Slab Foundation Repair Methods and Fix Cracks in 2022
If there’s one thing you don’t want to hear as a homeowner, it’s that you have problems with your foundation. Some foundation issues are minor and easily fixable yourself, while others are more complex and require a team to fix your slab.
The good news is that if caught early, most foundations can be fixed and brought back to their original condition—or better. We’ve compiled a list of the top slab foundation repair methods so you can know what route to take when problems arise.
Foam or Polyurethane Foam Jacking
Polyurethane foam jacking is one of the most effective ways to repair problems in your sinking or settling foundation. Technicians create a checkerboard pattern over the problem area, then drill holes into your slab, injecting high-density foam under the foundation. Seconds after injection, the foam expands, raising the concrete and filling in empty spots.
This method is typically very cost effective, and it’s quick, making it a favorite of contractors. However, you’ll want to check your plumbing for leaks. Due to the expanding nature of the foam, it can enter into holes in your pipes, solidify inside, and cause serious damage to your already compromised plumbing.
Polyurethane concrete lifting, often known as Poly-Lift or Poly-jacking, involves raising and stabilizing concrete slabs with high-density geo-technical expanding foam. The materials and equipment are comparable to those used in spray foam insulation, but the foam used to raise concrete is far more powerful.
Drilling penny-sized holes is the initial stage in a polyurethane injection repair procedure. Spraying high-density polyurethane foam through the perforations will begin to fill all of the spaces beneath the concrete.
At each inject hole, the foam may extend up to 7 feet. It stabilizes the concrete while also raising it and filling any gaps between it and the earth.
Large, hefty, or delicate concrete slabs are ideally suited for polyurethane concrete lifting. Because of its short drying period, it’s also ideal for concrete that has to return to service quickly, such as highways.
Polyurethane has the advantage of not breaking down over time, unlike “mud” or sand/cement. As a result, the mending is long-lasting.
But that is not all…
Home and business owners have two alternatives for dealing with sagging, sinking, or unlevel concrete: mud-jacking or polyurethane concrete elevating. Here are the distinctions between each approach, as well as some key reasons why polyurethane should not be used to elevate sagging concrete.
When concrete surfaces get older, voids can form between the concrete and the underlying supporting earth. When this happens, the concrete may typically droop, fracture, or crumble when it is subjected to the forces of gravity as well as car and pedestrian activity. Contractors can fix the problem by drilling a hole in the concrete and injecting a filler substance to fill the gaps and raise the concrete surface. Polyurethane or a sand slurry provided through a procedure known as “mud-jacking” are the most popular forms of filler.
Mud-jacking is the process of injecting a natural sand slurry mixture into cavities or unstable regions beneath crumbling concrete. Mud-jacking has traditionally been a particularly successful approach for filling these spaces with material that can sustain significant weight and pressure from above, as this unsupported area is typically filled with pockets of varying densities.
In contrast, polyurethane concrete lifting (PCL) employs identical techniques and instruments to fill underlying voids and provide support to the region underneath the concrete. However, there is one significant distinction between PCL and mud-jacking: After injection, PCL employs a synthetic, man-made foam that swells and hardens.
Mud-jacking, on the other hand, relies on a natural component (mainly water and sand) that is free of potentially dangerous chemicals. This is only one of the many reasons it’s better than PCL, which has a few notable flaws.
5 Reasons Why Polyurethane Concrete Lifting Isn’t a Good Idea
It endangers people and the environment.
Polyurethane injections may include potentially hazardous compounds that endanger individuals and the environment. Mud-jacking, on the other hand, employs an ecologically benign sand slurry that does not pollute the soil or endanger workers or residents.
It’s not perfect
While polyurethane is frequently praised for its ability to raise concrete, it does have several drawbacks, the most significant of which being the absence of full cavity filling. It will often leave unfilled spaces beneath the building, which may lead to more sinking or collapse over time.
This isn’t to say that polyurethane injections can’t be used to raise and maintain unlevel concrete slabs in some situations. Spray foam injections, for example, can be useful when it’s more vital to keep using a deteriorating concrete surface than to totally cover every underlying void. However, if long-term durability is a requirement, polyurethane should not be your first choice.
It does not provide long-term stability
Mudjacking nearly always outperforms polyurethane foam injections in terms of long-term concrete stability and support. Mudjacking gives improved long-term durability and support for the concrete since more gaps are filled with a natural sand slurry, which does not harden over time like polyurethane.
