Concrete Leveling: A Homeowner’s Guide
Concrete is one of the strongest and most durable building materials in the world. There’s a reason so many buildings are built with it.
However, concrete’s strength doesn’t make it invincible. Over time, concrete is prone to cracking, sinking, and unevenness. But why does this happen? Can it be fixed?
We’ll answer all that and more in this article. Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, this guide will help you determine if concrete leveling is the right choice for your needs.
Introduction to Concrete Leveling
If you’ve never heard of concrete leveling, it’s understandable. Most people don’t know that this service exists until they need to repair concrete on their property. Let’s look at the basics of concrete leveling so you understand what it looks like.
What is Concrete Leveling?
Concrete leveling is a repair technique that raises uneven or sunken concrete surfaces back to a safe position. This process restores the safety, functionality, and aesthetics of the concrete structure.
Concrete leveling goes by a few different names, all of which refer to the same process. You might see these names used in place of concrete leveling as you explore the topic more:
Other Names for Concrete Leveling
Concrete leveling is a form of concrete repair that has many different names. For example:
- “Concrete Lifting”
- “Concrete Raising”
- “Concrete Jacking”
Different methods are used for concrete leveling as well, so depending on who you work with, you might hear concrete leveling go by a more technically specific name:
- PolyRenewal™ (our method), commonly known as “Polylifting,” “Polyjacking,” or “Polyurethane Foam Leveling.”
- “Stone Grout Slurry Leveling” or “Cement Slurry Leveling”
- “Self-Leveling Concrete”
We’ll talk more about all of these in the next section but just know, they are all very different processes used to achieve a similar outcome—level concrete.
How Concrete Leveling Works
Concrete leveling is used with one goal in mind: to restore a concrete surface as close to its original position as possible. This improves the concrete’s safety, functionality, and appearance.
There are four main methods used to achieve this goal:
- Polyurethane foam
- Stone slurry grout
- Self-leveling concrete
The method used to level your concrete depends on factors such as the situation, extent of damage, and your desired outcome. To determine if concrete leveling is needed, take a look at the concrete on your property.
If it is uneven, cracked, or sinking, it’s a good idea to call a professional for a more extensive inspection. You might also consider preventative measures; even if your concrete surfaces look healthy, it might be a good idea to install a concrete leveling method to prevent damage from occurring in the first place.
The cost varies based on factors like area size, severity of the damage, repair method, and extent of repair. Get quotes from reputable companies for an accurate estimate.
Concrete leveling is a cost-effective solution compared to replacement. Consider the pros and cons, your needs, and consult professionals to make the right choice.
Ranking the 4 Most Popular Methods of Concrete Leveling
Not all concrete leveling methods are effective. Some last longer than others and provide a more effective fix. Here are concrete leveling methods ranked worst to best:
1. Polyurethane Foam Injection
Polyurethane foam injection is the most modern approach to concrete lifting. It’s the best way to lift concrete due to its quick installation time and lasting results.
First, penny-sized holes are drilled into the damaged concrete. Using special equipment, polyurethane foam is injected through these holes where it fills crevices under the concrete.
Once situated under the concrete, the foam expands and fills voids between the soil and the slab. As the foam expands, it compresses the soil (making it stronger) and pushes concrete back to a safe level.
The foam itself cures and provides incredible strength to the concrete as well. You may have heard about a similar process called mudjacking—polyurethane follows the same principle but does the job better.
Polyurethane foam cures within 30 minutes, causes minimal disruption to your concrete, and it completely fills gaps between the sunken slabs and the earth. You’ll get more bang for your buck, a smoother finish, and a longer lasting result compared to other leveling methods.
Mudjacking involves pumping a slurry mixture (usually created with materials like cement, sand, and clay) beneath damaged concrete. Its name comes from the slurry solution, which looks like mud once it’s fully mixed.
As the mixture cures, it creates a solid, stable structure that fills in gaps below the concrete and pushes it upwards. Unfortunately, more often than not, mudjacking ends up being a temporary solution and a bit of a hassle.
For one thing, it can’t be used on heavy partition walls. Because of its slurry mixture, mudjacking can be slowly washed away by rain. As a result, concrete often falls back into a state of damage just a few years after mudjacking is installed.
Most importantly, many people believe mudjacking can be a “do-it-yourself” project. Believe us when we say that as a DIY job, it is NOT easy.
It usually leads to an unsafe repair process that ultimately makes the problem worse. In short, mudjacking may work for a short time, but it doesn’t last and it may even cause more issues down the line.
3. Cement or Stone Slurry Concrete Leveling
Stone slurry grout concrete leveling combines mudjacking and polyurethane foam injection techniques, using a mix of crushed stones (mainly limestone) and water. This mixture is installed using equipment similar to polyurethane injection tools.
It requires drilling large holes (about 1”) for application, offering better control over the material’s thickness and adding significant weight to the soil. Unlike mudjacking, this method effectively fills voids, is environmentally friendly, and durable, though it tends to be a costly option.
4. Self-Leveling Concrete
Self-leveling concrete, a polymer-fortified cement, is popular because it is a user-friendly option. It offers a quick-drying, low-water solution for DIY interior floor patching and resurfacing. It’s ideal for small-scale repairs and home improvements, providing a smooth finish without needing structural reinforcement.
Although more expensive than traditional concrete, its compatibility with various materials makes it accessible for homeowners aiming to refresh floors affordably. However, keep in mind that DIY projects with self-leveling concrete always run the risk of leading even more to costly and unsafe outcomes.
How to Know if You Need Concrete Leveling
Let’s talk about when it’s right for your home and when a different repair method is better.
When to Level Concrete
There are a number of reasons you may need to level your concrete. For instance, if your driveway is uneven and has caused damage to your car, you should fix concrete right away.
