Concrete patios often develop cracks over time. Shifts in the soil, erosion, foot traffic, and strain from load-bearing can stress the concrete slab to the point where cracks and fractures form.
Not attending to these faults and their causes will cause the damage to grow from being an unsightly blemish to a safety hazard.
Concrete patio repair is necessary to maintain the safety of your family and to safeguard your home’s value. Unless you take the proper steps to fix your patio, things will worsen and the patio will become unsafe as its structural integrity is compromised. This is a hazard to the safety of your family, pets, and guests.
Repairing concrete patios early on is key to stopping the damage from growing to dangerous levels. In most cases, a simple polyurethane foam injection is enough to lift and strengthen the concrete slab.
Although this is not the only method for concrete patio repair, it is our recommended one for its efficiency, consistency, lifespan, and affordability.
JES can inspect your patio for signs of damage and recommend a repair solution. Book in your FREE inspection today.
Concrete Patio Repair: Traditional vs. Modern Methods
There are many methods for repairing concrete patios. Not all are as effective, cost-efficient, or clean-cut as some methods. Most will achieve the same result, although not to the same standard. Or, potentially, be as long-lasting as others. A comparison between two of the more common concrete patio repair methods is useful for those that wish to carefully assess their options.
Mudjacking: Traditional Method
Mudjacking is an old-fashioned method of concrete lifting. Mudjacking is very invasive and involves drilling multiple holes throughout the concert slab. Into these holes cement grout (sometimes also called a cement or mud slurry) is pumped. This mixture fills the void beneath the patio, gradually applying more and more pressure until the slab lifts and stabilizes.
As a repair method, mudjacking has been around for quite a few decades and is considered cheaper than replacing the patio overall. It works, but it is also messy and the solution lasts roughly 8-10 years.
A huge drawback of this traditional concrete lifting method is that mudjacking requires holes to be drilled into the patio. These are not small holes either. Each will be roughly the same diameter as a soda can, and several will be drilled.
Mudjacking also takes a long time to cure. Often, curing time takes several days, meaning you can’t drive or walk on it for this time post-repair work. Stepping onto the patio can cause it to tilt in its new semi-dried foundation, and without correction, it may stay at such an angle.
Mudjacking is a cheaper but messier method. It is also suggested that depending on the quality of the slurry mixture injected beneath the patio, the effectiveness or lifespan of the patio lifting can be inconsistent. Some companies will make the slurry using a combination of soil from your property and a concrete mix.
Polyurethane Foam Injection: Modern Method
Polyurethane foam injections are a modern method patio repair and lifting method that’s faster, cleaner, and more reliable. Small holes are drilled into the slab. These holes are much smaller in diameter than those used for mudjacking, and usually, a special port or injection point will be fitted over these holes. The foam will then be injected, and once inside the void beneath the slab, the foam will rapidly expand.
As the foam expands it cures and hardens. This applies consistent and stable pressure to the patio slab, lifting it and supporting it in line with the foundation below.
- Quick Cure Time
One of the greatest conveniences of polyurethane foam is that it cures in roughly 15 minutes.
Mudjacking takes days to cure, and during this time the patio is out of commission. The areas that will need to be avoided after a polyurethane injection are the sealed-over injection sites.
A quick cure time means that your patio is back in action the day the repairs are done.
Polyurethane foam injections have a two-fold benefit for patio repair. This foam is fully waterproofed, meaning that it won’t just lift the concrete slab, it will seal and protect the underside from moisture.
One of the reasons concrete patios sink and crack is because of moisture. In protecting the underside of the slab from water, it is preserved and the water’s impact is limited. Cured polyurethane foam will also not warp or erode because of persistent moisture exposure.
Minimizing damage and disturbances to the home and landscape is important to JES, which is why non-invasive methods of repair are favored by our team.
Unlike mudjacking, polyurethane foam injections require only a small number of penny-sized holes drilled into the concrete slab. This means that repairing your concrete patio isn’t going to be as time-consuming or messy.
Mudjacking is a solution that adds a great deal more weight to the earth below the patio slab. The concrete-filler mixture adds approximately 120 pounds per cubic foot in weight, which can cause more issues down the line as the soil below is further compressed. Comparatively, polyurethane foam, once cured, usually weighs between-4-6 pounds per cubic foot. This means less stress on the supporting earth.
About Concrete Patio Repair
Soil bows to the whims of nature. Our area has seen many wild weather events, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and earthquakes. All of these can impact your home and patio by affecting the soil.
Soil suffers greatly from water, but especially from flooding events. Flooding causes soil to swell with water and loosen, allowing it to erode over time. Given enough time, this will hollow out a cavity beneath the concrete slab.
Alternatively, flooding can soften the soil to the point where the weight of the slab forces the muddy earth to ooze out from beneath it. Waterlogged soil can even cause the slab to sink.
Water can apply more force to the earth supporting your patio than many realize!
As the soil freezes and thaws over the seasons and many years, small shifts in the soil can also develop and cause sinking. This is a weathering process where the soil passes through cycles of shrinking as it dries and expanding as it freezes.
Waterlogged soil will see a much more rapidly developed impact of freezing and thawing, as there is more moisture that will develop ice crystals. These crystals are what push the soil particles apart.
Pests and Animals
Burrowing pests that excavate soil will cause weak points in the compact soil under the patio. Animals that aren’t burrowers themselves may still seek out cavities beneath the slab as a den, and in doing so may cause further damage to the earth.
The creation of burrows also creates a pocket of air just waiting to collect water during flooding. Even without water further softening the soil, a network of burrows can weaken the integrity of the soil, eventually leading to a sinking or cracked patio.
You can read more about animals that can damage your home here!
There are many advantages – and dangers you can avoid – by repairing your patio.
Preserving Your Home
Repairing your concrete patio is important for preserving the value of your home, removing a tripping/falling hazard from a high-traffic area, and preventing further erosion. Depending on the patio’s reason for sinking and/or cracking and how the soil has shifted, pests may burrow and nest beneath the slab, causing further damage.
Not only does this create an unsightly hazard in a high-traffic area, it actually impacts the overall value of your home. Those intending to sell their homes will see a lower property value than desired because of a damaged patio. Not only because of the damage itself but the underlying problem such as cracking indicates.
Preventing Greater Costs
There does come a point with sinking patios where repairing isn’t feasible. The only thing to be done in these worst-case scenarios is to remove the old patio, reseal the foundation soil, and build a new patio. Although it may not seem like a big deal, the price difference between these jobs is drastic.
Repairing the patio and lifting it is far cheaper than having the patio replaced once the damage grows too great. Getting on top of any sinking early on may also mean a less costly repair job too.
Concrete Patio Repair – The Solutions You Need
A concrete patio that develops cracks or begins to sink needs tending to, as not doing so can cause the patio to become irreversibly damaged. JES recommends polyurethane foam injections for lifting concrete patios. This is a modern but tried and true method for patio repair. For a free inspection and quote for a concrete patio repair solution, get in touch with the JES team today.