You’re excited about finally getting your sunken concrete back into place with mud jacking from Anchor Foundation Repair. You might have been given some info already, but it passed by in a blur during the estimation visit. If someone were to ask you what this process looks like, you don’t have a clear picture right now.
Now you’re like: Ummmm, what’s about to happen at my property, and what is the mud jacking experience like?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been lifting and leveling all kinds of concrete slabs and foundations for decades. After 35+ years in business, we want you to know as much about our repair processes as we do and we’ve got no secrets to hide from the Brazos Valley community. You deserve to be 100% in the know with what’s about to happen at your home.
This article takes you step-by-step through the sights and sounds you will encounter during a mud jacking project to raise and repair your concrete surfaces. That way you know what to expect when Anchor Foundation Repair arrives at your door.
*Fair Warning* yes, this is a long article because we have included everything we thought you might want to know about the process. Some things might have been covered before but we kept it all in for a comprehensive approach.
The Basic Mud Jacking Concept
Just in case you don’t already know this, the basic concept with mud jacking is that holes are strategically drilled into the concrete needing to be raised. Then a liquid-like slurry material is pumped through the holes underneath the concrete to lift it back into position from below.
The slurry material dries into a hard sandstone-like consistency to hold your concrete in its now lifted and correct position. It’s pretty simple.
(BTW the holes do get patched up at the end.)
What To Expect on a Mud Jacking Project with Anchor
Speaking of dirt and stuff, this is the *nitty gritty* on everything we can think of that you might see or hear during your mud jacking project. The idea here is that you’re already booked for this kind of job with Anchor and need to know the details of the experience.
While there is a basic plan in place for raising certain portions of concrete, mud jacking is frankly a bit of an art form. Much of the strategizing and solving takes place on the fly and develops as the team works on your project.
So if you look out the window and see a few guys standing there, they’re not just hanging around. The gears are turning and they are intently concentrating on what’s next and what’s going to work best in an ever-evolving environment. Or they are watching for minuscule movements in the concrete to get it just right.
Every tiny action taken in raising concrete has a cause and effect, and sometimes not the effect we were expecting! It would be nice if we could see through concrete, but since we can’t, we have to take things slow and steady.
So as we attempt to detail *what to expect* keep in mind that it’s hard to pin this process down into clearly defined steps. But we are gonna try for your sake . . .
Steps of the Mud Jacking Process
Most mud jacking jobs will take ½ to one full day to complete. Every once in a while a large project might take two days but that is not the norm for what we typically do. So in a day of mud jacking, you’re going to see these phases of work:
- Orient and Set-Up
- Drilling Holes and Slurry Prep
- Mud Jacking to Raise Concrete
- Repeat Steps 2 & 3 Until the All Concrete is in Position
- Clean Up
I could have just given this as a 3-step process of set-up, work, and clean-up, but that doesn’t seem accurate to me. Steps 2 and 3 happen over and over again as the job progresses.
The team won’t drill all the holes at once. They drill a few holes and do a bit of raising, and then drill a few more and do some more raising. It’s a gradual process.
The idea is to only drill as many holes as are absolutely necessary to lift your concrete where it needs to be. They don’t get all *hole happy* and just start drilling all over. As a homeowner, this seems like something you might appreciate for aesthetic reasons.
Now let’s go into some detail on each of these steps . . .
1. Orient and Set Up for Mud Jacking
At the beginning of the job is when you might want to be available to visit with our team leaders. This could be the Operations Manager – Leo Ochoa, our Project Manager – Luis Tirado, or one of our very capable and experienced Foremen.
Leadership will talk with you about where to set up the work site and if any driveway or walkway access needs to be accommodated. We want you to be able to leave and return to your property when needed.
As the team orients to the property, they first need access to the closest power and water sources. They will need electricity for their drill, and water for mixing slurry. Since the drilling and the raising happen throughout the job, they will need continuous access to the outlet and outside faucet.
Tools to set up include an electric drill, wheelbarrows, a large water barrel, hoses, buckets, shovels, and the hydraulic pumping machine. Supplies will include a pile of topsoil and bags of cement.
A team member will start drilling the first holes while other team members start setting up equipment and mixing slurry. The Project Manager and/or Foreman will be strategizing the logistics of the job.
2. Drilling Holes and Slurry Mixing for Mud Jacking
Everyone is doing different tasks at this stage. Some are drilling, some are working on the slurry mixture, and some are planning.
The holes used for mud jacking are 2 inches in diameter and placed in targeted locations to best lift the sunken concrete. The team will start with 3 to 5 holes in a regular pattern and a consistent distance from the edge of the concrete. This will not be a random polka-dot pattern.
The drill is not super loud, but it’s not the quietest tool either. Probably the best thing to compare its noise level to is a kitchen blender or food processor.
