of Polyurethane Slab Lifting Foam
- Polyurethane foam costs more upfront than mudjacking (but lasts longer).
- No slab lifting method will solve the issue of concrete cracks.
- If your concrete flooring is crumbling or too damaged, you may need a full replacement.
Other Solutions For Sunken Concrete
Overall, 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. 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. Foundational soil can swell as it takes in water and then shrink, causing your foundation to become unstable and 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.
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.