If you see cracks in the concrete or sections of it sinking into the ground, that’s a clear sign that it needs to be fixed. Remember, Concrete damage can show up anywhere; you might see cracks on the floor of your basement or on a concrete patio.
Having cracked and uneven concrete hurts the aesthetics of your home and it’s dangerous. Someone could trip over uneven sections, especially children and those who have trouble walking.
You should fix your concrete as soon as you notice damage. It’s important to call trusted experts like Alpha Foundations who understand what causes concrete damage and have the tools to level concrete effectively.
Who to Call When You Need Concrete Leveling
Concrete leveling can be a complex undertaking, and something best left to experienced professionals. Alpha Foundations has been leveling concrete since 2002. Homeowners throughout Florida know they can trust us for reliable, long-lasting repairs and excellent customer service.
During our free inspections, we complete a thorough evaluation of your property and pinpoint the cause of the concrete problems. This enables us to determine exactly what your home needs and then implement the best repairs tailored to these requirements.
When Not to Level Your Concrete
There are two situations when concrete leveling isn’t necessary or simply won’t work: little to no damage or severe damage.
Sometimes, small cracks develop in concrete as a part of the curing process. They may never grow or change in size, appearance, or depth, but they’ll always be there. Just make sure to keep an eye on them, and if they grow in size, call someone to inspect your concrete.
On the other hand, concrete that sustains severe damage (maybe from a natural disaster or uncontrollable event) likely can’t be saved by concrete leveling methods. If sections of the concrete are completely broken or crumbling, complete concrete replacement is the best course of action.
Who to Call When You Don’t Need Leveling
If your concrete is suffering from extreme damage, you need to contact a company that can repour concrete for you. If you’re unsure whether or not concrete leveling is the best solution, reach out to Alpha Foundations for a free inspection.
Even if concrete leveling isn’t appropriate for your situation, we can take stock of the damage and recommend next steps like repouring or resurfacing.
The Cost of Concrete Leveling
One of the burning questions about concrete leveling revolves around money and how much a project is going to cost. This is actually a complex issue, and it can be difficult to find a straight answer by searching online. There are many variables affecting the total cost, including:
- Extent of the damage
- Size of the area requiring repair
- Appropriate repair method
- Amount of product required
- Labor, materials, permits
The best way to get an accurate price for your concrete leveling project is to contact your local concrete experts for a free inspection and no-obligation repair estimate.
Concrete Leveling vs Replacement: Cost Comparison
Catching and fixing concrete damage early on is key to avoiding major issues. Using concrete leveling techniques—particularly PolyRenewal™—offers a more cost-effective solution than replacement.
When concrete is badly damaged, it might seem like the only option is to tear it out and pour new concrete. This process takes a lot of time because the new concrete needs days to dry and harden, and you can’t use the area while this is happening.
Replacing concrete is pricier than leveling. Tearing out and replacing concrete can cost somewhere between $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the damage.
Average Price to Lift a Driveway
Driveways can sustain a lot of wear and tear because of continued vehicle traffic, and damage to these areas can be the most noticeable. Driveway and garage floor leveling can often range anywhere between $800 and $4,000.
Average Price to Lift a Patio
Patios are smaller areas that sustain foot traffic but don’t experience the weight of vehicles like driveways and garage floors do. However, the price tag is relatively similar, sometimes ranging from $800 to more than $3,000. Similarly, raising a porch could cost more than $5,000, especially if piering is needed.
Average Price to Lift a Walkway
Due to the nature of sidewalks and walkways, they experience more foot traffic than patios and porches. For that reason, it’s important to fix them if they become damaged. The price range to level these areas is usually around $500 to over $2,000.
How to Save Money on Your Concrete
- Prevent severe damage with vigilance and regular inspections.
- 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™ is our go-to solution for concrete leveling. Over 20 years of experience has proven to us that this modern technique is the most dependable way to level concrete.
It can be applied to a wide range of scenarios, making it an incredibly versatile tool.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of lifting with polyurethane.
- Reduced cost
- Quicker installation time
- No mess
- May not lead to 100% level concrete
- Surface cracks may still be visible
- Can be affected by variable soil conditions
While mudjacking and self-leveling concrete are tempting to install on your own, we do not recommend DIY concrete leveling or repair. It can be easy to not properly mix or install the materials, and the necessary tools for installation can be expensive. When you work with a concrete leveling professional like Alpha Foundations, you’ll receive a free inspection and repair estimate, and you’ll benefit from our years of experience in diagnosing and repairing sunken concrete.
Depending on what repair method is used, professionally leveled concrete can last for many years with proper maintenance. Factors like soil settlement, freezing/thawing, and traffic loads impact longevity. Ongoing cracking should be evaluated. To learn more about concrete leveling, particularly with long-lasting polyurethane injections, contact Alpha Foundations for a free inspection and estimate.
The timeline can range from 1-3 days depending on the size of the job. Professionals work efficiently to minimize disruption to your property. Setting materials like polyurethane expand quickly while other methods like self-leveling concrete and mudjacking take longer to cure. You’ll receive a more accurate timeline after a free concrete inspection from Alpha Foundations.
Contact Alpha Foundations for Concrete Lifting and Leveling Today!
Cracked, uneven concrete surfaces should never be ignored. They negatively impact your home’s appearance and create hazards for you and loved ones. Prevent concrete damage from ruining your property with help from local concrete leveling professionals.
Alpha Foundations has over 20 years of experience creating safer homes throughout Florida with our PolyRenewal™ foam injections. This unique, versatile repair method restores your property and your peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free inspection!
Disclaimer: “Concrete leveling” means the process by which cracked, uneven concrete is stabilized, and in most cases lifted, by means of PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam. Alpha Foundations does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make any and/or every square inch of your concrete perfectly level.
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