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Understanding Concrete Leveling: The Ultimate Guide

worker fixing sunken pool deck

Concrete is trusted for its sturdiness and is utilized in constructing various structures on our properties, such as sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and patios. But, despite its strength, concrete can still suffer from damage and deterioration over time. When this happens you need the right repairs. 

One effective repair strategy for addressing uneven, sinking concrete is a method known as concrete leveling. This guide offers a comprehensive overview of concrete leveling, including its definition, uses, and the various techniques used. 

Additionally, we will cover the circumstances that warrant concrete leveling, the professionals to contact for expert services, and the associated expenses. This information is valuable whether you are a homeowner or a business owner looking to maintain or enhance your property’s concrete surfaces. 

What is Concrete Leveling? 

Concrete leveling is a method of repair aimed at correcting uneven or settled concrete surfaces. This technique involves lifting and leveling the concrete back to its initial position, thereby removing any risks associated with the irregularity. By doing so, it enhances the safety, utility, and visual appeal of the concrete space. 

Concrete leveling goes by a few different names

  • “Concrete Lifting” 
  • “Concrete Raising” 
  • “Slabjacking” 
  • “Concrete Jacking” 

Depending on the method and tools used to perform concrete leveling, it might also go by one of its more technically specific names

  • “Polylifting,” “Polyjacking,” or “Polyurethane Foam Leveling.” 
  • “Mudjacking” 
  • “Stone Slurry Leveling” 
  • “Self-Leveling Concrete” 

We’ll talk more about all of these in the next section but suffice it to say they are all very different processes for achieving the same or similar outcomes. 

Understanding How Concrete Leveling Works 

Concrete leveling adjusts and corrects uneven or settled concrete surfaces, returning them to their original level. This enhancement not only boosts safety and functionality but also enhances the visual appeal. The four primary techniques include: 

  • Polyurethane foam injection 
  • Stone slurry grout leveling 
  • Mudjacking 
  • Applying self-leveling concrete overlays 

The selection among these methods depends on the project’s specific requirements and desired results. 

To ascertain the necessity for concrete leveling, evaluate the state of your concrete surfaces. Significant discrepancies in level, depressions, or potential trip hazards are indicators that professional advice is warranted. 

Even if your concrete surfaces appear to be in satisfactory condition, seeking a professional opinion to determine the need for leveling can be beneficial. 

The cost of concrete leveling services fluctuates based on the the area of damage, the degree of damage, the chosen repair technique, and the scope of the necessary repairs. Obtaining estimates from well-regarded companies is advisable to secure a precise cost projection. 

Opting for concrete leveling can often be more economical than opting for complete replacement. When considering this option, weigh the advantages and disadvantages, assess your specific needs, and engage with professionals to ensure an informed decision is made. 

Several methods are available to achieve a level concrete surface. Ranked from the most effective to the least, here’s the lineup: 

1. Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling 

Injecting polyurethane foam is an efficient and straightforward approach for professionals to raise and align sinking concrete slabs. 

This method involves small holes drilled into the damaged concrete in which a lightweight polyurethane foam is injected. The foam then expands beneath the concrete, filling up the voids between the ground and the slab, thereby facilitating the precise adjustment and alignment of the slab. 

Although mudjacking is a known technique, polyurethane injection enhances the concept significantly, offering a superior solution. 

The process with polyurethane foam doesn’t involve extensive drilling, lengthy curing periods, or limited application areas. Rather, it requires only minimal, dime-sized holes, sets within 30 minutes, and effectively bridges the gaps between the lowered slabs and the soil. 

Opting for polyurethane foam injections delivers greater value, a finer finish, and more durable outcomes compared to traditional leveling techniques. 

polyrenewal injection

2. Mudjacking 

Mudjacking is a fairly simple technique which involves injecting a slurry made from a mortar blend underneath the concrete slab. This slurry, a combination of water, soil, sand, and cement, resembles mud after mixing, which is the origin of the term “mudjacking.” As this mixture hardens, it forms a robust and stable base that addresses the voids causing the concrete’s unevenness. 

Although mudjacking can be beneficial in many situations, there are circumstances where it may not be the most effective solution. For instance, it’s not suitable for elevating a slab along with heavy partition walls due to the potential difficulty in managing the lift evenly, which could lead to uneven wall adjustment. 

