Understanding Concrete Leveling: The Ultimate Guide
Concrete, known for its durability, is used to construct a variety of areas on our properties—from sidewalks and driveways to pool decks and patios. Strong as it may be, concrete is susceptible to damage and wear-and-tear over time, often requiring professional repair.
Concrete leveling is a repair solution for dealing with uneven or sunken concrete surfaces. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of what concrete leveling is, how it works, and the different methods used. We’ll also discuss when it’s necessary, who to call for professional assistance, and the costs involved.
Introduction to Concrete Leveling
Here are the basics:
What is Concrete Leveling?
Concrete leveling is a repair technique used to address uneven or sunken concrete surfaces. It involves raising and leveling the concrete to restore its original position and eliminate hazards caused by the unevenness. This process helps improve the safety, functionality, and aesthetics of the concrete area.
Concrete leveling goes by a few different names:
- Concrete repair
- Concrete lifting
- Concrete raising
- Slab lifting
- Concrete jacking
- Cement jacking
Depending on the method and tools used to perform concrete leveling, it might also go by one of its more technically specific names:
- 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 explain 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 raises and levels uneven or sunken concrete surfaces to restore their original position. This process improves safety, functionality, and aesthetics. There are four common methods: polyurethane foam, stone slurry grout, mudjacking, and self-leveling concrete. The choice depends on factors like the situation and desired outcome.
To determine if concrete leveling is needed, assess the condition of your surfaces. Call a professional if you notice significant unevenness, sinking, or hazards.
If your surfaces are in good condition, it’s still a good idea to consult with a professional to decide if leveling is necessary.
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.
The 4 Most Popular Methods of Concrete Leveling
There are a few different ways that you can get your concrete to be level. In order of best to worst, here’s the list:
1. Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling
Polyurethane foam injection is generally a quick and easy way for professionals to lift and level sunken concrete slabs.
It involves injecting lightweight polyurethane foam through small holes drilled into the affected concrete. Once injected under the concrete, the foam expands to fill voids between the soil and the slab. This allows for the precise lifting and leveling of the slab.
You may have heard about a similar process—mudjacking—but leveling with polyurethane takes the concept to the next level, a more effective level.
Polyurethane foam does not require invasive drilling, a long cure time, or only affect a small area of concrete. Instead, only penny-sized holes are required, the foam hardens within 30 minutes, 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 with polyurethane foam injections compared to other leveling methods.
Mudjacking is a process that entails injecting a mortar-based slurry mixture under a concrete slab. This mixture—composed of water, soil, sand, and cement—resembles mud when mixed, which is the origin of the term “mudjacking.” As this mixture hardens, it forms a robust, stable base that addresses the underlying issues causing the concrete’s instability. This base does not span the entire slab, however. The mixture, which is heavy and can easily weigh down underlying soil, only fills a cone-sized area directly underneath the injection site.
Although mudjacking can be an effective solution in many situations, there are circumstances where it may not be suitable. For instance, it’s not advisable for lifting slabs that are burdened with heavy partition walls due to the challenges in achieving an even lift, which could potentially lead to uneven wall lifting.
Mudjacking is not a DIY-friendly task. Attempting it without the necessary expertise and equipment can lead to significant, sometimes irreversible, damage to your property. DIY attempts not only risk further complicating the issue but can also significantly increase the repair costs.
3. Cement or Stone Slurry Concrete Leveling
Stone slurry grout concrete leveling is a blend of mudjacking and polyurethane foam injection. The process involves mixing crushed stones—particularly limestone—and water and installing the material with equipment like polyurethane injection tools.
Like polylifting, holes about 1” are bored into the concrete and hosed in below your concrete, and the slurry mix typically fills voids completely. It’s easier to control the thickness of the material being pumped under the uneven slabs. It’s also environmentally friendly and durable. However, like mudjacking, the stone and water mixture adds significant weight on top of the soil meaning the likelihood that the concrete will settle and crack again is higher.
4. Self-Leveling Concrete
Self-leveling concrete is much like you might think—something you can use yourself. It is comprised of polymer-fortified cement, but advances over time have made it more user-friendly than ever. With its rapid drying time, low water requirements, and compatibility with various materials and finishes, DIYers can achieve smooth, flat surfaces when patching or resurfacing interior floors.
Though pricier than traditional concrete, self-leveling products target small-scale repair jobs and home improvement projects where concrete work is needed but structural reinforcement may not be required. While once considered a specialty material, innovations have put self-leveling concrete within reach of everyday homeowners looking to refresh their concrete floors affordably.
However, DIY repairs with methods like self-leveling concrete can quickly turn into dangerous and expensive endeavors.
When to Level Your Concrete
There are a lot of reasons you might need your concrete leveled.
Visible cracks or uneven concrete surfaces are clear indicators that concrete leveling may be necessary. Signs include the emergence of cracks on the basement floor, uneven steps, or cracks appearing in exterior brickwork.