It isn’t as strong as it should be
Polyurethane has a compressive strength of 80 to 100 pounds per square inch. In many cases, it’s desirable to pump in a material with a higher compressive strength than the current sub-base. By adding cement or mixing cement with sand or lime, traditional mud jacking may generate incredible compressive strengths of up to 2,400 PSI.
It is more expensive
Polyurethane concrete elevating might cost four or five times as much as mudjacking in some cases. This is mostly due to the higher cost of the materials. PCL is expected to cost $2,500 to $3,000, whereas mudjacking is likely to cost a few hundred dollars.
Although there are several advantages to employing polyurethane foam injections to achieve the same purpose, there are typically more advantages to using traditional mudjacking. There are several factors to consider when it comes to efficiently elevating and stabilizing concrete, including safety and long-term durability. For most residential and commercial concrete surfaces, this is why so many qualified specialists prefer mudjacking over PCL.
Masonry Patches and Sealants
This method of repair is ideal if you have cracks in your foundation due to shrinkage. Shrinking foundations are not a cause for alarm. Cracks associated with shrinkage usually occur in the corners of your foundations. Though they aren’t severe structural issues, they do need to be remedied before further damage occurs.
Usually, patches and sealants are found in the form of hydraulic cement. Similar to mortar, it sets extremely fast and hardens after mixed, stopping water and leaks in your foundation.
An epoxy sealant is similar to a hydraulic cement sealant, but it goes a few steps further. You opt for epoxy resins when you have more severe foundational cracking. Epoxy can be in either pourable or injectable form, allowing you to choose the method of application that works best for your specific situation.
If your foundation is sinking, there’s a chance that the concrete was poured on dirt that wasn’t compacted correctly before construction. While that’s unfortunate for a homeowner, it can be remedied with slabjacking, also known as mudjacking.
In slabjacking, your contractor drills holes into your slab. They then fill those holes with a grout-like mixture which then raises the concrete to the desired height. This method of foundation repair only takes a few hours, can be done in almost any weather, there’s no disruption to your landscaping, and nothing needs to be moved off the concrete.
Step 1. Drilling Holes
The first step is to drill a series of 2-inch holes into the concrete surface. Typically, the holes will be strategically positioned in order to raise the concrete piece as much as possible.
It is usually more than one hole; a respectable average is three to five holes. They’d be spaced evenly or regularly in a pattern or at a constant distance from the concrete’s edge by the repair staff. This isn’t going to be a haphazard polka dot pattern.
Step 2. Lifting with Slurry
After that, a nozzle is put into the holes, and a liquid-like material is injected through the holes to the ground beneath the concrete, lifting the surface up from beneath.
The mud isn’t really mud, but something similar to it that isn’t quite as sticky. Slurry is the term used in the construction industry to describe a liquid-like fluid.
Slurry is a fluid made up of Portland Cement, dirt, and water that may be pushed through a hose. Slurry not only lifts the concrete surface from below, but it also fills in all the holes and pockets of space in the earth beneath the surface, then hardens for strong support when dry.
Step 3: Add the Final Touches
After the slurry has been injected beneath all of the concrete portions that need to be raised, the work crew will double-check that everything is in place and that the slope has returned to its previous state. The 2-inch holes bored into the concrete will be filled up and leveled.
Unfortunately, the rings of fresh concrete left behind by this restoration will be visible. As dirt, weather, and water come into touch with the surface, they fade and become less noticeable.
There are many different types of piers and pilings that are used for foundation repairs. These methods are more invasive than those mentioned above, but they also provide more long-term solutions and do a better job of restoring your foundation than other options on the table. Below are a few pier and piling approaches to address your foundation issues.
Steel piers are fantastic solutions for permanent foundation repair. They’re incredibly strong and can be drilled 100 feet into the ground, offering long-lasting and trustworthy stability that you’d be hard-pressed finding anywhere else. Steel piers can—and should—be driven down into the bedrock. This prevents any shifting that might occur in soils closer to the surface of the ground.
