Which one of these concrete surface problems are you having around your home?
Problem 1: Your driveway is cracked and part of it has sunken down creating a low spot where water pools when it rains. The puddle is right where you park and get in and out of your car. The area where the water sits is starting to stain.
Problem 2: Your sidewalk has tripping hazards because one section of it has fallen from its original alignment with the next section. Several people have tripped on it already.
Problem 3: Your porch is sloping towards one corner, causing the support column to fall away from the overhang. It looks awful right there at your front door, not to mention the fact that the column is no longer holding up the roof over your porch!
In all of these cases, the concrete is in good shape and not crumbling or cracked all over the place. The surfaces have just sunken, tilted, or sloped the wrong way slowly over time. These scenarios are all fixable ones that could be corrected with some type of concrete repair service.
Two common methods of concrete repair that would fix these problems are mud jacking and polyjacking. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been repairing concrete driveways, sidewalks, patios, parking lots, and more for decades in the Bryan/College Station Area.
We’ve done some polyjacking in the past, but are currently only offering mud jacking for concrete repair services. We recognize that there is value in both choices at different times. This article will compare mud jacking and polyjacking by reviewing their basic materials, installation processes, and features, as well as the cost of each repair type.
Part of our mission is to impartially educate and inform Brazos Valley homeowners about the available foundation and concrete repair services and choices in the community. We share this info in a fair and equal manner so that you can decide which one might be right for you.
What is the Same About Both Concrete Repair Types?
Before we start talking about how they are different, let’s go over how the two methods of polyjacking and mud jacking are similar.
Both Repair Methods are Cheaper Than Full Replacement
Sure, you could just break up and remove the whole piece of problem concrete and replace it with newly poured concrete. But that would be the most expensive, time-consuming, and intrusive thing to do. Full replacement of concrete might not even be necessary with this duo of less costly choices on the market. *Enter mud jacking and polyjacking to the rescue*
The first thing that is the same about both of these repair types is that they are better than pouring brand new concrete for a few reasons. Both are less costly, faster, and less of a production than a full replacement. Okay, I guess that’s three things . . .
Both Methods Reuse the Existing Concrete
A related similarity between the two is that they are both less wasteful and more eco-conscious than a full replacement. Each method aims to preserve the concrete rather than “throwing it away” and starting over, creating the need for new materials. Getting rid of a big chunk of concrete will take up space in a landfill somewhere too if they don’t recycle it.
Both mud jacking and polyjacking will reuse what is already there and reduce waste by using methods that keep the original concrete in place.
Both Methods Use a Similar Repair Concept
Another similarity between these two methods is in the name, but really it’s in the concept of how this repair works. Notice the word “jacking” appears in both concrete repair types? *Not a coincidence*
They both use the idea of lifting or moving as if with a jack i.e. to jack up a car to change a flat tire. In both cases, the “jack” is not a metal tool that comes in the trunk of your car, but a material that is pumped underneath the concrete slab that lifts the surface back into position.
So, mud jacking and polyjacking use the same basic principle of lifting from underneath to complete the repair, but this is where the similarities end.
Mud Jacking Overview
Here are some basics about what material is used in mud jacking, the installation process, key features of the method, and estimated costs so that we can begin to make comparisons.
The “mud” in mud jacking is actually not mud but something else, sort of like mud but not so sticky. In the construction industry, the liquid-like substance is called slurry. *Terminology alert* Slurry is not a sweet and frosty treat in a cup, like the kind you get at Sonic® or Dairy Queen®. I know . . . bummer.
The 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 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.
When fully dried and cured in 24 to 48 hours, slurry becomes sandstone-like in texture and strength. It can fall apart when “cut” with a sharp shovel concentrated at one point, but can also withstand heavy loads moving across it and won’t crumble under weight-distributed vertical compression.
Not all slurry is mixed exactly the same between contractors. They will each have different consistencies and strength by using different ratios of the ingredient materials.
A contractor will drill 2-inch holes in strategic locations into the sunken concrete surface and a nozzle is then inserted into the holes. The liquid-like slurry is pumped into the holes through to the ground under the concrete and slowly lifts the surface from underneath. The crew will continually check for the proper elevation of the slab and then patch the hole with concrete when done.
Mud jacking fills open spaces and voids under the concrete surfaces thoroughly by its very nature. Filling the voids completely is what ultimately lifts the section of concrete and creates strength in the cured slurry. The mud jacking material is heavy and strong on its horizontal surface, so it can withstand heavy objects moving across it like cars and trucks.
Mud jacking material is permeable to water and can be subject to erosion BUT due to its weight, compression, and ability to fill voids, it prevents water from getting under the repair surface with these qualities.
Mud jacking is better for larger repair jobs than smaller ones as there is more mobilization work to get the project started. It might take a little longer and a bit more work to get started, but most typical jobs are done in one half to one full day.
Cost of Mud Jacking
Another reason that mud jacking is better for larger repair jobs than smaller ones is because of material costs. Since slurry is made with cement mix, topsoil, and water, it’s not very expensive stuff. Larger jobs will require lots of material for the “jacking” process so it makes sense that lower supply costs would be beneficial.
You probably really want something more “concrete” as far as pricing is concerned. We are here to help with well-placed puns and also the information in this chart outlining approximate costs for basic, average, and extensive mud jacking repair work.
In a nutshell, a basic mud jacking project with one or two concrete panels needing repair would cost around $1,600. An average-sized mud jacking repair falls in the $2,700 range, and an extensive repair that includes the entire driveway could be up to $7,000 or more.
Polyjacking is different from mud jacking in the materials used, the installation process, key features of the method, and of course the cost. This section outlines the basics of polyjacking.
