mud jacking for concrete leveling

Concrete Leveling: What is Mud Jacking and How Is it Done?

You have some uneven concrete around your home or property that needs to be lifted, leveled, or both. You’ve just become aware of something called mud jacking but since you’ve never heard of it before now, you want to know more about it. What does it mean? How is it done?

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, one of our primary services is mud jacking to raise and level concrete. We can tell you about it because well . . . we do it and have experience with this process having performed it on hundreds of homes in the Bryan, College Station, and surrounding Brazos Valley communities like Caldwell and Madisonville.

This article will go over the basic definition and use for mud jacking in concrete repair. We will also explain the 3-step process a repair contractor would go through to raise and level your uneven concrete surfaces so you know more about it.

General Uses of Mud Jacking (Purpose)

needs concrete repair

Before hearing the exact definition of mud jacking, it might be helpful to understand what it is used for in general.

Do you have concrete surfaces like driveways, patios, porches, steps, or sidewalks around your home that are sunken, misaligned, sloping, or create tripping hazards? Maybe these uneven concrete areas are just kind of ugly and embarrassing and make your home seem “not so nice”? 

You could also have water pooling in certain areas when it rains due to sloping in the wrong direction.

You might think that tearing out all the concrete and starting over is the answer, but it doesn’t have to be. There are actually several methods of concrete repair and mud jacking is one of them.

Many people are not aware of another method that can be used to correct these kinds of problems. It is called mud jacking and it’s basically a way to improve existing concrete surfaces by raising and leveling them rather than replacing them.

What Is Mud Jacking? (Definition)

It’s not a pretty-sounding word, we have seen it spelled mudjacking, mud-jacking, and mud jacking on various industry websites. 

mud jacking is a way to level concrete

So I looked it up and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary frankly says it’s not a word . . . it’s two words.

Mud jacking involves pumping material underneath a sunken concrete surface to lift it back up to its intended elevation. Speaking of those Merriam-Webster guys, here’s exactly what they said on the matter:

mud jacking – noun

Definition of mud jacking: the raising of a pavement or railroad subgrade by means of mud pumped under it through drilled holes

The process is called mud jacking because it’s a bit like jacking up a car from underneath when you have to change a flat tire. The “mud” is not just dirt and water though (it’s something called slurry), which we will explain in the next section about how it gets done.

Mud jacking is a temporary elevation fix for when your concrete surface is still in good shape and worth saving. The concrete still has some good years left, it’s just unlevel.

What Mud Jacking is Not . . .

mud jacking cannot repair this concrete
Not a good candidate for mud jacking

There are some conditions that mud jacking won’t work for, here is the shortlist:

  • Potholes
  • Pool repairs
  • Foundation repairs
  • Concrete surfaces at the “end of life”

The process of mud jacking will not fill in surface holes (like potholes) because the “mud-mixture” is not meant to be a surface material, it works underneath surfaces, not on top of them.

Pool repairs and foundation repairs cannot rely solely on the mud jacking method because of weight and control issues. Pools with water in them are heavy, houses are heavy too. Mud jacking material alone cannot support the weight of these heavier items. Pools also need a more finely controllable material, and slurry is not it.

Mud jacking does not prolong the life of the exposed surface. If the overall concrete area is crumbling and not in decent condition in the first place, mud jacking might not be the best repair choice. 

Eventually, all concrete surfaces will degrade to the point where they need a full replacement and mud jacking will not “revive” a surface like that or “bring it back to life” in that way. That’s when a full replacement is your best choice.

How Mud Jacking Is Done (Process)

holes drilled for mud jacking

To further define mud jacking, it’s best to describe the process. Here’s how it works in three simple steps.

Step 1. Drilling Holes

Drilling a series of 2-inch holes into the concrete surface is the first step. Typically, the holes will be placed in targeted locations to best lift the concrete section.

The mud jacking process will always use more than one hole, three to five holes is a good average. The repair crew would space them evenly or regularly in a pattern or a consistent distance from the edge of the concrete. This will not be a random polka dot pattern.

Step 2. Lifting with Slurry

slurry used in concrete leveling

A nozzle is then inserted into the holes and a liquid-like substance is pumped into the holes through to the ground under the concrete and lifts the surface up from underneath. The mud is actually not mud, but something else sorta like mud but not so sticky. In the construction industry, the liquid-like substance is called slurry.

Slurry is a flowing mix of Portland Cement, topsoil, and water that is combined to form a fluid that can be pumped through a hose. Not only does slurry lift up the concrete surface from underneath, but this substance also fills in all the voids and pockets of space in the ground under the surface, and then hardens when dry for solid support.

We have an article that talks about the many uses of slurry as well if you want to check it out.

Step 3. Finishing Touches

After the slurry is pumped under all the concrete sections needing to be lifted, the work crew will check to make sure things are back into position and have returned to the proper original slope. The 2-inch holes that were drilled into the concrete will be filled back in and leveled off.

concrete raising in Bryan College Station
Leveling complete, ready for clean up

The mud jacking repair team will clean up the work area and leave. You will be left with aligned concrete free from tripping hazards and improper slopes. You should be able to freely walk on your concrete surfaces immediately, but maybe wait 3 days or so before parking on them.

The whole process to raise and level concrete surfaces around a home would usually take one-half to one full day to complete for most average residential mud jacking projects.

What are the Pros and Cons of Mud Jacking?

Pros and Cons of Mud jacking

Now that you know all about what mud jacking means and what it’s for and how it’s done, you might think it sounds just perfect. Well, like any choice you have in life, there are pros and cons to mud jacking too.

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we work hard to provide 100% honest and transparent information about the services we provide. That means presenting not just the pros, but the cons too.

Read about both the strong points and the shortcomings of choosing this process for concrete leveling, check out this pros and cons article on mud jacking next.