Fraud Blocker What Is Concrete Leveling?

What Is Concrete Leveling?

The Process of Getting a Level Concrete Slab

Concrete leveling services (also known as concrete lifting) are one of the core services that Concrete Floor Systems offers our commercial and our residential customers.

Over time, a concrete surface may start to sink and settle, which leads to the surface becoming uneven and cracked. Not only is this aesthetically displeasing, but it can also be a safety hazard.

Whether it’s an external sidewalk, the floor inside a shop, or even a garage floor, concrete surfaces that are uneven can become a litigation issue aside from causing severe injuries.

Still, it is expensive to replace the concrete, including time and money. No one likes waiting multiple days for the floors to get replaced or for the sidewalk in front of your business to be accessible to the public.

Based on these reasons, the best and most cost-effective solution is often times concrete leveling. It’s about 50 percent of the cost of a replacement. You can also start allowing traffic on the surface within minutes.

Why Does Concrete Become Uneven?

There are multiple reasons why your concrete slabs can become damaged. Regardless of how it occurred, it’s not a problem that you want to let fester. Knowing these factors can keep you one step ahead and help you to prevent your concrete from deteriorating. It can also help you understand when it’s time to address problems with an existing concrete slab. Here are the most common factors:

Soil Erosion: Soil susceptible to erosion can wash away, creating a void beneath the concrete slab. Eventually, the concrete slab begins to sink into these voids, producing an uneven concrete surface.

Expansive Soil: Expansive soil is your standard soil that has a lot of clay mixed into it. Therefore, when it expands, it absorbs moisture and shrinks after it releases the moisture and gets dried out.

This cycle of swelling and shrinking causes movement beneath the sunken slab, which makes it uneven. For homeowners, this can result in serious foundation problems.

Shifting Soil Can Result in Uneven Concrete That Requires Leveling

Soil that was too lightly compacted before construction: You must pack the soil down before pouring the concrete on top. If the technician doesn’t perform this task correctly, the concrete settlement will be uneven.

Tree roots: Tree roots present a problem for outdoor concrete pours – like a sidewalk or a concrete driveway. Aside from unruly tree roots pushing through the concrete, they can also suck the water from the soil beneath the concrete. In these cases, voids will be left behind, which leads to the concrete caving in and becoming unlevel.

Drought: If the soil beneath the concrete slab gets dried out, it can make the surface uneven. Droughts dramatically and negatively affect concrete because the soil shrinks when it’s dry and expands when it rains.

Earthquakes: When a significant earthquake occurs, there will be noticeable damage to the concrete, but people overlook the more minor earthquakes. The damage isn’t as apparent, but smaller earthquakes cause fractures, lines, and splits in the concrete.

What Is Concrete Leveling, and How Does it Help?

Concrete leveling means repairing uneven, cracked, or sunken concrete slabs surrounding your business or home.

While it’s costly to tear up the uneven pavement and do a concrete replacement, a standard concrete leveling job only takes a few hours, and you’ll be good to go.

Signs That You Need Concrete Leveling

Multiple problems can arise in your home or business if you allow the uneven concrete to stay damaged. You’ll want to contact a professional immediately so that they can inspect the surface and level it off for you.

Here are the signs to be aware of that may indicate your home or business needs a foundation repair:

  • Your deck or porch seems to be misaligned or starts to pull away from your home.
  • There are cracks in your chimney.
  • The hardwood floors in your home are starting to warp.
  • The concrete floor starts sinking, lifting, or cracking.
  • The walls in your home or business are unsealing from the floors, which causes a gap, or there are hairline cracks from the walls to the floors.
  • You have cracks in the driveway or concrete steps.
  • The external siding or brick on your home is becoming misaligned or cracked.
  • You notice the concrete raising on the sidewalk.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s good to contact a technician immediately so that they can help you before it gets dangerous.

Methods of Concrete Leveling

There are many different ways to perform concrete leveling work; however, some methods are more practical than others. It depends on the budget and region.

Mudjacking (Outdated)

Mudjacking is the traditional way that technicians perform concrete leveling. This method uses cement slurry to level the uneven slab by lifting it.

Mudjacking slurry is a mixture of cement, water, soil, and sand. The slurry resembles mud, thus the term “mud jacking.” Although this method is still getting used, it’s not commonly used as it was once before.

The proper steps to mudjacking are as follows:

  • Drill one to two-inch holes in the slab you intend to lift
  • Inject the curry under the slab through the holes
  • The cement liquid will fill the voids and raise the slab to the desired levels.
  • The holes are then patched up with a formula that looks like the color of the concrete.

Mudjacking is an untidy procedure, and the cement slurry is not erosion resistant. Additionally, the holes you need for the mixture are more extensive than what you need for polyurethane foam injection.

You should also anticipate some downtime as you wait for the mixture to solidify.

Although mudjacking is cheaper than concrete lifting foam, the slab has a higher chance of sinking again, which means spending more money to get another repair.

Since mudjacking consists of a heavy cement slurry to lift the slab, it’s possible the problem could worsen.

Conversely, concrete lifting foam is very lightweight and won’t weigh the soil down with additional weight. Therefore, your lifted slab will stay lifted.

Polyurethane Foam Injection

Polyurethane foam uses a synthetic-proof material to lift and level the slab instead of cement slurry. The concrete foam leveling method is the most popular way to do concrete leveling.

Here’s how to perform this procedure:

  • Drill dime-sized holes in the concrete slab that you’re going to lift and level.
  • Next, you’ll insert the foam beneath the concrete slab into the holes.
  • In seconds, you’ll begin to notice that the foam has started expanding and filling in the empty spaces beneath the uneven slab. This action will lift and level the material.
  • Using a compound that is similar in appearance to the concrete, the holes get sealed and patched accordingly.

