The story below originally appeared in Foundation Supportworks, Inc.'s June newsletter and was written by Mike Fuqua, a technical project manager within FSI. Mike received his B.M.E from the University of Delaware in 2006, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University in 2009 and 2011.
Solutions for fixing broken concrete have not been great for decades. Tearing concrete out and replacing it is the most common way, which is inefficient and disruptive. Mudjacking or slabjacking has been used as well, but with mixed results. This process requires drilling holes in the concrete and using hydraulic pressure to force a slurry under the concrete to lift it.
Mudjacking can only be used in certain circumstances, is messy and often causes damage to adjacent structures. In most cases, it is a short-term solution.
While mudjacking isn't a great solution, the idea of lifting and leveling concrete rather than replacing it is attractive for many reasons.
It is less disruptive and much less expensive than replacement. PolyLevel is a material that can lift and level concrete but does it without the many downfalls of mudjacking. PolyLevel injection for concrete leveling and lifting has been one of the most significant construction breakthroughs in recent years. Quick curing, durable, minimally invasive, environmentally sound - it almost seems too good to be true. It is an expanding polymer that has the strength to lift concrete and keep it there long term.
Because PolyLevel is so much lighter and more easily injected than mud jacking, we often get questions from our customers about how durable PolyLevel can be. In 2006, the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois began running tests on PolyLevel materials and some pretty definitive conclusions. According to the study:
· PolyLevel does not lose strength in dry or wet conditions - even at temperatures reaching 195°F.
· PolyLevel does not lose strength or integrity during freeze and thaw cycles in cold climates.
· PolyLevel doesn't show any breakdown or release of gases when exposed to the equivalent of 1,000 years worth of radiation.
· PolyLevel doesn't biodegrade when exposed to microorganisms.
Even better news: since PolyLevel does not degrade under the slab, there is no need to worry about soil contamination or groundwater with dangerous compounds. Multiple studies have shown that there is no evidence of leaching of any hazardous chemicals that could cause health or environmental problems over the lifecycle of buried polyurethane foam.
What's more, just because PolyLevel doesn't degrade under the slab doesn't mean it's impossible to dispose of properly. It can be recycled or reused in various ways; waste can be used as a filler in other materials. While incinerated, it can enhance fuel-burning efficiencies of municipal solid waste furnaces. And, because it doesn't leach chemicals, disposal in landfills is always a viable option as well.
So, no need to pause on PolyLevel-it is the best long-term solution for slab lifting. With multiple options for disposal and no environmentally harmful chemical leaching, PolyLevel is the ecologically safe solution that will last (more than one) lifetime.
PolyLevel, sometimes referred to as "foam jacking" or "poly jacking," also reduces the need to produce new concrete, making it even more environmentally friendly. Mining of cement, quarry blasting, and other concrete production impacts have a significant environmental impact and can be reduced by fixing existing concrete rather than removing and replacing it.
Other protective measures can be taken to prevent concrete issues. Sealing the surface and joints in concrete, caulking cracks, and ensuring that the soil in the area allows for proper drainage are all ways that concrete can be protected so that the concrete will last longer. Making sure that downspouts don't pour excessive rainwater near the edge of concrete also helps prevent erosion under the concrete.
You can learn more on our concrete repair page, or give us a call today at 800-827-0702 to schedule your free estimate with one of our concrete repair technicians.