What is Mudjacking?

May 28, 2017

Categories: Business, Foundations

As the foundation experts in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina we know that every residential and commercial foundation challenge is unique and is why our services include a wide range of solutions to fit the needs of each individual structure. After discovering damage such as cracking, sinking, or shifting concrete slabs, many clients initially assume that their foundation will need to be completely replaced. While replacing damaged foundation with newly poured concrete is sometimes the best solution, there are plenty of other options available, including several methods of leveling and supporting an existing foundation.

A level foundation is crucial to the stability and integrity of any structure. Over time, the soil around your home settles, which results in unlevel and could lead to damaging the structural integrity of your homes. For homes with a slab foundation, two general techniques are used: mudjacking and foam leveling.

In this article, we will discuss the mudjacking process, when mudjacking is used, its cost and signs of structural damage that mudjacking may be able to correct.

 What is the Mudjacking Process?

Mudjacking, also known as slabjacking or pressure grouting, is a process that consists of pumping a weight-bearing grout into the spaces underneath settled or damaged concrete, thereby raising and supporting the slab from below. Filling the space beneath the slab lifts it to return to its original position, realigning it with neighboring slabs and resolving unevenness. In the early 1900s, contractors used a combination of soils, sometimes mixed with lime or cement, to fill voids and lift concrete foundations. The use of this muddy substance to lift heavy slabs gave mudjacking its name.

To effectively support the weight of settled concrete during mudjacking, modern foundation repair experts use a cement-based grout that consists primarily of either lime or sand. The contractor drills small holes ― ranging from under an inch to several inches in diameter ― through the concrete slab at the site of the damage or settling. These holes are strategically placed to achieve the greatest amount of lift and support from the grout, which is then injected through the holes into the voids beneath the slab. Once voids are filled, the contractor will continue injecting grout to lift the concrete until the slab is level, and then patch and seal the access holes.

When Is Mudjacking Used in South Carolina?

Settled, uneven concrete can create a tripping hazard, make way for further damage, and even affect the stability of adjoining construction. Once a concrete slab begins to fail, it is important to take action to correct the problem as soon as possible to prevent further damage (and greater expense) in the future. Mudjacking is a much faster and more affordable intervention than ripping out and replacing old concrete slabs with new ones, and it is much less likely to interfere with surrounding structures and terrain.
The mudjacking method is used to correct and support uneven concrete in a wide array of settings ranging from private homes and small businesses to highways and airports. It works well for both small slabs, such as sidewalk panels, and large slabs, such as driveways and patios. There are several factors that may affect whether mudjacking is the best solution for your unique situation. These include:

Location of Damage: Mudjacking is most often used to resolve exterior problems, such as settling or damage to driveways, sidewalks, porches, garage floors, and pool decks, as well as larger infrastructural issues such as damage to roadways. It is less often used to repair foundations inside of buildings, simply because the process can be messy.

Quality of Concrete: Good quality concrete will withstand the physical pressure of being lifted during the mudjacking process. Slabs that are of poor quality, or those that are very thin, may be susceptible to cracking when lifted by the grout, so it’s important to consult with an expert before deciding on the appropriate plan of action.

Quality of Soil: The possibility of future settling also bears on the decision to use mudjacking for concrete repair. If a slab was built on good soil, and/or if future settling is unlikely, mudjacking can be a permanent solution to correct uneven concrete. However, if the slab was constructed over improperly filled land or soil that is subject to constant change (such as soil that expands and contracts significantly with changes in moisture), it may need the added support of new concrete or piers to prevent future settling.

How Much Does Mudjacking Cost in South Carolina?

Compared with concrete replacement, mudjacking is a very affordable solution to many problems. Some costs associated with mudjacking will vary depending on the specifics of the job, such as the amount of materials, personnel, and equipment required to repair a large or small area. In general, though, mudjacking can be one-third to one-half the cost of a complete concrete replacement, as little as $5-15 per square foot. This is partly due to the cost of the heavy equipment and fees required to deliver new concrete to a job site and dispose of old slabs during replacement.

How Do I Know if My Foundation Needs Repair?

A damaged or settling foundation generally shows symptoms throughout the structure it supports. In a residential setting, for example, you may notice small interior signs of damage such as doors or windows that don’t close properly, countertops that have become uneven over time, or molding that pulls away from the wall. Bigger symptoms include cracks in your drywall and floors that are soft, slope, or bounce. Exterior indications of a foundation problem may include cracks in brickwork, gaps around doors or windows, and chimneys that lean. Issues with exterior concrete slabs such as driveways, patios, and sidewalks tend to be even more visible, with obvious unevenness due to sinking or heaving.

The best way to determine the right type of foundation repair for your home or business is to consult the industry expert.CNT Foundations has been solving South Carolina’s residential structural issues for over 15 years, and our contractors skillfully provide the wide range of services needed to find the perfect, permanent solution for your individual needs for foundation repair.