4 BENEFITS OF STEEL PIER FOUNDATION REPAIR
Steel Piers Give You More Structural Support
The supply of improved structural strength is the first and most essential advantage of steel pier foundation restoration. The depth of the piers determines the foundation and building project’s strength and dependability. Steel piers, in general, go deeper than any other form of pier. Steel piers may be inserted up to 50 feet into the earth, despite the fact that the normal insertion depth is 20-25 feet. This is especially important for tall structures that require a much stronger foundation. When it comes to installing steel piers, however, a number of factors, including the kind of soil, might impact the average depth.
Concrete piers, on the other hand, are weaker and can only penetrate 10-12 feet into the load-bearing bedrock. As a result, they are less dependable than steel piers, especially when it comes to skyscraper construction.
Steel piers are dependable and safe.
A foundation restoration using steel piers reduces the need for additional labor. Steel piers are unyielding, trustworthy, consistent, and lasting, in addition to being solid and without any loose components or shims. Steel piers, unlike any other choice, provide a lasting foundation rehabilitation solution due to these characteristics. Although it may be a lengthy process, other types of piers, such as concrete, would undoubtedly deteriorate over time, implying that the solution provided will not last very long. Steel piers are strong, durable, dependable, and consistent, so you don’t have to worry about any potential points of failure while building your foundation.
Steel Piers Are a Budget-Friendly Option
Another significant distinction between steel and concrete piers is price. Steel piers are, in fact, more costly and more difficult to engineer than their concrete-based equivalents. Steel piers, on the other hand, are more stronger, more solid, and long-lasting, all of which contribute to the fact that you will not require any additional repairs if you pick this choice. As a result, despite having a greater initial cost, steel piers can be far more cost-effective in the long term than concrete piers.
Steel piers have been in use for at least 50 years when it comes to foundation repairs. The reason for this constancy is that most businesses in the building and repair sector regard steel piers to be preferable to concrete piers, particularly in the rehabilitation of a failing foundation. Steel piers are advised for any subsequent repairs because to the long-term financial implications. If your concrete foundation begins to deteriorate, steel piers are a good option since they reduce, if not eliminate, the chance of future foundation repair needs.
Steel piers are quick and easy to install.
Because steel piers are hydraulically pushed into the earth, the process of putting them into the load-bearing bedrock is typically rapid and simple. Steel pier foundation rehabilitation is also environmentally benign and less intrusive because no significant excavations are required. Steel piers produce less disruption to the landscape and are thus less harmful to flora and animals than those that need significant excavation.
As you can gather from their name of this foundation repair method, helical piers are steel piers with spiral-shaped heads that are screwed into the ground. These piers are a good option when the soil beneath your foundation is difficult to penetrate with conventional piers and pilings. They are spaced strategically under your slab and are bored into the earth until they’re stable, providing a place for your foundation to rest.
If you have a lighter foundation that needs attention, spot piers are a perfect choice. A spot pier is a shallow hole dug beneath your foundation and filled with concrete. This option is ideal for porches, sheds, or any other structure that has a smaller, and therefore lighter, foundational load.
This method of foundation repair might seem a little out of place on this list, but water management is crucial to both foundation repair and prevention of further problems. Next to soil stabilization, poor or nonexistent water management is the leading cause of foundation problems among homeowners.
Your slab foundation is like a sponge. And when your slab gets wet, then dry, then wet, it compromises the integrity of your foundation, causing breakage, shifting, and other issues that will cost you a lot of time and money. For this reason, it’s crucial that you implement an effective water management plan for your building. This includes damp-proofing, water pumps, and insulation in crawl spaces, to name a few practices.
Proper water management techniques are not only necessary once you’ve repaired a broken foundation, but they’re crucial for preventing foundation damage in the first place.
As frightening as foundation issues are, knowing exactly what you’re up against is reassuring. Don’t dismiss your worries, even if you believe they’re too little for a contractor to look into.
You’ll have piece of mind if that crack you’ve been gazing at for weeks isn’t truly something to be concerned about. Your foundation repair contractor will devise a solution if it is a symptom of a problem. The ultimate result will be beneficial in any case.
When your slab is also on the line, you want to deal with those issues as soon as as and in the most cost-effective way possible. Following the procedures outlined above, you can see how foundation repair is approached by contractors. For long-lasting slab repairs, you’ll need to choose a professional that knows which procedure would work best for your foundation.
Questions To Ask
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Pier and beam foundation repair methods
foundation stabilization methods VS foundation repair methods
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