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The Ins and Outs of Concrete Leveling

uneven sidewalk

Renowned for its robustness, concrete is widely used in constructing various elements on our properties, including sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and patios. Despite its strength, concrete is prone to damage and deterioration over time, necessitating appropriate repairs. 

Concrete leveling serves as an effective repair technique for addressing issues with uneven or sinking concrete surfaces. This guide will offer a comprehensive introduction to concrete leveling, explaining its process and the various techniques available. 

Additionally, we will cover the importance of concrete leveling, who to contact for expert services, and the expected costs. Aimed at both homeowners and business owners, this guide aims to assist you in deciding whether concrete leveling is the suitable solution for your situation. 

What is Concrete Leveling? 

Concrete leveling is a method of repair designed to fix uneven or settled concrete surfaces. The technique raises and levels the concrete, returning it to its initial position and removing dangers associated with its irregularity. This procedure enhances the safety, usability, and visual appeal of the concrete space. 

Concrete leveling goes by a few different names

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

Depending on the method and tools used to perform concrete leveling, it might also go by one of its more technically specific names

  • PolyRenewal™ (our method), commonly known as “Polylifting,” “Polyjacking,” or “Polyurethane Foam Leveling.” 
  • “Mudjacking” 
  • “Stone Grout Slurry Leveling” or “Cement Slurry Leveling” 
  • “Self-Leveling Concrete” 

We’ll talk more about all of these in the next section but suffice it to say they are all very different processes for achieving the same or similar outcomes. 

Understanding How Concrete Leveling Works 

Concrete leveling adjusts and aligns uneven or dipped concrete surfaces to their initial level, enhancing safety, functionality, and appearance. This leveling can be achieved through four main techniques: polyurethane foam injection, stone slurry grout application, mudjacking, and the use of self-leveling concrete, with the selection based on specific circumstances and the desired result. 

To identify the necessity for concrete leveling, examine the state of your concrete areas. It’s advisable to seek a professional’s evaluation if you observe substantial unevenness, sinking, or potential hazards. 

Even if your concrete appears to be in satisfactory condition, consulting with a professional to determine the need for leveling is wise. 

The cost of concrete leveling varies, influenced by the size of the area, the extent of the damage, the chosen repair method, and the scope of the necessary repairs. For a precise cost estimate, it’s recommended to obtain quotes from well-regarded companies. 

Opting for concrete leveling is generally more budget-friendly than opting for a complete replacement. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages, considering your specific needs, and seeking advice from professionals will help you make an informed decision. 

There are a few different ways that you can get your concrete to be level. In order of best to worst, here’s the list: 

1. Leveling Concrete with Polyurethane Foam 

Using polyurethane foam injections for concrete leveling is an efficient and straightforward method for professionals to address and correct uneven concrete surfaces. 

This technique involves the strategic injection of a lightweight polyurethane foam through minimal holes drilled directly into the compromised concrete areas. The foam then expands beneath the surface, effectively filling any existing gaps between the ground and the concrete slab, which facilitates accurate lifting and leveling of the concrete piece. 

While you might be familiar with a similar procedure known as mudjacking, the use of polyurethane foam enhances this approach by providing a more advanced solution. 

Unlike mudjacking, polyurethane foam leveling requires less invasive drilling, with only tiny, penny-sized holes needed. It sets quickly, usually within half an hour, and is capable of filling the voids completely, ensuring that the entire affected concrete area is stabilized. 

Choosing polyurethane foam injections not only offers a smoother and more durable finish but also ensures a greater value and longevity compared to traditional concrete leveling techniques. 

2. Mudjacking 

Mudjacking is a process that is fairly simple in concept. It involves the injection of a mortar-based slurry mixture under the slab. This concoction, consisting of water, soil, sand, and cement, takes on a mud-like appearance when combined, which is where the term “mudjacking” originates from. As this mixture hardens, it forms a solid and stable foundation that addresses the voids causing the concrete to sink or tilt. 

Although mudjacking can be beneficial in many situations, there are certain conditions where it may not provide an effective solution. For instance, it is not suitable for elevating a slab along with heavy partition walls due to the challenges in managing the lift, which might lead to uneven wall elevation. 

