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Concrete Leveling: What Is It? Do You Need It?

Concrete is widely recognized for its strength and is used to build all kinds of useful structures, such as sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and patios. Despite its strength, concrete can still suffer from damage and deterioration over time, necessitating appropriate repairs.

Concrete leveling offers a solution for addressing issues related to uneven or settled concrete surfaces. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of concrete leveling, including its definition, operational mechanisms, and the various techniques employed.

Additionally, we will cover the circumstances that warrant concrete leveling, the professionals to contact for expert services, and the expenses associated with the procedure. This guide is designed to assist both homeowners and business owners in determining whether concrete leveling is a suitable repair option for their specific requirements

What is Concrete Leveling?

Concrete leveling is a repair method aimed at correcting uneven or sunken concrete surfaces. It involves elevating and straightening the concrete to return it to its initial position, thus mitigating risks associated with the irregularity. This technique enhances the safety, functionality, 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 realigns uneven or settled concrete surfaces to their initial level, enhancing safety, functionality, and appearance. The technique employs four primary methods: polyurethane foam injection, stone slurry grout leveling, mudjacking, and application of self-leveling overlays, with the selection based on specific conditions and desired results.

Evaluating the state of your concrete surfaces is crucial to determine the necessity for leveling. If there’s noticeable unevenness, sinking, or potential tripping hazards, it’s wise to seek a professional’s assessment.

Even if your surfaces appear to be in satisfactory condition, consulting a professional can help ascertain whether leveling is advisable.

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

Opting for concrete leveling can be more economical than complete replacement. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages, considering your specific needs, and consulting with experts will guide you in making 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. Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling

Injecting polyurethane foam is a quick and straightforward method used by professionals to raise and stabilize sinking concrete slabs.

This procedure involves pumping a lightweight polyurethane foam into the concrete through tiny holes that have been drilled. The foam then expands beneath the concrete, filling the voids between the slab and the soil, enabling precise adjustment and stabilization of the slab.

While you might be familiar with mudjacking, a somewhat similar technique, polyurethane leveling elevates the process to a more effective tier.

Unlike mudjacking, polyurethane foam injection doesn’t involve extensive drilling, doesn’t require a lengthy hardening period, and isn’t limited to a small area of concrete. It necessitates only minimal drilling of penny-sized holes, sets within 30 minutes, and thoroughly occupies the spaces between the sinking slabs and the ground.

Opting for polyurethane foam injections means you’ll enjoy greater value, a smoother surface finish, and more durable outcomes compared to other leveling methods.

2. Mudjacking

Mudjacking, also known as slabjacking, is a highly effective method for repairing uneven and sunken concrete slabs. This procedure involves injecting a specialized slurry mixture beneath the concrete slab.

The slurry mixture (a blend of water, soil, sand, and cement) transforms into a mud-like consistency, which is where the term “mudjacking” comes from. As the mixture hardens, it forms a robust and stable foundation that effectively fills voids, correcting the underlying issues that lead to concrete deformation.

Despite its effectiveness in numerous situations, mudjacking has its limitations. It may not be suitable for lifting slabs that support heavy partition walls, for instance. The precision required in such cases is difficult to achieve, potentially leading to uneven lifting and further complications.

Moreover, it’s crucial to understand that mudjacking is not a suitable project for the average homeowner. The procedure requires specialized knowledge, skills, and equipment to ensure it’s done safely and effectively.

Attempting mudjacking without the proper expertise can result in significant damage to your property. The complexity of the task means that instructional videos or online articles cannot provide the depth of knowledge necessary for successful execution.

DIY attempts not only risk exacerbating the initial problem but can also significantly increase the repair costs. For these reasons, it’s strongly advised to seek professional services when considering mudjacking as a solution to concrete issues.

3. Cement or Stone Slurry Concrete Leveling

Stone slurry grout concrete leveling merges the techniques of mudjacking and polyurethane foam injection, offering a unique and efficient method for correcting uneven concrete slabs. This innovative process utilizes a specially formulated mix of crushed stones, predominantly limestone, combined with water to create a dense, malleable slurry. This material is then precisely injected beneath the concrete using equipment akin to that used for polyurethane foam injection.