Just a note on the word “polyjacking”– it’s not an official dictionary word but more of an industry inducted term that has many variations that all mean the same thing. Whether it’s called polyjacking, poly jacking, poly-jacking, polyfoam injection, poly leveling, or polyurethane concrete raising: it’s all the same thing.
The “poly” in polyjacking is not the name of a parrot and no, he doesn’t want a cracker. Poly is short for polyurethane, which is short for high-density polyurethane foam, which is not short for anything else. *hallelujah*
Polyurethane foam is used in everyday things like mattresses, furniture, roofing materials, and signs. The type of “poly” used in polyjacking is a rigid foam though, it is not spongy like a mattress. When fully cured in 30 minutes, poly for polyjacking is rigid-feeling more like the styrofoam packaging that comes in boxes of electronics to keep them padded during transit.
Like mud jacking material, it can also be “cut” with a sharp shovel concentrated at one point, and can also withstand heavy loads moving across it and won’t crumble under weight-distributed vertical compression. Polyjacking is frequently used in highway and major roadway repair because of its sustained strength and quick application.
Poly formulas are produced by manufacturers and will be consistent from container to container. Once this material is cured, it is considered to be safe for use in this ground application. It does have some flammable properties though, so maybe no flamethrower games in the driveway, okay?
A contractor will drill ⅝” holes in strategic locations into the sunken concrete surface and a nozzle is then inserted and clamped in place into the holes. The polyfoam is injected into the holes through to the ground under the concrete and slowly lifts the surface up from underneath. The crew will continually check for the proper elevation of the slab and then patch the hole with concrete when done.
Poly by nature stays with itself in a blob and does not fill every nook and cranny separating out into smaller areas. Think of how shaving cream foams when it first comes out of the can and stays kind of together in a shape.
While it is impermeable to water and will last forever because of that, it does not fill up every tiny crevice under a concrete slab so there can still be erosional effects on the soil from any water moving underneath this repair. The foam won’t erode, but the dirt still can.
Polyjacking is very strong and installs and cures quickly. It is great for fine applications where much control is needed to lift a section of concrete with precision, think of the small hole that lets basic school glue out of the bottle vs. a tube of toothpaste.
This method is great for smaller projects because it has super-fast prep time and the work can be handled by just a couple of guys. They can be in and out in a few hours with little mess or cleanup. Another big plus for homeowners is that the size of the holes needed for this process is much smaller than they are for mud jacking.
Cost of Polyjacking
Because it is a proprietary chemical mix of ingredients, the cost is higher than the basic concrete/soil mix of mud jacking. When projects get very large, the costs can exceed comparable mud jacking jobs because of the big difference in materials cost. Polyjacking might save money in labor costs but adds to the expense in materials.
To keep things fair and consistent, here is a chart outlining approximate costs for basic, average, and extensive polyjacking repair work. This chart illustrates how the basic/smaller polyjacking job is more cost-effective than mud jacking. The average job is comparable in price, while the extensive job price exceeds the mud jacking estimates.
To sum up this chart, a smaller polyjacking project would have a starting cost of around $900, the average sized repair would be somewhere around $2,500, and $7,500 would be for a more extensive project.
How much is a full concrete replacement then? Just to know . . .
So far, we know that concrete repair costs can vary depending on the method chosen. Mud jacking and polyjacking are the most popular techniques used in raising concrete flat-work surfaces around your home back to their original position.
The charts in this article show that mud jacking costs range from $1,600 to $7,000 depending on the extent of repairs needed. Polyjacking costs start at around $900 for a basic job up to $7,500 for extensive needs. We mentioned that both of these repair types are more cost-effective than a full replacement of concrete surfaces.
*How cost-effective are we talking then?* Here’s a chart on estimated pricing for removing and fully replacing concrete surfaces presented similarly to the other two repair methods.
You can see that the pricing for full replacements is significantly higher than either of the repair methods we are talking about here, with a base cost of $4,500, average-sized project cost of $7,500, and full driveway replacement cost of $18,000. The cost of full replacement can be around three times as much as mud jacking.
Which one is starting to sound better to you?
Which Concrete Repair Method is Best for Your Home?
Mud jacking and polyjacking each use different materials, installation processes, and have key qualities that make them viable choices. Both are good options if you would like to repair and reuse your concrete surfaces rather than ripping everything out and starting over. Either way, you will save money over a full replacement.
We understand and see the merits of both choices in concrete repair and there are no bad service decisions to be made here but here’s a few guidelines.
For smaller jobs or instances where you are very concerned about the size of the installation holes, polyjacking is the way to go. For more extensive work like whole driveways, or parking lots, mud jacking would be a better option. For medium sized projects, you can’t go wrong with either method, so go with whichever is cheaper or the contractor you like better.
“Both methods are amazing services and fantastic tools to easily, inexpensively, and efficiently restore the evenness and functionality of all your concrete flat-work surfaces. It’s hard to pick sometimes even for me.”Craig Tripp – Anchor Foundation Repair Owner, President, CEO, and Foundation Repair Extraordinaire
We did ultimately pick a side though. We see value in polyjacking, and have tried it out in the past and may try it out again in the future. But for now, the concrete repair method we provide to the community is mud jacking.
Not once have we had to go back out and redo our mud jacking work due to further erosion under the slab. So, we feel confident about what this method can do to prolong the good life of your concrete surfaces and stand by mud jacking’s fine qualities.
Rather than just relying on the estimates presented in this article, would you like to get a formal and firm bid on repairing your driveway or other concrete flat-work surfaces around your home? Please reach out to us using our Contact Form and ask for Mud Jacking services from Anchor Foundation Repair.