Importantly, mudjacking should not be considered a DIY project. Undertaking mudjacking without the requisite expertise and equipment can lead to significant structural damage. It’s important to recognize that watching instructional videos or reading how-to guides online is not sufficient to acquire the necessary skills for a safe and successful mudjacking operation. DIY attempts can exacerbate the problem, leading to a more complicated and costly repair process. 

mud pushing up through concrete sidewalk

3. Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling 

This method combines elements of mudjacking and polyurethane foam injection, using a mixture of crushed stones, particularly limestone, and water. This mixture is then applied using equipment similar to that used for polyurethane injection. Like mudjacking, the process requires large holes of about 1 inch for injection, but allows for more precise control over the thickness of the material injected beneath the uneven concrete slabs.  

Additionally, the combination of stone and water provides significant additional weight to compress the soil underneath. Unlike mudjacking, this stone slurry grout method is capable of completely filling any voids, offering an environmentally friendly and durable solution. However, it tends to be more costly compared to traditional mudjacking. 

4. Self-Leveling Concrete 

Self-leveling concrete operates exactly as its name suggests—designed for easy use by homeowners themselves. This material, enriched with polymer additives, has evolved to become more accessible due to technological advancements. Its quick-drying properties, minimal water usage, and compatibility with a range of materials and finishes enable DIY enthusiasts to create even, level surfaces for interior floor repairs or overlays. 

Although it comes with a higher price tag compared to traditional concrete, self-leveling formulations are ideal for minor repair tasks and home improvement projects where extensive concrete reinforcement isn’t necessary. Previously seen as a niche product, recent developments have made self-leveling concrete a feasible option for homeowners aiming to renovate their concrete floors on a budget. 

Yet, it’s important to note that undertaking DIY projects with self-leveling concrete can sometimes lead to costly and hazardous situations. 

When to Level Your Concrete 

unlevel concrete steps

There are many reasons to consider concrete leveling, especially if your driveway has damaged your car—a surprisingly frequent issue. Addressing this by exploring concrete lifting solutions and promptly repairing damaged areas is essential. Driving over uneven concrete can harm your car’s suspension and tires, leading to increased maintenance. 

Visible signs like cracks or settling indicate the need for concrete leveling. These signs can include cracks in the basement floor, uneven steps, or cracks in exterior walls and chimneys pulling away from the house. 

Cracked and uneven concrete not only detracts from your property’s appearance but also poses a safety risk, especially around pool decks. It’s particularly risky for the elderly and those with mobility issues. 

It’s best to address concrete problems early. Reach out to concrete leveling professionals as soon as you notice any issues to prevent major problems. 

Who to Call When You Need Concrete Leveling 

Concrete leveling is often a complicated process, ideally suited for skilled experts. 

At Mount Valley Foundation Services, our expertise in concrete leveling dates back to 1986. Homeowners throughout South Carolina and Western North Carolina have come to rely on us for dependable, durable solutions and outstanding customer support. 

Through a complimentary inspection, we conduct an in-depth assessment of your property to identify the root causes of the concrete issues. This thorough evaluation allows us to accurately understand the needs of your home and propose the most appropriate repair solutions tailored specifically to those needs. 

When Not to Level Your Concrete 

There are two situations where concrete leveling might not be the appropriate response: minimal or no damage, and extreme damage. 

Minor hairline fractures in concrete can occur naturally during the curing process. These cracks might remain stable without any changes in size, appearance, or depth. Such minor issues are generally addressed with cosmetic fixes instead of concrete lifting. 

On the other hand, concrete can suffer considerable damage as it ages, leading to serious deterioration. Pieces may break away, and edges might start to crumble, compromising both the safety and structural stability of the concrete slab. In these instances, it might be essential to consider a full replacement. 

Who to Call When You Don’t Need Leveling 

Before your concrete deteriorates beyond the point of being salvageable through concrete lifting, consider consulting with concrete repair specialists such as Mount Valley for a comprehensive assessment and recommendations on the optimal repair strategy. 

Should concrete leveling not suit your case, we can suggest alternative solutions, including repouring or resurfacing. 

The Cost of Concrete Leveling 

A key concern surrounding concrete leveling pertains to the financial aspect and the overall expense of a project. This topic is inherently complicated, and obtaining a straightforward answer through online research can prove challenging. The total cost is influenced by numerous factors, such as: 

  • Extent of the damage
  • Size of the are requiring repair 
  • Appropriate repair method 
  • Amount of product required 
  • Labor, materials, permits 

The best way to get an accurate price for your concrete leveling project is to contact your local concrete experts for free inspection and no-obligation repair estimate

sinking concrete porch

Concrete Leveling vs. Replacement: A Cost Comparison 

Identifying and addressing concrete damage early on is essential to prevent significant deterioration. Utilizing concrete leveling techniques, especially PolyRenewal™, offers a swift and cost-effective solution. 