The procedure requires drilling large holes, approximately 1 inch in diameter, similar to those needed for mudjacking. However, one of the distinct advantages of stone slurry grout leveling is the enhanced control over the viscosity and distribution of the material.

This precision ensures a more uniform lift and stabilization of the concrete slabs. Moreover, the limestone and water mixture adds substantial weight, exerting additional pressure on the underlying soil, which helps to secure the slabs in place more effectively.

In contrast to traditional mudjacking, the stone slurry grout technique has the capability to fill voids completely, leaving no gaps and thus, providing a more stable and lasting solution. This method is also lauded for its environmental benefits, as it utilizes natural materials and minimizes waste.

Despite its numerous advantages, including durability and the complete filling of voids, stone slurry grout concrete leveling tends to be more costly than mudjacking. However, its long-term effectiveness and eco-friendly attributes make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking a reliable and sustainable approach to concrete leveling.

4. Self-Leveling Concrete

Self-leveling concrete, as its name suggests, is an accessible option for those undertaking DIY projects. This material is composed of polymer-enhanced cement, and its development over the years has significantly improved its user-friendliness. It distinguishes itself with its quick drying time, minimal water needs, and versatility with a variety of materials and finishes, enabling DIY enthusiasts to easily create smooth, level surfaces for patching or resurfacing interior floors.

Although it comes at a higher cost compared to traditional concrete, self-leveling products are specifically designed for smaller repair tasks and home improvement projects that require concrete but not necessarily structural reinforcement. What was once deemed a niche product has, through innovation, become a feasible choice for homeowners wishing to upgrade their concrete floors without breaking the bank.

However, it’s important to approach DIY projects involving self-leveling concrete with caution. Without proper knowledge and preparation, these endeavors can become hazardous and costly.

When to Level Your Concrete

There are numerous reasons why you might find yourself in need of concrete leveling services. For instance, if you’ve experienced damage to your vehicle due to an uneven driveway—a surprisingly common occurrence—it’s a clear signal that it’s time to explore concrete lifting solutions to repair the area promptly. Regularly traversing over dips and bumps in your garage or driveway can inflict significant harm on your car’s suspension and tires, escalating wear and tear alongside the need for maintenance.

The presence of cracked or uneven concrete surfaces is a telltale indicator that leveling is necessary. You might observe cracks on your basement floor, notice that steps appear misaligned, or spot fractures in the external brickwork, stonework, or siding of your home. It’s not unusual for chimneys to show signs of cracking or to begin detaching from the house itself

Beyond being an aesthetic concern that detracts from your property’s curb appeal, cracked and uneven concrete surfaces pose a considerable safety risk and potential liability. Uneven slabs are a tripping hazard that can lead to injuries, a risk that is particularly acute for the elderly and individuals with mobility challenges, and is especially hazardous around concrete pool decks.

To prevent these issues from escalating into major problems, it’s advisable to address concrete leveling needs at the earliest sign of trouble. Engaging with reputable local concrete leveling experts as soon as any irregularities are noticed or suspected in your property’s concrete is essential for maintaining both its appearance and safety.

Who to Call When You Need Concrete Leveling

Concrete leveling is a nuanced process that demands the expertise of seasoned professionals. At JES Foundation Repair, our expertise in concrete leveling spans since 1993, making us a trusted name among homeowners throughout Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Northeast NC, and West Virginia. Our reputation for dependable, enduring repairs and unmatched customer service stands as a testament to our dedication.

We offer a complimentary inspection, during which we conduct an exhaustive assessment of your property. This critical step allows us to identify the root cause of any concrete issues, ensuring that we can provide a solution precisely tailored to the unique needs of your home. Our commitment is to offer not just repairs, but the right repairs, customized to address your specific concerns effectively.

