What You Need to Know About the Warranty for Your Concrete Leveling Project
Updated: Apr 8, 2020
When you purchase a car or appliance, everyone wants to know: “How long will it last?” and “How long is the warranty good for?” After all, almost everything we buy has a warranty to some extent. Primarily these warranties are designed to protect the manufacturer. A warranty creates a defined limit to the liability the manufacturer faces towards the performance of their products. Otherwise, without the warranty terms defined, we would expect the items we purchase to last forever and cover every defect or issue. So what does the warranty specify?
What is Outlined in a Warranty?
When you dissect a warranty it typically outlines the product or work to be performed, length of the warranty and what is covered. So, what does this mean in terms of concrete lifting and leveling? It means, like any other contractor’s warranty, you should read and review it in its entirety, including the fine print. Don’t worry, we will explore each of the components of concrete leveling warranties.
Scope of Work of Concrete Leveling Warranty
In terms of concrete leveling, the warranty itself will not outline the scope of work but rather refer back to the estimate provided. Be sure to review the estimate in detail. The estimate should note the services provided and what areas are to be lifted. Often times, estimates are produced in a software program that can also incorporate pictures taken at the site/space of the area to be addressed.
Length of Concrete Leveling Warranty
Most warranties for concrete leveling services are based on the age of the concrete at the time the services are rendered. The older the concrete, the longer the warranty, whereas, the younger the concrete the shorter warranty period.
Taking a step back, before concrete can be poured, the soil or subgrade, must be
properly prepared. As the soil is moved around to accommodate the new concrete, it is disturbed and compacted into a shape different from it’s original settled position. If the soil is not properly compacted, overtime, the soil will move and shift slightly, which can cause the concrete to sink, potentially create voids beneath the concrete, or create cracks. An industry standard is any concrete over 10 years has already experienced the majority of settling and; therefore, won’t continue to shift and sink unless there are additional outside variables such as flooding, excessive wear and tear, or tree roots, to name a few. Therefore, longer warranty period are issued (10 years is popular and even lifetime warranties are issued) for older concrete because the potential for long term success is much greater.
With this in mind younger concrete (less than ten years) may receive a shorter warranty period, such as two years, as the potential for additional substrate settling is greater than older concrete. If your concrete is settling less than a year after it has been poured, you may want to first check the warranty provided by your concrete contractor that poured your concrete to see if the sinking is included in their warranty.
Keep in mind that since these types of warranties are provided by contractors versus manufacturers the warranty is only as good as the contractor standing behind the warranty.
In this respect, the consumer should not only look at the length of the warranty, but also the contractor’s stability. Are you certain the contractor will be around to fulfill the warranty? This is especially important when factoring in lifetime warranties.
Often times, warranties are used as a marketing ploy, especially lifetime warranties. The first one that comes to my mind is the lifetime warranties offered on roof shingles. Lifetime, really, that can’t really be the case, can it? Often times, after reading the fine print, these types of warranties can be no better than shorter term warranties and don’t really cover more than the typical competitor’s warranty. They are generally pro-rated beyond a certain number of years and, in reality, offer very little coverage beyond the industry standard.
Another point to consider is any ownership changes within the company. Let’s suppose the contractor is around for years, decades even. Is the current owner the one that issued the warranty in the first place? If not, will the new ownership honor the original warranty? With company buy-outs there are tons of legal terms that the consumers never see. There may, or may not, be language that nulls the original warranty based on the change in ownership.
Coverage for Concrete Leveling Warranty
Another component of a concrete leveling warranty is not how long is it covered, but rather, what does the warranty really cover. Most warranties state that any movement greater than ¼” during the term of the warranty will be covered by one additional service application. Keep in mind that doesn’t necessarily mean that the second lift is completely free of charge. Often times, there are qualifications that need met or “fine print” to these warranties requiring “service fees” or limitations to the amount of material that will be covered under the warranty.
Let’s say you jump through all of the hoops and the warranty covers your re-lift. Another component is when will the contractor honor their warranty, meaning, once you place the call to activate the warranty, when will they come back and
address the work?
A reputable contractor understands that one upset customer could offset hundreds of potential customers, so they will return at their earliest convenience. Whereas, other contractors may take their time, which translates into getting there when business from their paying customers starts to slow down.
Longevity and Support of Concrete Leveling Media
Lastly, when comparing estimates for concrete leveling you should consider the longevity of your investment and the quality of the product or service. Although this isn’t expressed in the warranty, you should consider all of your options for your concrete leveling before committing to one service or product.
The concept in lifting and leveling is that the substrate will support the leveling media and the concrete slab will rise. Most substrates measure in the 3-5 pounds per square inch compressive strength range. Concrete lifting media ranges are 30-40 pounds per square inch in compressive strength. Properly dispersed in a large enough area the lifting media will easily lift and level the concrete in question. As long as the substrate does not settle any more the installation will last longer than you need to be concerned with.
A caveat to this is the type of leveling media used; the primary two are mud slurry and polyurethane foam. The components of these two mediums differ and hold up differently. One big difference is that the mud used in mud-jacking, which is composed of topsoil, and cement is prone to the elements of mother nature; specifically, moisture and expanding and contracting due to the freeze/thaw cycles; whereas, polyurethane foam is not impacted by these variables. Because of these components, concrete leveling with mud will typically offer a shorter warranty and polyurethane will offer a longer warranty.
What’s the Best Concrete Leveling Warranty?
In the end, you will be best served by knowing what the warranty is and how it applies to your project. Ultimately your decision on what contractor to work with should be an evaluation or the entire picture, not just the warranty offered. Factors to consider are scope of work, price, contractor’s reputation and product and service offering.
What are your next steps?
Ask your contractor for a copy of their warranty. Here is a copy of JAG Lifting Solutions warranty in our terms and conditions.
Request references or check out reviews of your contractor. At JAG Lifting Solutions we are happy to connect you with someone that we have worked first-hand with on solving a project similar to yours.
Get informed and check out our blog on Mud-Jacking vs. Polyurethane Foam, Which is a Better Option to Lift Concrete?