Types of Concrete Leveling: Comparing Foam, Grout, and Mudjacking

Sarah Etler

Sarah Etler joined A-1 Concrete Leveling after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Kentucky University. As A-1's Content Marketing Manager, she works closely with industry experts to produce content that will best answer questions related to concrete repair and maintenance practices. Sarah loves living a life full of discovery and is excited every day to see what new things she can learn and share with those around her.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Discover the differences between foam concrete leveling, stone slurry grout concrete leveling, and mudjacking.

Considering concrete leveling to lift the sunken concrete slabs around your home or business but not quite sure which method to go with? 

Our goal with this article is to provide you with all of the information you need to decide between the three professional concrete leveling processes: stone slurry grout concrete leveling, polyurethane foam concrete leveling, and mudjacking.

Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling, we specialize in both the stone slurry grout and polyurethane foam concrete leveling processes, and while we don’t perform mudjacking, we know quite a bit about it after 30+ years in the concrete repair and maintenance industry.

In order to help you decide between the concrete leveling options available to you, we’ve created this guide that will compare each one and explain how to choose the right process for your project.

Concrete Leveling Methods Overview

 

Stone Slurry Grout

Polyurethane Foam

Mudjacking
Cost Mid Highest Lowest
Strength Highest Mid Lowest
Leveling Compound Pulverized agricultural limestone + water Chemical expanding polyurethane foam Soil + sand + water
Drill Hole Size 1 inch (quarter) ⅝ inches (dime) 2 inches (soda can)
Wait Time to Use Area Immediately for foot traffic, 24 hours for vehicle traffic Minimum of 1 hour Immediately for foot traffic, 24 hours for vehicle traffic
Stone slurry grout concrete leveling being performed on a sunken concrete porch step

Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling

Stone slurry grout concrete leveling uses all-natural materials to lift settled concrete slabs back up to an even position. 

Key Facts About Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling:

  • Drill holes are ~1 inch in diameter (about the size of a quarter).
  • Leveling compound is a mixture of pulverized limestone, water, and sometimes Portland cement.
  • You can walk on the lifted concrete immediately, but you must keep vehicles off for 24 hours.

How Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling Works

To lift concrete with the stone slurry grout leveling process, technicians drill holes in the affected slabs and slowly pump a stone slurry leveling compound (pulverized agricultural limestone + water) through the holes and beneath the settled slab. 

The leveling compound is a consistency similar to a thick milkshake, and after it fills the void below the slab, it applies the pressure needed to raise the slab.

The slow pumping allows concrete leveling technicians to control and gradually lift the slab back to an even position.

Advantages of Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling

  • Stronger than foam leveling and mudjacking
  • Slow pumping = more control, which allows for more complex repairs
  • Environmentally friendly ingredients
  • Uses locally sourced limestone

Disadvantages of Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling

  • Drill holes are larger than those of foam leveling
  • More expensive option than mudjacking

Related Resource: The Pros & Cons of Stone Slurry Grout Concrete Leveling

When to Lift Settling Concrete With Stone Slurry Grout Leveling

Stone slurry grout leveling is best used for…

  • Most applications (it is great for both interior and exterior lifting)
  • Bigger jobs, as it costs less than foam leveling
  • Places where slow and controlled lifting is important (around pools, porches, A/C unit pads, etc.)
  • Situations where strength is important (weight-bearing posts, places with heavy vehicle traffic, large porches, etc.)
Foam concrete leveling process being performed on an exterior concrete slab

Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling

Polyurethane foam concrete leveling is a newer method of raising concrete, but it’s becoming more and more widely used.

Key Facts About Polyurethane Foam Leveling:

  • Drill holes are ~⅝  inches in diameter (about the size of a dime).
  • Leveling compound is a two-part liquid foam that expands under the concrete slab.
  • The foam cures within 1 hour, so you can use the concrete like normal after the repair is complete.

How Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling Works

The polyurethane foam concrete leveling process starts by drilling small strategic holes (~⅝ inches in diameter) through the sunken slabs. Then, a high-density liquid foam is injected through these holes and beneath the slab. 