When Not to Level Your Concrete

Before your concrete deteriorates beyond repair, it’s crucial to consult with concrete restoration specialists such as JES for an in-depth assessment and recommendations on the optimal repair strategy. Should concrete leveling not be suitable for your case, we are prepared to suggest alternative solutions, including repouring or resurfacing.

The Cost of Concrete Leveling

A key concern regarding concrete leveling is its cost and how much one might expect to pay for such a project. Determining an exact price can be challenging, as it depends on several factors, making it hard to obtain a straightforward answer through online searches. The overall expense is influenced by:

  • The severity of the damage
  • The area size that needs fixing
  • The suitable method of repair
  • The quantity of materials needed
  • Costs related to labor, materials, and permits

To receive a precise estimate for your concrete leveling endeavor, reach out to JES Foundation Repair for a complimentary inspection and a no-commitment quote.

Concrete Leveling vs. Replacement: A Cost Comparison

Identifying and addressing concrete damage early is essential to prevent significant deterioration. Quick and cost-effective solutions, such as the PolyRenewal™ concrete leveling technique, are available.

When concrete is severely damaged and appears irreparable, the only solution may be to demolish and replace the affected area, which involves a lengthy process due to the curing time required, during which the concrete cannot be used. Additionally, concrete is heavy, causing the new slab to eventually settle into the ground.

Replacing concrete is not only costly, potentially exceeding $5,000, but proactive and less invasive methods can average around $1,000, offering a more affordable option.

Average Price to Raise a Driveway

Ongoing vehicle traffic subjects driveways to significant wear and tear, making any damage highly visible. The cost for leveling driveways and garage floors typically falls between $800 and $4,000.

Average Price to Raise a Patio

Although patios endure frequent foot traffic, they do not bear the weight of vehicles like driveways. Nevertheless, the cost to repair patios is comparatively similar, usually between $800 and over $3,000. Elevating a porch can exceed $5,000, particularly if it requires piers.

Average Price to Raise a Walkway

Access pathways, including sidewalks and walkways, are pivotal for home access and tend to receive more traffic than patios or porches. Lifting sidewalks can cost between $500 and over $2,000.

How to Save Money on Your Concrete

  • 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™ stands as our preferred choice for addressing concrete issues. We rely on this exceptional system for its adaptability across various challenges. The dual advantages of polyurethane foam include leveling concrete slabs and stabilizing the soil beneath. Below, we delve into additional aspects of this system, including any possible limitations.

Concrete Leveling Pros

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

Concrete Leveling Cons

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

FAQs

Opting for concrete leveling is typically more efficient and cost-effective than a full replacement, provided the concrete is not extensively broken or crumbling. In cases where the concrete is significantly damaged, removal and replacement might be necessary. For a precise assessment of your situation and to determine the most suitable repair solution, reach out to JES for a complimentary inspection and estimate.

The durability of leveled concrete can extend many years, depending on the repair technique employed and proper upkeep. Factors such as soil settlement, freeze-thaw cycles, and the burden of traffic contribute to its lifespan. If cracks continue to appear, they should be inspected promptly. For more details on the longevity of concrete leveling, especially using durable polyurethane injections, get in touch with JES for a free inspection and estimate.

The process duration varies from one to three days, based on the project’s scope. Professionals aim to work swiftly to reduce any inconvenience to your property. Materials like polyurethane set rapidly, whereas concrete and mudjacking solutions require more time to harden. A JES expert can provide you with an exact schedule during a no-cost concrete evaluation.

Call JES Foundation Repair for Concrete Lifting and Leveling Today!

Don’t overlook cracked and uneven concrete slabs. They detract from the look of your home and pose safety risks. Address these problems proactively by seeking assistance from expert concrete leveling services in your area.

With 30 years of expertise, JES has been enhancing home safety across the mid-Atlantic region using our advanced PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection technique. This innovative, flexible solution not only repairs your property but also reinstates your confidence. Get in touch with us now to find out more and to arrange a complimentary inspection.

Additional Resources

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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

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JES Foundation Repair service area map of the Mid-Atlantic region.

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