Mudjacking is the process of pumping a water, dirt and cement mixture under a concrete slab in order to lift it. This mixture is called slurry. The exact ingredients vary from company to company, and from job to job. Mudjacking can be the solution to many homeowners’ concrete problems, including foundation settling, crumbling curbs and repairing falling sidewalks. It may also be called concrete leveling, pressure grouting or slabjacking.
Concrete can sink or settle for several reasons. If the original concrete was installed on dirt that had not been compacted properly, the slab will start to settle within a few years. Soil erosion is another big contributor and is fairly common in some parts of the United States. The earth also naturally settles over time so if the slab is over seven to ten years old, it may be the natural progression of things. In any case, once the concrete does start to tilt or sink it can cause walking hazards, unwanted water runoff, or major foundation issues.
The entire process is fairly simple. First, small holes are drilled into the concrete slab to be lifted. Slurry is then pumped into these holes under pressure, filling any gaps under the slab. When the gaps are filled, the slurry becomes pressurized, and raises the slab hydraulically to the necessary height. In the final step, the holes that were originally drilled are then filled with a concrete mixture.
Mudjacking is not a complicated process, but it’s still not for amateurs. Only experienced professionals can perform this procedure to avoid doing even greater damage. Amateur work can result in irreparable cement damage that may cost more to repair or replace than the original damage.
Mudjacking is a more efficient alternative to replacing concrete. Ripping out old concrete, and laying new concrete, requires more equipment, and more workers, than mudjacking does. This makes the replacement cost nearly twice as much as mudjacking. Not only is it cheaper, it also sets more rapidly. Certain concrete pours may take days to set fully, while concrete that’s been mudjacked can be ready within hours. There is also no need to disturb adjacent landscaping or plants, making the whole endeavor a much cleaner process.
Once the slabjacking is complete, both the concrete slab, and the soil beneath it, will be much more structurally sound. The fact that mudjacking is using the same concrete slab is another benefit. Aged concrete is structurally superior to new concrete. As long as sinking is the only issue, repairing the old slab is better than making a new one.