Can you raise and level your own concrete?
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.
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