It’s crucial to understand that mudjacking is not a suitable project for amateurs. Attempting to mudjack on your own can result in significant structural damage. The lack of professional training and equipment can lead to irreversible harm to your property. Despite the abundance of instructional videos and articles online, they cannot equip you with the necessary expertise to conduct this process safely and efficiently. DIY attempts can lead to further complications, escalating both the repair complexity and the associated costs. 

filled concrete hole

3. Cement or Stone Slurry Concrete Leveling 

Stone slurry grout concrete leveling combines aspects of mudjacking with the technique of polyurethane foam injection. This method involves creating a mixture of crushed stones—mainly limestone—with water, and then applying this mixture using tools similar to those used for polyurethane injections. 

Similar to mudjacking, this process requires drilling large holes, approximately 1 inch in diameter, allowing for better management of the material’s thickness as it is injected beneath the uneven concrete slabs. The combination of stone and water contributes additional weight atop the underlying soil. However, unlike mudjacking, the stone slurry mix is often more effective at completely filling voids. It is an eco-friendly and robust solution, though it tends to be costlier than traditional mudjacking. 

4. Self-Leveling Concrete 

Self-leveling concrete operates exactly as its name suggests—it’s a user-friendly option for those looking to undertake projects themselves. This type of concrete, enhanced with polymer additives, has become increasingly accessible due to technological improvements. It offers quick drying times, requires minimal water, and is versatile enough to work with a variety of materials and finishes, allowing DIY enthusiasts to create even, smooth surfaces for interior floor repairs or updates. 

Although it comes at a higher cost than standard concrete, self-leveling formulations are ideal for minor repairs and home renovation projects that demand concrete solutions without structural reinforcement. Previously regarded as a niche product, self-leveling concrete is now widely available to homeowners aiming to economically rejuvenate their concrete floors. 

Nonetheless, attempting DIY repairs using self-leveling concrete always runs the risk of causing hazardous and costly mistakes. 

When to Level Your Concrete 

There are numerous reasons why leveling your concrete might be necessary. For instance, if your driveway has damaged your vehicle (a surprisingly common issue), it’s crucial to explore concrete lifting solutions and address the problem immediately. Regularly traversing over depressed, uneven concrete in your garage or driveway can damage your vehicle’s suspension and tires, leading to increased wear and additional maintenance needs. 

Visible cracks or sinking are clear indicators that concrete leveling is needed. You might observe cracks on your basement floor, discover that steps appear uneven, or spot cracks in external brick, stone, or siding. Chimneys showing cracks or detaching from the house are also frequent signs. 

Beyond being aesthetically displeasing and reducing your property’s value, cracked and uneven concrete poses a safety risk and potential liability. Sunken slabs are a tripping hazard, particularly dangerous for the elderly and individuals with mobility issues, and especially perilous around concrete pool decks. 

Who to Call When You Need Concrete Leveling 

Concrete leveling is a sophisticated process, often requiring the expertise of seasoned professionals. 

At Tar Heel Basement Systems, we have specialized in concrete leveling since 2003. Homeowners across North Carolina rely on us for dependable, enduring solutions and outstanding customer support. 

Through a complimentary inspection, we conduct an in-depth assessment of your property to identify the root causes of your concrete issues. This allows us to accurately ascertain your home’s needs and suggest the most suitable repair options tailored specifically for those needs. 

When Not to Level Your Concrete 

There are two situations where concrete leveling might not be the appropriate solution: minimal or no damage and extensive damage. 

Occasionally, concrete will exhibit minor hairline cracks as a part of its natural curing process. These cracks might remain stable in size, appearance, or depth, always present but not worsening. Minor issues can be addressed with cosmetic fixes rather than concrete lifting. 

On the other hand, concrete can undergo substantial damage over time, leading to severe deterioration. This could include sections breaking away, crumbling edges, and other forms of damage that affect the safety and structural integrity of the concrete slab. In these instances, replacing the concrete entirely might be the necessary course of action. 

Who to Call When You Don’t Need Leveling 

Before your concrete deteriorates beyond repair through concrete lifting, it’s wise to consult with concrete repair specialists such as Tar Heel Basement Systems for a detailed assessment and guidance on the optimal repair strategy.  

If concrete leveling isn’t suitable for your case, we’re prepared to suggest alternative solutions, including repouring or resurfacing. 

