Concrete Grinding vs Leveling: Which Is Superior?

Concrete leveling is a commonplace method for repairing a driveway or sidewalk. The procedure may entail one of two techniques: concrete grinding or leveling. What are the differences between concrete grinding and leveling? Each of these methods have their respective advantages, and an evaluation from a professional at Align Foundation Repair will determine which method is appropriate for a residential or commercial job.

Concrete Grinding

Concrete grinding is exactly what its name suggests. A tool is used to grind the concrete surface. This removes the rough outer portion, revealing a smooth surface. Concrete grinding is mainly a cosmetic procedure and is commonly used in areas like home driveways, public sidewalks, and warehouse floors. Concrete grinding is also used when home or business owners wish to install hardwood or tile over the concrete. Concrete grinding in this instance is often a pre-installation requirement to ensure a flat surface.

Other applications for concrete grinding include:

  • Restoration of spalled areas
  • Restoring surfaces too rough for bare feet
  • Removal of old paint, adhesives, and mastics

So, how do you grind material as hard as concrete? Modern grinding equipment include synthetic diamond tools. Depending on the type of concrete, the diamond is sorted according to grit and mesh for producing the desired results.

Leveling

Leveling is also known as mudjacking. The method is employed to raise a concrete that is uneven or settling to the bottom. In the procedure, polyurethane is pumped into the area below the concrete to fill any voids and gaps. In lieu of polyurethane, the process may also include using a slurry mixture of soil, water, and cement.

Regardless of filler type, once the mixture cures and hardens, it raises the concrete so it’s even and flush with the surrounding surface. The process is non-invasive; contrary to popular belief, it does not involve digging up the concrete. The polyurethane or cement mixture filler is injected below the concrete via a drilled hole about one-inch in diameter.

The entire process can be completed in a matter of hours. The hole for pumping the polyurethane is also patched upon completion and completely unnoticeable. Leveling is a common procedure in the Dallas Fort-Worth area due to the porous soil conditions.

We Restore Sinking Concrete

So, concrete grindings vs leveling: which is right for your foundation repair? Call Align Foundation Repair for an inspection. After an initial evaluation, a technician will recommend the best method for your residential or commercial needs. Leveled concrete is integral from both a functional and cosmetic standpoint. No need to debate over which method to use — let a qualified professional from Align Foundation Repair make the determination as part of your free estimate.

Concrete Raising vs. Concrete Replacement

Many homeowners are under the assumption that concrete, due to its rock-hard composition, can last a lifetime. In some instances, this is true. Unfortunately, this is often not the case for concrete driveways and walkways in the Dallas Fort Worth area. The concrete is vulnerable to damage due to the ever-shifting soil conditions beneath. The good news is that solutions are readily available, namely in the form of concrete raising and concrete replacement.

Concrete Raising

Concrete raising goes by other names, such as concrete leveling, slab jacking, and mud jacking. Often, the concrete itself is undamaged and simply settling to the bottom due to expanding and shifting soil. It is not necessary to replace an otherwise good slab of existing concrete. Rather, a cost-effective procedure is to raise the concrete back to its original position.

With concrete raising, a small hole approximately one-inch in diameter is drilled into the slab. A pump is inserted into the hole where some type of filler – usually polyurethane or cement mixture – is pumped into the ground below the concrete. This fills in the gaps underneath; once the filler hardens, this effectively raises the slab so it’s back in alignment with the surrounding concrete.

Concrete Replacement

Concrete replacement may be the only recourse if the concrete sustained damage beyond repair. Typically, a technician will recommend a replacement if there is more than one crack per slab. At this point, the concrete’s structural integrity is severely compromised and may not be able to safely support a foundation or additional weight.

A replacement may also be in order if the concrete has settled more than eight inches beneath ground level. At this stage, the void beneath the slab is too great for slab jacking to restore. If the damage is due to tree root intrusion, then the solution usually also requires concrete replacement.

While a replacement is more expensive than simply raising the concrete, this may be the sole option if the damage or settlement is beyond restoration.

We Raise and Replace Concrete

When it comes to concrete raising vs concrete replacement,  it is not about which method is better, but which is more appropriate to your particular foundation problem. If you see signs of settling or cracks in concrete, then call Align Foundation Repair for an evaluation. As part of your free estimate, we will determine which method is the most cost-effective and best for the given situation.