If your driveway has caused damage to your car (which happens surprisingly often!), it’s time to consider your concrete lifting options and repair the affected area right away. Repeatedly driving over sunken, uneven slabs in your garage or driveway can harm your car’s suspension and tires, adding to wear and tear and required maintenance.
Cracking and uneven concrete not only looks unappealing and diminishes your property’s appearance, but also it presents a safety hazard and potential liability. Anyone can easily trip over sunken slabs and injure themselves, especially the elderly and those with mobility problems. This is particularly dangerous on concrete pool decks.
The best time to level your concrete is before it becomes a major problem. It’s crucial to reach out to local concrete leveling professionals as soon as you notice or suspect something is wrong with the concrete on your property.
Who to Call When You Need Concrete Leveling
Concrete leveling can be a complex undertaking, and something best left to experienced professionals. Our team at Ohio Basement Authority has been leveling concrete for 15 years. Homeowners throughout Central and Southern Ohio know they can trust us for reliable, long-lasting repairs and excellent customer service.
During a free inspection, we’ll complete a thorough evaluation of your property to pinpoint the cause of the concrete problems. This enables us to determine exactly what your home needs and recommend the right repairs tailored to these requirements.
When Not to Level Your Concrete
There are two extremes that do not call for concrete leveling: little to no damage or severe damage.
Sometimes, small hairline cracks develop in concrete as a natural part of the curing process. They may never grow or change in size, appearance, or depth, but they’ll always be there. Those issues can typically be treated with cosmetic installations rather than concrete lifting.
However, concrete often sustains significant damage over time and falls into severe disrepair. Sections could be broken and falling off, and edges can crumble, all impacting the safety and structural integrity of the slab. In these cases, a complete replacement may be necessary.
Who to Call When You Don’t Need Leveling
Before your concrete becomes too far gone to save with concrete lifting, reach out to concrete repair experts like Ohio Basement Authority for a thorough evaluation and advice on the best repair approach.
Even if concrete leveling isn’t appropriate for your situation, we can recommend next steps like repouring or resurfacing.
The Cost of Concrete Leveling
One of the burning questions we often hear 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 are 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 free inspection and no-obligation repair estimate.
Concrete Leveling vs. Replacement: A Cost Comparison
Noticing concrete damage and nipping it in the bud before serious damage results is crucial. Concrete leveling methods—PolyRenewal™, in particular—can be quickly implemented at a cheaper cost.
Severely damaged concrete seemingly beyond repair typically requires completely demolishing the affected concrete and repouring cement. This is time-consuming, as it requires days of cure time and renders your concrete unusable. Concrete is heavy and the newly poured slab will eventually settle into the ground.
Concrete replacement is also expensive. This process can cost $5,000 or more, but sometimes it can average around $1,000 for a less invasive, proactive procedure.
Average Price to Raise 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 leveling and garage floor raising can often range anywhere 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. Similarly, raising a porch could cost more than $5,000, especially if piering is needed.
Average Price to Raise a Walkway
Sidewalks and walkways are essential to gain access to homes, and they experience even more traffic than patios and porches. The price range for these areas is sometimes from around $500 to more than $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 when concrete problems arise. We depend on this remarkable system because it is versatile and can be applied to a wide range of problems. Polyurethane foam’s benefits are two-fold, as it levels concrete slabs while also stabilizing the underlying soil. Here’s a look at other features of this system, as well as potential drawbacks.
- Reduced cost
- Quick cure time
- No mess
- Will never be 100% level
- Cracks may still be visible
- Can be affected by variable soil conditions
While mudjacking and self-leveling concrete can be installed 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 Ohio Basement Authority, you’ll receive a free inspection and repair estimate, and you’ll benefit from our years of experience in diagnosing and repairing sunken concrete.
Yes, investing in the right concrete leveling method for your situation is worth it. Rather than wasting money on temporary solutions that require continued installation, you can ensure your concrete’s safety and longevity and enhance your home’s value and aesthetics with professional assistance. Ohio Basement Authority is your trusted local concrete lifting expert. Contact us today for a free inspection and estimate.
There are many concrete leveling options, but PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam injection stands out as the best method. Compared to traditional procedures like mudjacking and repouring, polyurethane foam is less invasive, longer lasting, quicker to cure, and environmentally friendly. Contact your local concrete leveling experts at Ohio Basement Authority to schedule a free concrete inspection and learn more about this innovative repair.
Call Ohio Basement Authority for Concrete Lifting and Leveling Today!
Cracked, uneven concrete slabs shouldn’t be ignored. They negatively impact your home’s appearance and create an unsafe living environment. Head these issues off at the pass and enlist the help of local concrete leveling professionals.
Ohio Basement Authority has 15 years of experience creating safer homes throughout Central and Southern Ohio with our state-of-the-art PolyRenewal™ polyurethane 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.
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Disclaimer: “Concrete leveling” means the process by which cracked, uneven concrete is stabilized, and in most cases lifted, by means of PolyRenewal™ polyurethane foam. Ohio Basement Authority does not guarantee that PolyRenewal™ can make any and/or every square inch of your concrete perfectly level.
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