Advantages of PolyLift Concrete Leveling

  • Much less disruptive and cheaper
  • Cures quickly, allowing areas that have been treated to get back to service immediately.
  • The holes in the concrete are significantly smaller than the holes used in standard mudjacking.
  • Lightweight material not cumbersome to the settling soil
  • Concrete slabs may be able to hold more weight.
  • Polyurethane won’t wash away under the slab-like mudjacking material.

Our Method of Concrete Leveling

We’re able to remove low or high spots in your floor as well as fill holes in your concrete slab with our industrial strength pump. With our leveling process we’re able to lift and level the concrete floor back to its desired position.

Your floor will be ready for foot traffic in just three hours, and you’ll be able to apply a floor covering in just 24-26 hours. See our concrete leveling page for more details.

Considerations for Concrete Leveling When Dealing with Cracked Concrete

We touched briefly on cracks earlier in this article, but several additional considerations must be taken into account to ensure a successful and long-lasting repair when dealing with cracked Concrete. 

1. First, You’re Going to Want to Analyze the Type and Extent of Cracks

Hairline Cracks: Minor, superficial cracks may not affect the leveling process significantly. Thin, hairline cracks occur naturally on concrete surfaces and aren’t a huge concern and can be fairly easily addressed. The good news is that these can often be repaired after the leveling is complete.

Structural Cracks: Larger or structural cracks may indicate underlying issues with the slab, such as soil movement or foundation problems. These need to be addressed before or during the leveling process to ensure stability.

2. Determine Underlying Causes

Soil Conditions: Poor soil compaction, expansive soils, or erosion can cause both cracking and settling. It’s crucial to address these underlying issues to prevent future problems.

Moisture Issues: Water infiltration and poor drainage can lead to soil erosion and slab movement. Proper drainage solutions should be implemented to prevent recurrence. For basement slabs, proper basement waterproofing can also prevent water problems and can reduce the chances of foundation repair being necessary.

3. Repair Methods

Crack Sealing: Before leveling, cracks should be sealed to prevent the leveling material from seeping through. This can be done using epoxy or polyurethane sealants.

Reinforcement: In cases of significant cracking, additional reinforcement may be necessary. This can include the use of rebar, steel mesh, or carbon fiber strips to provide extra strength.

Lifting and Filling: Once cracks are sealed, the slab can be lifted using traditional mudjacking (old technology) or polyurethane foam injection (preferred). The lifting material should fill voids and stabilize the slab.

4. Stability and Support

Void Filling: Ensure that all voids beneath the slab are filled to provide uniform support. This helps prevent future settling and additional cracking.

Load Distribution: Properly distribute the load across the slab to avoid putting excessive stress on any one area, which could lead to further cracking.

5. Long-Term Solutions

Soil Stabilization: In cases of unstable soil, additional measures such as soil stabilization or compaction grouting may be necessary.

Drainage Improvements: Implementing proper drainage systems, such as French drains or gutter extensions, can help manage water flow and prevent soil erosion.

6. Aesthetic Considerations

Surface Repair: After leveling, the surface of the concrete may need to be repaired or resurfaced to address any visible cracks and improve appearance.

Color Matching: If patching or resurfacing is required, ensure that the repair materials match the existing concrete color and texture as closely as possible.

7. Professional Assessment

Expert Evaluation: Consulting with a qualified professional is essential to accurately diagnose the extent of the damage and determine the most appropriate repair methods.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Evaluate the costs of different repair options versus the potential benefits and longevity of the solutions.

8. Safety Concerns

Tripping Hazards: Ensure that all cracks and uneven surfaces are properly addressed to eliminate tripping hazards and ensure a safe walking surface.

Structural Integrity: Maintain the structural integrity of the slab to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of the structure.

9. Permits and Regulations

Local Codes: Check local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance with any required permits or standards for concrete repair and leveling. Foundation repair typically requires a permit. Indoor concrete leveling will likely need a permit as well depending on your location.

When a Foundation Repair Becomes Necessary

More extensive foundation repair may be required as part of a concrete leveling process in several situations:

Cracks and Settling: If the foundation has visible cracks or has settled unevenly, it might indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed before leveling the concrete.

Structural Integrity: When the structural integrity of the foundation is compromised, simply leveling the concrete may not be sufficient. Repairing the foundation ensures that the structure remains stable and safe.

Water Damage: If there is water damage or poor drainage around the foundation, it can lead to soil erosion and further settling. Addressing these issues through foundation repair can prevent future problems.

Uneven Floors: If floors inside the building are uneven or sloping, it could be a sign of foundation issues that could prevent proper floor leveling. Leveling the concrete without repairing the foundation may not resolve the underlying problem.

Doors and Windows Misalignment: If doors and windows are sticking or not closing properly, it might be due to foundation movement. Foundation repair can help realign these elements.

Bowing or Leaning Walls: Walls that are bowing or leaning inward or outward can indicate foundation problems. Repairing the foundation can help stabilize these walls.

Soil Conditions: In areas with expansive or shifting soils, foundation repair may be necessary to address soil movement that affects the stability of the concrete.

How Much Does It Cost for Concrete Leveling Work?

A technician performing a concrete repair will consider the following factors when coming up with a total concrete leveling cost.

The set price per square foot for a concrete leveling service will depend on:

  • The location of the project
  • The larger the concrete slab, the more of the foam you’ll need to use
  • How difficult it is to access the sunken concrete slab

Due to all these variables, it’s challenging to say how much you’ll end up paying to get the work completed. There has to be an inspection first to determine the extent of the work that the building owner needs to be completed.


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