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Concrete Leveling: Methods, Cost, and More

Concrete, with its renowned durability, serves as the foundation for our exterior sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and patios. Despite its strength, concrete can suffer from wear and tear over time. 

Concrete leveling emerges as the best repair strategy for addressing issues related to uneven or sinking concrete slabs.  

This guide is designed to demystify concrete leveling and explain to home or business owners why this is the best solution.  

Delving into Concrete Leveling 

What is Concrete Leveling? 

Concrete leveling is a sophisticated repair method aimed at repairing uneven or sinking concrete surfaces. It strategically raises and aligns the concrete to its original location, ending the risk of tripping.  

This repair process not only enhances safety and functionality but also elevates the aesthetic appeal of the concrete area. 

Concrete leveling is also commonly referred to as:  

  • Concrete Repair 
  • Concrete Lifting 
  • Concrete Raising 
  • Slabjacking 
  • Slab Lifting 
  • Concrete Jacking 
  • Cement Jacking 

While these terms generally mean the same thing, there are specific methods that have specific names: 

  • PolyRenewal™ (FSM’s proprietary method), also referred to as Polylifting, Polyjacking, or Polyurethane Foam Leveling 
  • Mudjacking 
  • Stone Grout Slurry Leveling or Cement Slurry Leveling 
  • Self-Leveling Concrete 

Each name represents a unique approach aiming to achieve the goal of a level and safe concrete surface. 

Understanding the Mechanism of Concrete Leveling 

Concrete lifting is fundamentally the process of injecting a material underneath a sinking concrete slab to elevate it back to its original position.  

The variety in concrete lifting methods primarily lies in the type of material injected and the specific technique employed to achieve the lifting.  

Each method offers distinct advantages and is chosen based on factors such as the severity of the sinking, the condition of the soil, and the desired outcome of the repair.  

Several methods are available to achieve a level concrete surface, ranging from the most effective to the least.  

Below is a ranked list: 

1. Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling  

Polyurethane foam injection offers a straightforward solution for professionals to correct and stabilize sinking concrete surfaces. 

This method employs the injection of lightweight polyurethane foam through small holes drilled in the concrete.  

The foam then expands beneath the slab, effectively filling the voids between the soil and concrete, facilitating accurate elevation and stabilization. 

While you might be familiar with mudjacking, polyurethane injection enhances the approach, offering superior results. 

Unlike mudjacking, polyurethane injections require only minimal drilling, thoroughly address the voids under the slabs for comprehensive support, and all the slabs to be used again in just 30 minutes. 

2. Mudjacking  

Mudjacking involves injecting a mortar-like slurry mixture underneath concrete slabs. This blend, composed of water, soil, sand, and cement, takes on a mud-like consistency, hence the term “mudjacking.”  

As it hardens, it forms a base that supports the concrete slab above.  

Mudjacking has its limitations. Notably, it’s not suitable for lifting slabs that have heavy partition walls due to challenges in managing the lift uniformly, which may lead to uneven results. 

Importantly, mudjacking is not advisable as a DIY endeavor. Undertaking this process without the requisite expertise and tools can inflict significant damage on your property. The complexity of mudjacking goes beyond what instructional videos or online guides can convey. Attempting it on your own risks exacerbating the issues, leading to increased repair costs and potential structural damage. 

3. Cement or Stone Slurry Concrete Leveling  

Stone slurry grout leveling merges the techniques of mudjacking with the precision of polyurethane foam injections. This may sound like a good idea, but we’ll explain why it’s not. 

This method utilizes finely crushed stones, particularly limestone, mixed with water, which is then injected beneath the concrete using tools similar to those used in polyurethane foam injection. 

Comparable to mudjacking, it requires the drilling of large, approximately 1-inch holes, yet offers superior control over the density of the material being introduced beneath the slabs.  

However, the combination of stone and water not only lends considerable weight on top of the failing soil. Plus, it generally incurs a higher cost relative to mudjacking. 

