3 Ways to Repair a Concrete Driveway
Has your driveway seen better days? Concrete driveways, while resilient and low-maintenance, aren’t indestructible. For various reasons, they can become uneven over time. However, they usually don’t need to be replaced. Most of the time, they can be leveled in just a few hours. In this article, we’ll discuss what causes uneven concrete driveways, the best way to repair them, the cost of repair, and more.
What Causes Uneven Concrete Driveways?
Various things can cause uneven concrete driveways, including the following:
- Improper site preparation – Soil needs to be compacted before the driveway is poured. If this isn’t done, pockets of air can form underneath the surface, causing the driveway to shift and become uneven over time.
- Erosion-prone soil – Water can wash away the soil underneath the concrete, causing it to sink or crack in certain areas. This is particularly common if you have erosion-prone soil in an area with heavy rainfall or if your driveway slopes downhill.
- Expansive soil – This type of soil contains a lot of clay which causes it to expand when it gets wet and shrink when it dries out. This creates movement in the ground under the driveway, and can eventually lead to it becoming uneven.
- Invasive tree roots – As trees grow, their roots spread out and can push up against the driveway, causing it to become uneven.
- Drought – If you live in an area prone to drought, the soil can shrink and form voids under the driveway, leading to unevenness.
- Seismic events – Even small quakes can cause the ground to shift and move, which can cause the driveway to become uneven.
3 Ways to Repair an Uneven Concrete Driveway
Polyjacking (also known as “polyurethane foam injection”) is a quick and cost-effective method used to level uneven concrete slabs such as driveways, patios, and sidewalks. The general polyjacking repair process is as follows:
- Remove any debris from the driveway – First, the surface of the uneven driveway is cleaned to remove any debris or loose particles that may interfere with the repair process.
- Drill penny-sized holes into the affected area – Small holes are drilled into the driveway at strategic locations to allow access for the polyurethane foam mixture.
- Inject the polyurethane foam under the slab – Polyurethane foam is then injected into the drilled holes. As the foam mixture is pumped under the driveway, it expands and fills the voids beneath, raising the driveway to its original position.
- Patch the holes – The holes are now patched with a concrete patching material that closely matches the driveway’s color. 15 minutes after the repair is complete, the driveway is ready for use again.
Mudjacking is an older technique used to level uneven concrete slabs. It involves drilling somewhat larger holes into the driveway and then pumping a slurry of soil, sand, and cement into the holes. This mixture fills the voids under the driveway, pushing it back up and making it level again.
While mudjacking has been around for quite some time, it’s not the most popular option these days. Today, polyjacking is the go-to solution for lifting and leveling an uneven concrete driveway.
In most cases, an uneven concrete driveway can be lifted and leveled using either polyjacking or mudjacking. Replacement really only comes in when there’s extensive damage to the driveway. In this case, investing in a new driveway might make more sense. But for most uneven driveways, polyjacking or mudjacking can give you a level surface without the hassle and expense of a complete replacement.
For more information, see Concrete Lifting Foam: Our SettleStop Process.
Which Is Better for Leveling an Uneven Driveway: Polyjacking or Mudjacking?
Unless your driveway is in really bad shape and needs to be replaced, polyjacking is the way to go. Here’s why:
- It’s a faster repair – Most polyjacking jobs take only a few hours to complete, and then the slab is ready for use again. The cement slurry used in mudjacking requires more time to dry and cure.
- It won’t erode – Unlike the slurry used in mudjacking, polyurethane foam won’t wash away, making it a long-term solution that can last for years without the need for additional repairs.
- It’s a clean repair – Working with the cement slurry used in mudjacking is messy.
- It uses smaller holes – The holes required to inject the polyurethane foam under the driveway are smaller than those needed for mudjacking.
Can I Repair My Concrete Driveway as a DIY Project?
Leveling a concrete driveway is not a task you should try to tackle on your own. Leveling concrete slabs such as driveways and sidewalks requires specialized knowledge and training, and it’s best left to the professionals.
Also, there are a number of different factors that can lead to uneven concrete slabs. Without the right experience and know-how, it can be hard to determine what’s causing the problem and how best to fix it.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Concrete Driveway?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here because the total cost will depend on a few factors, including the size of the area that needs repairs. Obviously, the larger the affected area, the more it will cost to fix.
Additionally, how easy it is to access the area can impact the price. If the repair team has to do some major digging or removal work to get to the damaged section of your driveway, then it’ll likely cost more.
Your location also plays a role in determining the cost of repairs. Factors like regional material costs, labor rates, and local regulations can all impact the bottom line. For example, hiring a contractor in one part of the country may be more expensive than it would be in another.
Lastly, the repair method you choose will also impact the price. Polyjacking and mudjacking are more affordable options than replacement. However, if the damage is severe, replacement may be the only viable option.
If you’re concerned about an uneven concrete driveway on your property, contact us today to schedule a free inspection and receive a repair estimate!
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