Occasionally someone balks at our minimum job charge of three hundred dollars. I understand, particularly when the concrete slab is very small, for example a small slab just outside a garage man door. They are often just 3×3 but for some reason prone to settling. If you want to DIY, here is what to do.
1. Safety first. That tiny 3×3 slab that is just four inches thick weighs 360lbs! Easily enough to scissor off your finger or at least pin your hand under it. If it’s a bigger slab that much more to be careful of. Wear heavy gloves and eye protection.
2. Tools needed; bottle jack(s) capable of supporting the load anticipated, large mallet or hammer, shovel, a length of 2×4 and gravel.
3. Dig under the edge at the center, or if a larger slab, both edges until you can slide the bottle jack(s) under the slab. For small bottle jacks you will need to dig down about a foot in total depth due to the thickness of the slab and the height of the jack. If it has only settled on one end this is that much easier.
4. Place jacks under the concrete and lift the slab into position. Be careful not to place any part of your body under the slab in any way. Jacks can slip and fail at just the wrong time. Concrete can also break, while rare it does happen.
5. When the slab is in the position desired pack gravel under the slab with a 2×4 packing it by tapping with a hammer or a mallet, continue until the entire void space is filled and packed tightly.
6. Gently lower the jacks, if the slab sinks lower than desired, raise the slab and pack more gravel under the slab. Continue this process until the desired elevation is attained.
If you have a helper and a pry bar you can often forgo the bottle jacks. Just have your helper position the slab with the pry bar and you can pack the gravel under the slab until corrected.
While doable it is a time-consuming process, most of the time our three hundred-dollar minimum seems cheap in comparison.
Give us a call today, let the concrete raising professionals take care of your settled concrete,
Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.
How much does Slabjacking, mudjacking, Polylevel concrete leveling cost?
Occasionally we are asked about doing a very small job, for example off a garage man door, often these are very small 3×3 slabs. Or we asked about our “minimum” job charge.
We have a $500 minimum job charge. $500 will raise one hundred fifty square feet, a 15×10 slab, settled one inch.
Why do we have a minimum? Unlike some professions such as lawn maintenance companies where labor is their primary expense ours is the equipment, mobilization related costs and material. Our new truck in Spokane for example represents close to a hundred thousand dollar investment. Anything much below $500 is simply not profitable.
If you have one of these small jobs we ask, “is it worth $500 to you to have this repaired”? If so we are happy to do it for you. If not, some slabs can be raised by the homeowner if the slab is accessible and if certain tools are available. Look for my blog “do it yourself concrete raising” But remember even a very small slab like the one mentioned above, just 3x3x4″ will weigh 360lbs, you must be very careful if attempting DIY concrete leveling.
For concrete leveling done right call the professionals today,
I’ve written a few blogs in the past about repairing cracks in concrete, today I’d like to dig a little deeper and explain what product to use in a given situation and why.
While we provide concrete crack repair services and are happy to do so, these are jobs that many folks with time and patience can do to save money.
If you have used a product you feel good (or not) about feel free to leave a comment. This by no means is meant to be an exhaustive list of the products available, there just too many to review in a blog.
The one thing I wouldn’t use in any moving joint is concrete mortar. As soon as the joint moves it will crack and begin to deteriorate. Mortar is just fine for patching a rock pop or a missing chunk but not in a control joint or a crack. (accidental control joint)
Far and away the best way to stabilize a crack in concrete from movement is to “bridge” the underside of the crack with Geo-polymer foam. This is accomplished by making injections in a “stitch” pattern along the entire crack line. Then the crack can be repaired with confidence the repair will last.