Should I Level or Replace My Concrete Driveway?

Many homeowners overlook cracked or visibly damaged concrete as nothing more than an eyesore. However, aside from being visually displeasing, the damage or settling can be a trip hazard, not to mention a sign of poor soil conditions beneath. This leaves you with two options. Should you level the concrete or replace it entirely?

Concrete Leveling

Concrete settles due to low soil compaction, which leads to voids within the soil. This arises because of changing weather, which can shift rather abruptly in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. It may also arise from the soil not being properly filled and compacted during the concrete slab’s initial installation.

Concrete leveling is a procedure that fills the void in the soil. This raises the concrete back to its original position and stabilizes it from future settlement or uneven sloping.

To level a concrete driveway, a technician drills a small hole into the concrete slab and pressure-injects a cement slurry or other mixture into the soil. Once the solution cures, it creates a firm and stable surface that prevents future sinking or sloping. The entire process takes no more than a day.

Concrete Replacement

Concrete replacement is the other option. With this method, the entire section of the slab is removed and replaced. While certainly a feasible option, this is often the far more expensive solution due to the additional time, labor, and materials involved. It’s also more invasive as the entire replacement section needs to be cordoned off and exhumed.

Concrete Leveling vs Replacement

There are certainly some instances when replacement is the necessary option. This may be the case if a crack extends from one section of the slab to the other or there is extensive spalling. Another scenario is if there is significant damage due to excessive tree root intrusion.

However, the majority of concrete repairs can be completed via leveling. Plus, concrete leveling leaves a smaller carbon footprint since it requires less machinery and material disposal.

Find the Best Method for Concrete Restoration

Typically, raising a concrete driveway is often the go-to solution because it is simpler and more affordable. Contact Align Foundation Repair for a free evaluation and estimate. Upon an initial inspection, our knowledgeable technician can help you determine the appropriate course of action.

How Do I Keep a Concrete Patio From Sinking and Cracking?

With age, concrete eventually cracks and splits. Is this inevitable, or is there anything homeowners can do on their end to prevent concrete from cracking and sinking? Find out why concrete sinks and what you can do on your end to minimize the odds of damage occurring.

What Causes Concrete to Sink?

Before we talk about prevention, it helps to understand why concrete sinks and slopes in the first place. The cause has to do more with the base the slab was built on rather than the concrete itself. The soil beneath the slab may not have been compacted properly during installation.

Another possibility is that the edges that the slab sits on weren’t properly backfilled or were filled with soft soil and loose aggregates. Over time, this will allow moisture to seep in, leading to soil contraction and expansion.

How to Prevent Concrete from Cracking

The methods below reinforce concrete strength. We recommend professional implementation unless you have a knowledgeable background in slab repair.

One simple method homeowners can do on their end is to make sure their downspouts point at least five feet away from all concrete. Puddling water is bad for concrete. Proper drainage that directs water away is vital, especially during rainy periods.

Prevention methods best left to a professional include sealing gaps between slabs. This is done using a backer rod with silicone caulk or polyurethane as the sealer. If an inspector suspects poor soil compaction, then he may suggest digging out the slab or utilize slab jacking to fill and compact the soil. Tightly compressed soil ensures a stable base, as it eliminates small pockets of air that allows moisture to accumulate. The soil should be compacted at a depth of four to six inches for long-term results.

To summarize, prevention comes down to these three keys: drainage, soil compaction, and sealing. For maximum protection, be sure all three elements are in place. It’s not enough to just implement one or two out of the three and hope for the best.

We Ensure a Solid Concrete Base

Our remediations include slabjacking or mudjacking. We also perform prevention measures. We prevent concrete from sinking by fortifying the base. The Dallas Fort Worth area is known for sandy and loose soil, making prevention all the more necessary. We advise residents to consider prevention to offset a more costly repair or replacement down the road.

How to Fix The Cause of Hairline Cracks in a Concrete Patio

Concrete is ultra-durable, which is why it’s a mainstay in patio walkways. However, it is still vulnerable to damage, which may manifest on the surface in the form of cracks and splits.