As the foam fills the voids, it undergoes a chemical reaction, expanding and putting pressure on the slab, raising it back into a level position. Once the foam hardens, the drill holes are sealed, completing the repair process.

Advantages of Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling

  • Portable leveling units can help reach inaccessible areas 
  • Smallest drill holes of any concrete leveling method
  • Faster injection, potentially leading to quicker repairs

Disadvantages of Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling

  • More expensive materials = higher repair costs
  • Less control of where/how much the foam expands
  • May not fill all voids, leading to a weaker repair
  • Potentially dangerous (melting, explosions during installation) 

Related Resource: The Pros & Cons of Polyurethane Foam Concrete Leveling

When to Lift Settling Concrete With Polyurethane Foam Leveling

Polyurethane foam leveling is best used for…

  • Smaller lifts, due to higher material costs
  • Decorative areas or places where larger drill holes will be a problem
Mudjacking drill hole after being filled

Mudjacking

Mudjacking is commonly used as an overarching term to mean “concrete leveling” in general, but it’s actually only one way to perform concrete leveling.

Key Facts About Mudjacking:

  • Drill holes are ~2 inches in diameter (about the size of a soda can).
  • Leveling compound is a mixture of sand, soil, water, and sometimes Portland cement.
  • You can walk on the lifted concrete immediately, but you must keep vehicles off for 24 hours.

How Mudjacking Works

To lift settled concrete using mudjacking, crew members use a mixture of sand, soil, water, and sometimes Portland cement.

This mixture is pumped through holes drilled through the concrete at a high speed and pressure, which causes the slab to raise back up to a level position. Once the slabs are lifted, the holes are sealed.

Advantages of Mudjacking

  • Can be a strong and long-lasting repair if done correctly
  • Lowest cost of the three options
  • Often performed with a mobile cart, which allows technicians to reach out-of-the-way areas more easily

Disadvantages of Mudjacking

  • High pumping pressure can prevent all voids from being filled, which means a weaker repair
  • Less control over the lifting due to higher speed and pressure
  • Largest drill holes

Related Resource: The Pros & Cons of Mudjacking

When to Lift Settling Concrete With Mudjacking

Mudjacking is best used when…

  • Price is your main concern
  • Your area to be leveled is more than 200-300 feet away from the road or driveway
  • Other options aren’t available to you

Choosing the Right Concrete Leveling Method for You

Each of the concrete leveling methods mentioned in this guide comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so picking which to go with may be tricky. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

Get to Know the Processes

Unfortunately, many companies that provide concrete leveling services may try to sell you on a service that’s not aligned with what your concrete actually needs.

Taking the time to learn about each process will help you get a grasp on which one may be the best fit for your concrete so that you have all the information you need when it comes time to compare estimates. 

Below are some additional resources that go into depth about each concrete leveling process:

Find a Trustworthy Concrete Leveling Company

Having a company you can trust is one of the most important parts of getting a concrete leveling repair. You need to feel confident in the expertise and skills that they bring to your home or business.

Asking the right questions during your estimate, doing diligent research about the company, and reading up on recent reviews can help you get a feel for whether or not you’ll be working with a trustworthy concrete leveler.

Now What?

Now that you’ve gotten to know the three ways of professionally leveling settled concrete, you’re one step closer to safe, even concrete.

If you’re interested in learning more about concrete leveling, A-1’s Concrete Academy is full of resources that cover that topic, and more, in detail. Check out some of these related resources next:

Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling, we only perform stone slurry grout and foam concrete leveling. If you’re interested in seeing what they can do for your concrete, click the link below to request a free onsite estimate!

Sarah Etler

Sarah Etler joined A-1 Concrete Leveling after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Kentucky University. As A-1's Content Marketing Manager, she works closely with industry experts to produce content that will best answer questions related to concrete repair and maintenance practices. Sarah loves living a life full of discovery and is excited every day to see what new things she can learn and share with those around her.