When concrete is extensively damaged and seems irreparable, the typical remedy involves demolishing the compromised area and pouring new cement. This approach not only takes time, due to the curing period required, but also makes the concrete unusable during this time. Furthermore, concrete’s weight means that the new slab will eventually settle into the ground. 

Moreover, replacing concrete is a costly endeavor, potentially exceeding $5,000. However, opting for a less invasive and preventative measure can reduce costs to an average of around $1,000. 

Cost of Elevating a Driveway 

Due to continuous vehicle movement, driveways are prone to significant wear and tear, making any damage highly visible. The cost for leveling driveways and garage floors typically spans from $800 to $4,000. 

Cost to Elevate a Patio 

Although patios are subjected to foot traffic rather than the heavy load of vehicles, their repair costs are somewhat comparable, with estimates ranging from $800 to upwards of $3,000. Elevating a porch may incur expenses exceeding $5,000, particularly when piering is necessary. 

Cost of Raising a Walkway 

Walkways and sidewalks, which provide crucial access to homes, tend to receive more traffic than patios and porches. The cost to raise sidewalks areas usually falls between $500 and over $2,000. 

How to Save Money on Your Concrete 

  • Prevent severe damage with vigilance and regular inspections
  • Don’t invest in invasive repairs like mudjacking. 
  • Avoid DIY repair methods. 
  • Contact and hire a reputable repair expert as soon as you notice any damage. 
  • Invest in lasting repairs like PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection. 
  • Take advantage of annual maintenance programs. 

Pros and Cons of Concrete Leveling with Polyurethane Foam 

PolyRenewal™ serves as our preferred solution for issues with concrete. We rely on this exceptional system due to its adaptability and ability to address a broad spectrum of challenges. The advantages of polyurethane foam extend in two directions: it not only evens out concrete slabs but also solidifies the soil beneath. Let’s explore additional characteristics of this system, including any possible limitations. 

Pros 

  • Reduced cost 
  • Time 
  • Convenience 
  • Consistency 
  • No mess 
  • Eco-friendly 

Cons 

  • Will never be 100% level 
  • Cracks may still be visible 
  • Can be affected by variable soil conditions 
worker fixing pool deck

Call Mount Valley Foundation Services for Concrete Lifting and Leveling Today! 

inspector in front of work truck

Do not overlook cracked and uneven concrete slabs. They detract from your home’s aesthetics and pose safety risks. Address these concerns early by seeking the expertise of local concrete leveling experts. 

With nearly four decades of experience, Mount Valley ensures safer living conditions across the Carolinas using our advanced PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection technique. This innovative and flexible solution revitalizes your property and reassures your safety. Reach out to us now to find out more and to arrange a complimentary inspection

Resources

FAQs

Although it is possible to apply mudjacking and self-leveling concrete by yourself, we strongly advise against attempting DIY concrete leveling or repairs. There’s a significant risk of incorrect mixing or application of materials, and the tools required for the job can be quite costly. By choosing a concrete leveling specialist like Mount Valley, you will benefit from a complimentary inspection and repair quote, leveraging our extensive experience in identifying and fixing issues with sinking concrete. 

Absolutely, selecting an appropriate concrete leveling solution for your needs is beneficial. Instead of spending on temporary fixes that necessitate ongoing applications, professional concrete leveling ensures the safety and durability of your concrete, improving your property’s value and aesthetic appeal. Mount Valley stands as your dependable local concrete lifting authority. Reach out to us for a no-cost inspection and estimate today

Among the various options for concrete leveling, the PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection method is superior. This technique offers advantages over traditional methods like mudjacking and concrete repouring, as it is less disruptive, has a longer lifespan, cures faster, and is eco-friendly. For a comprehensive concrete evaluation and more information on this advanced repair solution, contact Mount Valley, your local concrete leveling experts, and schedule a free inspection.

Michael Wilcher

Michael Wilcher

Michael Wilcher is the Content Lead at Groundworks, helping us to answer all of our customers biggest questions about foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, and concrete lifting. In his free time, Michael enjoys collecting vinyl records, watching Formula 1 Racing, and reading philosophy. He holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge.

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

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