Hairline cracks are normal with concrete patios. Find out below how to fix them, and why calling in a professional is always advisable.

What Caused the Crack?

The solution is dependent on the cause of the fracture. With patio concrete, the cause is usually attributed to loose and shifting soil underneath, which causes the concrete to constantly move and eventually settle or slope at an uneven angle. Often, during installation, the concrete is poured on uncompacted soil that is improperly backfilled. Loose soil is especially commonplace in the Dallas Fort Worth area, which is known for clay soil conditions.

Other causes include slab installation without proper expansion joint placement. Drainage issues are another cause. Downspouts may release water directly on the concrete, where it reaches the soil and causes it to expand and contract. When concrete consistently moves, hairline cracks may begin to form, which may expand and cause the slab to completely split apart.

So, what are the repair methods for hairline cracks?

Concrete Raising

Concrete patio raising for hairline cracks is the most viable solution in most instances. Remember, the crack appeared in the first place due to the shifting soil beneath. With concrete raising, filler is pumped into the soil beneath to eliminate gaps and pockets of air. This compacts the soil and prevents future damage. As for existing hairline cracks, they can be resurfaced, restoring the concrete to its original position.

Caulk Sealing

Urethane caulk is a sturdy substance used to patch existing cracks. Even when the caulk dries and hardens, it remains flexible enough to allow the crack to move without causing further damage.

We must point out, though, that this solution only masks the bigger underlying problem; that is, the loose soil beneath. Without concrete raising, caulk sealing is merely a band-aid and a temporary fix. This method should always be a part of a bigger procedure that includes concrete raising.

Epoxy Injection

With this method, the crack is cleaned before epoxy is applied to restore the surface. However, like caulk sealing, this method does not address the soil issue. Even if the surface is repaired, the soil beneath will continue to cause the concrete to shift. More cracks will follow.

We Restore Concrete

Leave it to Align Foundation Repair to repair the cause of hairline cracks in concrete patio. A surface crack is often a sign of a more serious problem and may eventually lead to the concrete settling or sloping. Give us a call if you notice even a seemingly negligible crack forming.

Benefits of Mudjacking

Mudjacking is a time-tested and cost-effective solution for leveling residential and commercial concrete. While it’s not the only option, it’s often the go-to-choice for returning a settling concrete back to its original position. Learn of the benefits of mudjacking and why the method is still in use since its development in the early 1900s.

What Is Mudjacking?

Mudjacking goes by other names, such as slabjacking and concrete lifting. The names all describe the process of raising a settling concrete slab. Over time, concrete may begin to sink due to soil erosion and settling. With mudjacking, a small hole is drilled into the concrete, and a slurry filler is pumped in to fill in the gaps beneath the concrete. This pushes the concrete up until it’s flush with the ground surface.

Mudjacking is a Cost-Effective and Speedy Solution

Mudjacking costs about 60% less than a concrete replacement. The process is also quick and can be completed in one day, usually within one to two hours. Keep in mind, though, that if the concrete slab has existing damage, such as extensive cracks, then an inspector may suggest a replacement. Mudjacking is only applicable if the settling concrete is still in relatively good condition.

Mudjacking Is Non-Invasive

The process does not require any digging or the use of large and noisy machinery. As mentioned, all it requires is the drilling of a small hole, which is about one and a half inch in diameter. The hole is patched after project completion. The job can be completed without disturbing your household or those of surrounding neighbors.

MudJacking Is an Eco-Friendly Option

The filler pumped below the concrete to lift the slab is some form of natural material, such as a slurry mixture of sand, clay, and Portland cement. This reduces materials needed, hence why the procedure is a cost-effective solution. This also means minimal environmental waste especially since the concrete slab itself is not disposed of and replaced.

Reduces On-Premise Injury

Sloping and uneven concrete increases the probability of injury from a trip and fall. As the property owner, you could be liable for bodily injury occurring on your premise. Mudjacking raises the concrete back in place and eliminates the trip hazard.

Let Us Restore Your Concrete

Settling concrete is common in the Dallas and Fort Worth area due to highly clay soil conditions, which leads to shifting of the concrete above. Call Align Foundation Repair if concrete on your property is settling to the bottom and creating an uneven flooring. The advantages of mudjacking are many and is a common concrete restoration procedure.