4. Self-Leveling Concrete  

Self-leveling concrete, as the name suggests, is a user-friendly solution that homeowners can apply themselves. This material, enhanced with polymer additives, has evolved to become more accessible and efficient for personal use. Its quick-drying properties, minimal water needs, and versatility with different surfaces and finishes empower DIY enthusiasts to create even, smooth floors for both repairs and refinishing projects indoors. 

While it carries a higher price tag than conventional concrete, self-leveling compounds are ideal for minor repair tasks and upgrades where extensive structural work isn’t necessary. Once a niche product, ongoing advancements have made self-leveling concrete a practical choice for individuals aiming to upgrade their floors economically. 

Pros and Cons of Concrete Leveling with Polyurethane Foam 

Exploring the pros and cons of Polyurethane foam for concrete leveling, PolyRenewal™ emerges as a premier choice in addressing diverse concrete issues.  

This system is celebrated for its adaptability across a spectrum of challenges, offering a dual advantage: it not only corrects the level of concrete slabs but also enhances the stability of the substrate beneath.  

Below is an analysis of the advantages and potential limitations associated with employing PolyRenewal™ for concrete repairs. 

Advantages: 

  • Cost-Efficiency: Offers a financially viable solution. 
  • Time-Saving: Significantly reduces project duration. 
  • Convenience: Facilitates an easy application process. 
  • Uniformity: Ensures consistent outcomes. 
  • Clean Process: Eliminates mess during application. 
  • Environmental Responsibility: Demonstrates an eco-friendly approach. 

Limitations: 

  • Imperfect Leveling: Although effective, it may not achieve absolute level perfection. 
  • Visibility of Cracks: Existing cracks may remain visible post-application. 
  • Soil Variability Sensitivity: The success can be influenced by the condition of the underlying soil. 

While PolyRenewal™ presents a few considerations, its array of benefits positions it as an exemplary solution for concrete leveling and stabilization tasks, aligning with professional standards for quality and sustainability. 

Signs Concrete Leveling is Needed? 

Identifying the need for concrete leveling in your home is essential for ensuring its structural integrity, safety, and visual appeal. Key indicators that signal the necessity for professional concrete leveling include: 

  • Visible Cracks: Cracks in driveways, sidewalks, patios, or pool decks are telltale signs of uneven settling. 
  • Uneven Surfaces: Noticeable unevenness or sloping in concrete areas can indicate underlying issues. 
  • Sticking Doors or Windows: Difficulty in opening or closing doors and windows may be caused by shifts in the concrete foundation. 
  • Gaps around Doors and Windows: Increasing gaps around door and window frames suggest movement in the structure. 
  • Water Pooling: After rainfall, water gathering on concrete surfaces points to improper leveling, risking water damage and erosion. 

Addressing these signs promptly and seeking the expertise of concrete leveling professionals can avert further damage, safeguarding the value and functionality of your home. 

When To Call The Professionals 

Foundation Systems of Michigan stands as the premier choice for repairing uneven or sinking concrete slabs, distinguished by over 15 years of experience navigating the diverse soil types and challenging climates throughout the state.  

This extensive background has not only honed our expertise but also solidified our reputation as the most reliable solution for concrete issues.  

What truly sets us apart, however, is our unparalleled commitment to customer service. We are dedicated to identifying and addressing the root cause of each problem, rather than merely applying a superficial fix.  

Our approach ensures that we deliver lasting solutions, providing peace of mind and satisfaction to our customers.  

By choosing Foundation Systems of Michigan, you’re not just getting a service provider; you’re partnering with a team that genuinely cares about the safety and integrity of your home. 

When Leveling Concrete isn’t Needed 

Opting for concrete lifting is not always the best course of action, especially at the two extremes of concrete damage: minimal or very severe.  

Minor imperfections, such as small hairline cracks, are a common aspect of the concrete’s natural settling and curing process. These minor flaws, which are likely to remain unchanged over time, can usually be rectified with simple cosmetic fixes instead of undertaking concrete lifting.  

