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Mud-Jacking vs. Foam Polyurethane, Which is a Better Option to Lift Concrete?

Updated: Jun 5

As a whole, concrete is heavy and depending on the substrate, weather and other conditions, overtime concrete begins to sink. Whether it's a sunken sidewalk, driveway or porch, when you've reached your limit, it doesn't matter what the solution is, you just need one! Before you pull the trigger on what to do, keep in mind there are several alternatives to your concrete repairs. Replacing your concrete is probably top of mind; however, concrete lifting is a cost-effective alternative with many benefits. There are two concrete lifting options: Mud-Jacking and Foam Polyurethane Concrete Lifting.

Both mud-jacking and spray foam polyurethane

have a similar simple process; yet, use two different materials to get the job done.


Here's a quick overview of the process.

Step 1: Drill - Holes are drilled into your concrete.

Step 2: Pump - Product is pumped beneath your concrete until the concrete is level.

Step 3: Patch - Drill holes are patched.


What is Mud-Jacking?

The earliest forms of mud-jacking date back to the 1930's, making it the first on the scene for leveling concrete. For mud-jacking, the product used is a mixture of water, mud and cement which is slowly pumped below the surface of your concrete.


What is Foam Polyurethane Concrete Lifting?

Although the technique is identical to mud-jacking, polyurethane foam, rather than mud is injected below your concrete. Developed in the 1960's, foam polyurethane has a variety of applications across multiple industries. From insulation, to roofing to various household items, spray foam has truly evolved over the years. With many advantages over mud-jacking, foam is by far the superior solution to concrete lifting.

Advantages of Polyurethane Foam over Mud-Jacking

Here are just a few of the advantages to using foam polyurethane rather than mud-jacking for your sunken concrete:


  • Waterproof

  • Strong and Lightweight

  • Durable

  • Fast Installation

  • Light Disruption

  • Customized Solutions


Waterproof

The polyurethane used in concrete lifting and leveling is hydrophobic. This means that the foam will react and develop the proper physical properties even in the presence of moisture where “mud” could be watered down and not perform as intended.


In certain applications the polyurethane foam can aid in the waterproofing of the foundation wall or other surfaces that have experienced soil erosion.


Strong and Lightweight

The polyurethane foam is extremely strong while

being very light weight. In fact, the of the polyurethane foam is 30-50 psi compared to the compressive strength of most substrates around 3-5 psi. In addition, the weight of the polyurethane foam is 2.5 – 4.0 pounds per cubic foot compared to “mud” which is on average 100 pounds per cubic foot.


This creates numerous advantages including the limited amount of weight or pressure that would be installed adjacent to a foundation which could cause additional structural concerns and to amount of weight that is installed over the original substrate. Too much additional weight on an already unstable substrate could lead to additional settling, making the situation even worse.


Durable

Once polyurethane foam reacts and cures (within minutes) it becomes an inert plastic that will not deteriorate, remaining stable for decades. “Mud” solutions can breakdown overtime, especially in the presence of moisture.


If the substrate that the foam is applied to remains stable, the application will not breakdown.


Fast Installation

With foam polyurethane, most projects are completed within a few hours and can be used within 15 minutes of the application. Whereas, mud-jacking can take between 24 - 75 hours to cure before using.


Light Disruption

Concrete lifting requires small holes be drilled into the existing concrete. The holes drilled for traditional mud-jacking are between 1 inch and 1 5/8 inches. On the other hand, the holes that are drilled for spray foam are the size of a dime and are quickly patched leaving a virtually undisturbed appearance. Overall, since spray foam spreads easier and quicker, less holes need to be drilled.


The foam application is very clean compared to using “mud” which generates a lot of mess and cleanup. With spray foam, there is no need for a wash down to combat the mud splatter, which occurs during the mud-jacking process.


Customized Solutions

Polyurethane foam comes in numerous densities (or formulations) to address the specific conditions that need correcting. The lower density materials can be used for residential applications where higher density foams may be used in heavy traffic areas like airport runways or industrial floors that have heavy forklift traffic. Hydrophobic formulations will be used in seawall or high-water content applications.


So, if you're considering having your concrete lifted and leveled you can see where polyurethane foam is the superior solution. Polyurethane foam can remove your liability of trip hazards, increase the appearance of your property and offer the most stress free option to your concrete lifting needs.


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