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DIY Concrete Raising? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t (Risks and What to Do)

Thanks to the endless resources you find on the internet, virtually anyone can complete a DIY home repair project with the right tools and knowledge.

Nevertheless, one project that we strongly caution against attempting is lifting or raising uneven concrete. 

While mixing and laying concrete is simple enough, you may not be aware of many potential hazards to DIY concrete lifting.

This article will discuss different concerns of DIY concrete raising in Northeast Pennsylvania and offer cost-effective solutions to level concrete that will save you money and provide long-lasting relief. 

What Causes Uneven Concrete?

Several factors can cause loose, cracked, or uneven concrete, but it is most often caused by voids formed beneath the slab. In many cases, this results from soil compaction, which leads to settling over time and voids that form underneath.

In other instances, excessive moisture, humidity, and even tree roots can displace soil beneath the slab and lead to voids. 

Once these voids form, the slab will begin to sink and, in some cases, crack. 

Why You Should Never Raise Concrete Yourself

Many people will attempt to raise concrete themselves to save money or achieve a sense of accomplishment, thinking it to be a fairly straightforward project. You can find virtually any solution to lift concrete yourself, from mudjacking slurries to bottle jacks and even just filling voids with dirt.

However, several issues can arise from using any of these processes.

  • Improper installation can crack the concrete. If you attempt to lift concrete by drilling and pumping in your own mudjacking slurry, you may inadvertently crack the slab and require replacement.
  • Poor support under the slab can lead to safety hazards. Bottle jacks and dirt are not meant to support large slabs of concrete and, as a result, could lead to new void formations or even sinking, which can be a massive tripping hazard.
  • Most DIY solutions are temporary at best. Even the best DIY solutions that incorporate Portland cement, sand, and fly ash to create a mudjacking slurry are only rated to last between 2-5 years and will require replacement at another point. 
  • Unsuccessful DIY attempts cost money and time. One benefit of DIY home repair is the process of learning a new skill. However, since concrete raising is such a specialized skill, most homeowners are better off hiring a professional to raise a slab for as little as a few hundred dollars.  
  • Digging beneath your concrete can be dangerous. Digging beneath concrete and striking unmarked utility lines can be very dangerous and costly and should be avoided. 

Why You Should Avoid Mudjacking

If costs are one of the main reasons you are thinking of avoiding replacing your slab or investing in polyjacking, we should warn you that mudjacking is not a valuable, long-term solution.

Due to the composition of the mudjacking slurry, it is only rated to last up to five years (under ideal circumstances) before your slab will begin to sink or crack again.

Furthermore, mudjacking is also incredibly invasive, requiring large holes and hundreds of pounds of slurry to lift the slab. This could damage underground utilities and ruin the slab’s appearance when all is said and done. 

As one final warning, mudjacking also takes up to 48 hours to cure and requires more labor than polyjacking. 

How Polyjacking Works

When it comes to concrete raising, the longest-lasting and most reliable solution is polyjacking.

Polyjacking works by drilling penny-sized holes into the concrete slab and injecting a polyurethane foam underneath that expands and fills the void. Thanks to the chemical composition of the polyurethane mixture, it’s dense enough to support the concrete slab, while resisting moisture and other intrusions. 

When compared to mudjacking, polyjacking:

  • Lasts Longer: Polyjacking can support slabs for up to 25-100 years.
  • Is Less Intrusive: The holes used to pump the mixture are barely noticeable and easily patched.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Polyjacking uses less materials than mudjacking and lasts longer, eliminating the need to replace the slab or pump more slurry underneath [Learn more: Mudjacking vs. Polyjacking]. 

When tallied up, polyjacking is far more cost-effective than mudjacking, DIY concrete raising, and replacing a slab.

For help with concrete raising in the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area, call the experts at NEPA EnergySmart. With advanced and affordable solutions designed for homeowners, we can repair concrete slabs and sinking foundations for a fraction of the replacement cost.