The Cost of Concrete Leveling 

A key concern when it comes to concrete leveling is the cost of the project, which can be a complicated matter. Obtaining a clear-cut answer online can prove challenging due to the multitude of factors that influence the overall expense. These factors include: 

  • The severity of the damage 
  • The area size needing repair 
  • The suitable method of repair 
  • The quantity of materials needed 
  • Costs associated with labor, materials, and permits 

To receive a precise quote for your concrete leveling needs, the most reliable approach is to reach out to us at Tar Heel to receive a complimentary inspection and a repair estimate without any commitment. 

Concrete Leveling vs. Replacement: A Cost Comparison 

Detecting and addressing concrete damage early on is essential to prevent significant harm. Methods for concrete leveling, especially PolyRenewal™, offer a quick and cost-effective solution. 

When concrete is severely damaged and appears irreparable, the typical action involves demolishing the damaged area and pouring new cement. This process is not only time-consuming, needing days for the cement to cure and making the area unusable, but also, because concrete is heavy, the new slab will eventually settle into the ground. 

Furthermore, replacing concrete is costly. While this process might exceed $5,000, proactive and less invasive interventions can sometimes average around $1,000. 

Average Price to Raise a Driveway 

Due to continuous vehicle traffic, driveways are subject to significant wear and tear, making any damage highly visible. The cost for leveling driveways and garage floors typically falls between $800 and $4,000. 

Average Price to Raise 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. Elevating a porch, on the other hand, may exceed $5,000, particularly if it requires piering

Average Price to Raise a Walkway 

Access paths like sidewalks and walkways, which see even more use than patios and porches, are critical for home access. Elevating these areas often costs between approximately $500 and 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™ stands as our preferred choice for addressing concrete issues. We rely on this exceptional system due to its flexibility and effectiveness across various situations. The advantages of polyurethane foam extend beyond just leveling concrete slabs; it also fortifies the soil beneath. Below, we delve into additional aspects of this system and consider any possible limitations. 

Pros 

  • Reduced cost 
  • Time 
  • Convenience 
  • Consistency 
  • No mess 
  • Eco-friendly 

Cons 

  • Will never be 100% level 
  • Cracks may still be visible 
  • Can be affected by variable soil conditions 

FAQs

While it is possible to undertake mudjacking and apply self-leveling concrete by yourself, DIY concrete leveling or repairs are generally not advised. The risk of improper mixing or installation of materials is high, and acquiring the necessary tools can be costly. By choosing to work with a concrete leveling expert like Tar Heel Basement Systems, you’ll gain access to a complimentary inspection and repair quote, as well as benefit from our extensive experience in identifying and fixing issues with sinking concrete. 

Absolutely, choosing the appropriate concrete leveling solution for your specific needs is a worthwhile investment. Instead of spending on temporary fixes that need frequent redoing, professional leveling ensures the safety and durability of your concrete, while also boosting the value and visual appeal of your home. Tar Heel Basement Systems stands ready as your reliable local expert in concrete lifting. Reach out to us for a no-cost inspection and quote.

Among the various options for concrete leveling, PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection is superior. It offers advantages over traditional methods like mudjacking and concrete repouring by being less disruptive, more durable, faster to set, and eco-friendly. For a comprehensive concrete evaluation and more information on this advanced repair technique, contact the concrete leveling specialists at Tar Heel Basement Systems to schedule a free inspection.

Call Tar Heel Basement Systems for Concrete Lifting and Leveling Today! 

Tar Heel work truck

Ignoring cracked and uneven concrete slabs is not advisable. They detract from the appearance of your home and pose safety risks. To prevent these problems, it’s wise to seek the expertise of local concrete leveling experts. 

With more than two decades of experience, Tar Heel Basement Systems has been enhancing the safety of homes across North Carolina using our cutting-edge PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injections. This innovative and adaptable repair technique not only rejuvenates your property but also reinstates your peace of mind. Reach out to us now to find out more and arrange a complimentary 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. Tar Heel Basement Systems does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make any and/or every square inch of your concrete perfectly level. 

Phillip Mazzotta

Phillip Mazzotta

*Disclaimer: “Concrete leveling” means the process by which cracked, uneven concrete is stabilized, and in most cases lifted, by means of PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam. Tar Heel Basement Systems does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make any and/or every square inch of your concrete perfectly level.

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