On the other end of the spectrum, concrete that has sustained considerable wear and tear over the years, leading to significant deterioration, poses a different challenge. When concrete slabs exhibit extensive damage, with sections breaking away or crumbling edges, this not only poses a risk to safety but also compromises the structural integrity of the entire slab. In such scenarios, repairing or lifting the concrete is insufficient, and a full replacement is warranted to ensure the area’s safety and stability. 

The Cost of Concrete Leveling 

Determining the cost of a concrete leveling project often raises questions due to its complexity. The challenge lies in the numerous factors that influence the final price, which can make it hard to pinpoint an exact figure without a thorough assessment.  

Key factors include: 

  • Severity of the damage 
  • Area size needing repair 
  • Selected method of repair 
  • Volume of materials needed 
  • Costs of labor, materials, and any necessary permits 

To get an accurate cost for your concrete leveling needs, it’s best to reach out to local specialists who offer a free inspection and a quote without any commitment. This ensures you receive a tailored estimate that accurately reflects your project’s specific requirements. 

Concrete Leveling versus Replacement: A Financial Analysis 

When it comes to fixing up your concrete, you’ve got two paths: leveling it or going for a full-on replacement. Let’s talk costs. 

Catching that concrete trouble early and leveling it—with PolyRenewal™—can save you a bundle. This method is not just swift but also easy on the wallet. 

Now, if we’re looking at concrete that’s seen better days, your best bet is probably replacement. Tearing out the old and pouring new concrete isn’t just disruptive timewise, but it’s also going to sit heavy on your pocketbook. And let’s not forget, that fresh slab is going to sink eventually, too since the root cause hasn’t been repaired. 

Replacing concrete can hit you with a bill of $5,000 or more. Though, if you catch things early, proactive repairs average about $1,000. 

So, what’s the cost of leveling? 

  • Driveways: Driveways take a beating from cars day in and day out. Fixing them up can cost you anywhere from $800 to $4,000. 
  • Patios: These smaller spots deal with people traffic rather than cars, but the cost to lift them isn’t much less, usually falling between $800 and $3,000. Porches, on the other hand, might go beyond $5,000 if they need more intensive work like piering. 
  • Walkways: Essential for entering your home, these paths see a ton of foot action. Leveling them can set you back about $500 to $2,000. 

Bottom line: If you can level it, it’s generally the way to go for both your schedule and your wallet. 

Choose FSM for Concrete Lifting and Leveling Today! 

Choosing Foundation Systems of Michigan for your home’s concrete lifting needs ensures you’re partnering with a team of seasoned professionals who prioritize quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.  

With years of experience in addressing the unique challenges posed by Michigan’s diverse soil types and climate conditions, FSM has perfected the art of concrete lifting to provide long-lasting solutions.  

Our use of advanced techniques, such as PolyRenewal™ injection, not only lifts and stabilizes your concrete slabs but also addresses the underlying causes of sinking or unevenness.  

By choosing FSM, you’re opting for a hassle-free experience that restores the safety and aesthetic appeal of your property, backed by a dedicated team. Schedule a free inspection today. 

Disclaimer: “Concrete leveling” means the process by which cracked, uneven concrete is stabilized, and in most cases lifted, by means of PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam. Foundation Systems of Michigan does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make any and/or every square inch of your concrete perfectly level. 

FAQs

Yes, when done correctly, concrete leveling can provide a long-term solution to uneven or sunken slabs. The durability of the repair often depends on the cause of the sinking, the material used for lifting, and proper maintenance.

Most sunken or uneven concrete slabs can be lifted, including driveways, sidewalks, patios, and pool decks. However, severely damaged slabs that are cracked or crumbling may require replacement instead. 

The repair process requires drilling small holes in the concrete, which are then filled and sealed after lifting. These patches may be visible but can often be made to blend with the existing concrete over time.

Leah Leitow

Leah Leitow

Content Writer

Leah is a Content Writer for Groundworks with nearly ten years of experience working in the foundation repair industry. Her experience ranges from working with homeowners to find the right solution to training inspectors and staff. In her background as a Michigan journalist, she gained invaluable insight into people's lives throughout our state. Leah lives in metro Detroit with her husband and two sons.

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