Alternative to Holes
When possible, a better option for you is to dig down under the side of the sunken surface and lift it first with a mechanical jack. Then fill in with slurry from the side instead of drilling holes in the top of the surface. This isn’t always possible, it just depends on the location of the concrete settlement and what surrounds it.
This cosmetically appealing option is fantastic when it’s possible to avoid drilling holes in a surface that you want to be optimally presentable, like your front walkway.
The slurry is made from a mixture of water, topsoil, and Portland Cement blended to the consistency of cookie dough for maximum lifting power. This is the *mud* in mud jacking.
Preparing the slurry mixture is also a bit of an art form. It’s not like there are measuring cups or a recipe to follow with precision. Team members typically aim for a particular consistency over a certain amount of each ingredient. It’s mixed up in a wheelbarrow and then poured into the pumping machine.
3. Mud Jacking to Raise Concrete
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! So far there has been a lot of legwork and preparation and no change in your concrete surface . . . until now. This is when your concrete will actually start moving and you begin to see something happening that feels like progress.
The funny thing is, this step is probably the fastest too. We’ve done all this lengthy and careful prep work and finally, it’s about to pay off.
The slurry is in the hydraulic machine, that looks like a little motorized wagon. The pump sounds like a low-powered lawnmower that’s about to run out of gas. It’s a cute little thing.
A hose and nozzle are attached to the pump. The nozzle is inserted into one of the holes that were drilled into the concrete. The team will slowly pump slurry under the concrete surface, all while watching closely to make sure it’s going smoothly and not raised too far.
You don’t want to overpump and accidentally lift the concrete piece too much, so it’s better to take it slow.
Team members will be manning the pump, prepping more slurry, or watching from various positions to make sure that things are progressing as desired. The Project Manager or Foreman might be planning the next step of the process and thinking through where to drill and pump next.
To the outside observer, it might look like there’s not a lot going on. But everyone’s got their thinking cap on and keeping a close eye on your concrete, I assure you.
4. Repeat Mud Jacking Steps 2 & 3 Until All the Concrete is in Position
As mentioned earlier, steps 2 and 3 repeat over and over until the job is done. The team will move to the next piece of concrete and continue to align the surfaces until they are all in their rightful positions.
Occasionally, an edge of concrete might not be cooperating and overlap with another section. When this happens, the solution is sometimes to slightly saw off the edge of one section to get them to fit together better.
5. Clean Up from Mud Jacking
This is your basic, put everything away phase of the process. We’re cleaning and reloading equipment and supplies, and tidying your property. We will sweep up and rinse off your concrete.
Most importantly for you, we are filling those holes we drilled back in with fresh concrete. You should know that the new circle of concrete filling the hole will be visible and a different color than the original surface. But after time goes by, it will become less noticeable.
If you have a specialized surface treatment, like a pea gravel inlay, we will fill the holes back in with the gravel treatment too. We attempt to match up the gravel look to your original surface. Keep in mind that they don’t make exactly the same gravel stuff they did 40 years ago so we are limited in the *gravel-matching miracle* department.
What Happens After Mud Jacking is Done?
The main question on everyone’s mind after mud jacking is, “When can I walk or drive or put weight on this surface?”
The short answer: You can walk on it right away. You can drive across it within an hour. Wait for 2 to 3 days (or longer if you like) to park and leave a vehicle (or other very heavy things) sitting on your newly raised concrete surface.
The new slurry supporting your concrete dries fairly quickly so there is not a lot of downtime for its use after the repair. A quick one-day repair and you’re back to using your concrete soon after.
A speedy-reuse turnaround time is one of the advantages of raising sunken concrete with mud jacking vs. fully replacing it with a new section. Removing and replacing with new concrete takes considerable time, a lot more mess, and longer wait times for returning to use.
Does Anchor Have a Warranty for Mud Jacking?
Now that you know all about what will happen during your mud jacking job, you might be thinking about the warranty. This info is contained in your contract, but we offer a 5-year guarantee. If further settling occurs in your mud jacked concrete within 5 years, we will reraise it at no additional cost to you.
After 5 years, it’s priced as a new project with normal customer costs. But ask us how often we have ever had to redo a mud jacking job . . . it’s very rare.
How Will I Know How The Mud Jacking Project Is Going?
Having any large project done on your home seems like an intimidating process. You really don’t want to stand over the people working on your home to monitor them or evaluate progress. You probably have to work or maybe just want to stay in the AC and out of the way. That’s why we want to make sure you know exactly what is going on.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we certainly understand that it feels a little out of control when someone else is working on your beloved home. We have a solution for this feeling so that you can see progress through both photos and videos of what the crew does on your property each day.
Our premiere BuiderTrend communication system lets homeowners in on the repair process from a comfortable distance. You can see *what’s up* without getting down in the dirt and out in the heat. Here’s an article that gives you all the deets on how BuilderTrend takes care of your needs during a project with Anchor Foundation Repair.