OK, here they are –
FlexiblePolyurethanes – for most exterior cracks flexible polyurethane caulking works just fine. In this line are fairly inexpensive products available at the big home improvement stores or the local hardware stores as well as some really good commercial grade products. We have used products from all three and have found them sufficient if not always long-lasting solutions. Also available from Quickrete is a liquid caulk in a squeeze bottle, bluntly put don’t waste your money on it. The solids settle to the bottom of the bottle and no amount of shaking seemed sufficient to break them down which resulted in clogs followed by an ejection of the material. Our current”go to” product is Masterseal SL1. Formerly Sonolastic brand, Masterseal is a superior commercial grade polyurethane. It adheres much better to concrete than the box store products yet maintains flexibility in a wide range of temperatures. The “SL” stands for self leveling so it is used for level or nearly level joints and cracks. (Not 45 degree angles) Masterseal also has products suited for sloped or vertical sealing if needed. (NP1) The average cost for DIY’er with this method is between $.50-2 a linear foot. Because this is a self leveling product you will need to fill wide or deep cracks with foam backer rod to reduce usage and waste. Masterseal sells a non off-gassing foam rope in two diameters that reduces bubbling of the material even if the rope is punctured.
Rigid Polyurethanes – these two-part systems are used for filling and structurally repairing interior cracks. Because they yellow when exposed to ultra violet radiation they are not good candidates for exterior cracks unless they are topped with another non yellowing material such as self leveling polyurethane caulking or Polyurea. This method is much more time-consuming and costly and some of the brands can only be purchased by licensed contractors. These materials are first injected into the crack allowing the material to absorb into the concrete which is followed by filling the crack with structural sand (silica) which is then saturated with more of the polymer. The material generates a thermal reaction so it sets in about ten minutes. When hard, the excess can be ground off with a finishing stone or a small hand grinder. Excellent for garages and other interior concrete the cost for a DIY’er is between $2-7+ a linear foot. Unlike Polyurethane caulking where you can greatly reduce product usage with the addition of foam backer rod, the ridged Polyurethane systems are designed to fill and adhere to the concrete top to bottom and completely saturate the sand filler in order to “weld” the joint back together. As a result the width and depth of the crack play a major role in how much material you will need.
Rigid epoxies – these two-part systems are in many ways comparable to the two-part Polyurethane systems spoken about in the preceding paragraph. They are applied the same way, both use Silica sand as a filler and both are finished with a stone or grinder. Epoxy can be used both indoor and out without concern with yellowing. So why would one choose a two-part Polyurethane over a two-part Epoxy? Both set up to about 4000psi, basically the same as concrete. The advantage that Polyurethane has its retention of a degree of flexibility which allows it to better adhere without developing a crack along the repair. Epoxy is brittle in comparison. Cost for the DIY’er is about the same as the two-part Polyurethane $2-7+ a linear foot.
With either the Polyurethane or the Epoxy repair any movement of the slabs along the crack line will crack the repair. Geo-polymer Slabjacking with the intent to bridge the crack greatly aids in stabilizing the crack.
Polyurea – another product to consider is polyurea, this is the same stuff they spray on pickup truck beds. It is extremely durable and also comes as a two-part system. The material is injected into the crack, if the crack is deep or wide I recommend a filler of some type as it is fairly thin, foam rope works well and sand can also work as long as you allow enough room for the material to adhere to the sides of the crack. Thermally activated this product sets up fairly quickly depending on the weather, ten to thirty minutes and according to the directions only an hour to drive on it. We have been very pleased with this product with one exception, the first little squirt needs to be purged into a waste container and as a precaution the last little bit of the set not used too. We have had some small areas not cure due to off ratio material which needed to be cut out and re-done. If done properly Polyurea hardens to the consistency of a hockey puck, adheres tenaciously and should last years. It comes in grey or black. The cost for a set of material is about $60 and will do between ten and thirty feet, again width and depth of the crack determining the difference. So $2-6 a linear foot, more if you use sand as a filler as it will absorb the material.
In addition to the mentioned products above there are Acrylic caulks, and ready mixed Vinyls that can be used. The ready to use Vinyl is difficult to make look good as it is applied with a putty knife not a caulking gun but it seems to work well on spalled concrete or to bridge gaps or to fill height differentials between slabs, for cracks I would stay away from it especially if appearance is important to you.
