In many regions of the United States, there are climates that fluctuate between freezing and thawing cycles on a regular basis. These areas are the toughest on concrete, including concrete flatwork such as sidewalks, driveways, porches and patios as well as concrete floors.
If you have concrete that has settled or is cracked or sinking, there is a cost-effective way to level it without having to tear it out and replace it. This process of concrete leveling is also known as mud jacking or slab jacking.
Mud jacking, as it was originally known, is a process of raising concrete that has been around since 1929 and has over time become a very efficient and long-lasting way to relevel concrete.
The process of concrete leveling is pretty straight forward. First, workers will drill a sequence of equally spaced holes usually about 1-2″ in diameter across the concrete slab at the point where the concrete has settled. These holes allow for the slab to be raised up safely and for the voided areas to be completely filled with grout. The number of holes that are drilled is dependent on the size and thickness of the concrete slab being raised.
After the holes are drilled, a mixture of leveling compound is prepared and pumped into the holes with a hydraulic pump. Most times, the workers begin pumping the grout at the lowest point of the slab. In places where the concrete will need the most raising, a heavier grout is used. The slab will begin rising about an inch at a time.
Each hole is filled, and then the process is repeated where necessary until the slab is completely level. It is important that care is taken to fill every void in the concrete in order to raise the concrete slab back to its original level and allow for proper alignment. This also makes for a long lasting repair and total support of the concrete being restored.
Once all holes have been injected with the leveling compound and the concrete slab is perfectly elevated and aligned, then drilled holes must be patched and filled. Prior to filling, it is important to clean any grout or debris out of the holes.
After they are cleaned, the drilled holes are ready to be patched. This is done by injecting a stiff mortar mix into them. The mixture may consist of a combination of cement and sand that is used as a patching material. Once the holes have been filled, they are leveled off smoothly and cleaned.
During this process it is also possible to get rid of any existing trip edges and make sure that any concrete flatwork has a suitable slope that warrants the right amount of water runoff. It is common for the patchwork over the holes to differ in color from the original concrete. However, this usually fades over time. Once the patchwork is complete, your concrete can be ready as early as immediately and no more than a day for full contact.
Slab jacking or concrete leveling, offers many benefits. Raising concrete instead of replacing is much more economical, costing approximately half or less of what it would cost to replace concrete slabs. Replacing concrete requires much more time and cleanup than replacing it. There is a minimum cure time of 28 days for concrete replacement as opposed to 24 hours or less with the concrete raising process.
Other benefits include minimal waste, low noise as compared to that associated with the breaking up of concrete, no disturbance of surrounding grass or landscaping, and lastly slab jacking can be performed in almost any weather. Slab jacking is also considered environmentally safe.