These are just a few of the available products available for crack filling and repair that we have used. Here are our top recommendations;
Exterior crack fill – Masterseal SL1 (long lasting crack and joint filler)
Exterior crack repair – Emecole epoxy for concrete repair
Have you seen some of the stained concrete out there? Works of art!
Concrete staining is a great way to freshen up your entry your walks and patio or even your driveway at a fraction the cost of new.
This last summer my wife, after much cajoling convinced me to stain our entry. Let me tell you about the process.
The first step is to choose the color(s) you would like. I chose a dark brown and a lighter beige, but you can use a single color or as many as you wish. I think three would have been the best. A mocha, the beige and perhaps a terra cotta to blend the two extremes.
Start with a good power wash and allow the slab to dry. Once dry apply the first color, you can use a brush, sprayer or roller. I used a sprayer but quickly switched to the roller. After the base color is down and tack free, about two hours, you are ready for the next color. This is where a garden sprayer is magic. Just pump up the sprayer and spritz it over the base coat, don’t go too heavy, about 30% coverage is all you want. Wait about two hours, again until tack free and fill the garden sprayer with the third color, again spraying for about 30% coverage. You are looking for a mottled look that is well blended with a uniformity of mottling. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight at which point two coats of sealer should be applied over the stain.
Concrete staining really wakes up old dingy concrete and even does a decent job of concealing thin cracks. For wider cracks a good concrete epoxy crack filler with silica sand should be used first in order to achieve the best results just remember the patch won’t accept stain very well.
OK, cost. Assuming you have paint supplies, a pressure washer and a garden sprayer, the cost for a gallon of stain is about $40 times three plus sealer. Under $200 will cover about a hundred square feet, maybe more. So call it two dollars a square foot and a day’s labor with plenty of time to drink lemonade between coats.
If my experience was indicative of what to expect, you will get rave reviews from your wife and be considered to have achieved the pinnacle of manliness, if not permanently, temporarily and that’s not too bad either.
All the big home improvement stores and specialty paint stores carry the products you’ll need and are happy to provide helpful tips along with YouTube videos we have all come to count on for repairs of any kind.
So, if your concrete has seen better days get it leveled up then stain away!
Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior results.
One of the frustrating issues with concrete is spalling or the top layer deteriorating. Caused by several factors such as road salt, over finishing the concrete, using too much water in the mix and other issues, spalling typically happens within the first two or three years after the slab was poured.
Once spalling has occurred what can be done? If spalling is purely cosmetic and has not effected the structure of the slab, commercial toppings can be used to approve the appearance of the slab. The large home improvement warehouses have products from Quickrete and Sakrete that are effective at concealing spalled concrete but it is critical to follow the directions for a lasting repair. Pressure washing, patching deep spalls first, applying in the proper temperature window and sealing are important steps if a lasting repair is to be expected.
How much will it cost to do the repair myself? Typical bag concrete costs between two and three dollars. The modified polymer concrete toppings are ten times that amount and will cover roughly fifty square feet if you use two coats of the material which is recommended, so roughly a dollar a square foot.
Why can’t I use concrete resurfacer on cracked concrete? You can, however cracks will immediately show through the overlay unless a structural repair is made. Any movement, even very slight movement along the crack will break the resurfacer along the crack line.
How do I make a “structural repair”? For the “do it yourselfers” epoxies for concrete crack repair are readily available on the internet and are injected into the crack and then filled with silica sand to “weld” the slab back together. Other repairs using concrete mortar or flexible caulking will not work with an overlay because they do not immobilize the crack.
Before any crack repair is made make sure any settle concrete is aligned along the crack line.
While spalling is a frustrating reality in too much concrete, that alone is not reason to replace it, if you are willing to do a little work.
If you are dealing with sunken or settle concrete call the concrete raising professionals at;
Superior technology, Superior polymers, Superior result.