How Much Does Concrete Lifting Cost?
Concrete lifting – also known as mudjacking or slabjacking – is the process of raising up a slab of concrete by pumping some form of fluid underneath. It’s the ideal solution if you have a piece of concrete that has sunk or subsided, and you need it to be lifted up without too much fuss and effort (as would come with digging the concrete out and repouring it).
Whatever type of concrete slab you have – sidewalk, driveway, basement, foundation, or any other type of slab in your home – you may need to invest in concrete lifting. If you do, the below guide will give you a range of prices and figures to work with so that you can decide what the best option is for you. What you’ll almost certainly find, however, is that concrete lifting is most likely less expensive and less invasive than you thought, especially given the work and the forces involved.
How does concrete lifting work?
Concrete lifting works by drilling holes into the concrete slab in the area that needs to be raised. A slurry is then pumped into these holes at very high pressure. The slurry is usually concrete-based but can be based on sand, mud, or even polyurethane foam. The volume and the pressure of the fluid will raise the slab up and then provide a solid base to prevent it from sinking in the future. The results are usually instantaneous. The holes are then filled in so as to be invisible to all but the most dedicated observer.
Overall, you can expect to pay somewhere between $500 and $1,200 for the concrete lifting process. The average cost of the entire project is around $864. Of course, any deviation from the standard job (i.e., if you’re in a high cost of living area, the concrete is difficult to access, or the slab has sunk a great deal) will raise the cost of the work significantly.
The key factors involved in shaping the price are:
The size of the slab in square feet
The amount it needs to be lifted
The cost of living in your area
The materials used in raising the slab
How Much Slurry is Required?
One of the most important things you’ll need to calculate is how much slurry will actually be required. The contractor will work this out too, but you can do the math yourself to get a ballpark figure before embarking on the project.
To do this, simply work out the area of the slab and then multiply it by the average amount that it has subsided.
if you have a 10 foot by 10-foot slab that has subsided by roughly one foot on average (i.e,. at one end it’s sunk two feet and the other it’s still at ground level), you can multiply all these numbers together to get a volume of 100 cubic feet (10 x 10 x 1). This is how much slurry will need to be pumped underneath the concrete to raise it up to the level it should be.
What is the Cost of Not Lifting the Slab?
One of the most important factors to consider when calculating the cost of concrete lifting is the cost of not undertaking the work. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, if you’re budgeting for any home improvement project, you need to factor in the cost of inaction. If you fail to raise the concrete slab that has sunk, you may be on the hook for a significantly bigger bill in the medium or long term. This is particularly true when it comes to the foundation of your home. The cost of repairing foundations can very easily run into the hundreds of thousands.
An alternative action is to simply replace the slab. This involves digging it out and pouring a brand new slab.
Assuming you’re working with a 200 square foot slab, you’ll pay roughly $1,000 for the old one to be removed (and this cost can run far higher). And then you’ll need a brand new one poured, which can run you up a bill of $5,000.
On top of this, you’ll need to wait days for the concrete to dry, and you can use it again. Of course, if the existing slab is too damaged, you may have to have it replaced. Otherwise, both of the above options demonstrate why concrete lifting is an extremely popular option.
Different Types of Material
As the technology of concrete lifting has improved, so has the range of materials that you can use to raise up a concrete slab. Different companies use different products to fill in underneath the concrete (in some cases, the material used is proprietary and used only by the specific company). Of course, this plays a role in determining cost.
Polyjacking refers to the process of using polyurethane foam underneath the slab to lift it. Increasingly, this is becoming the most standard form of concrete lifting because of the speed with which the foam sets, the relative price of the foam, and the fact that polyurethane foam is waterproof, thereby ensuring that the work is enduring.
In addition, the relative strength of poly jacking foam makes it ideally suited to load-bearing slabs, such as those in foundations or basements. Generally, for poly jacking, you can expect to pay somewhere between $5 and $25 per square foot (although this depends on the foam used by the company, so be sure to get a range of quotes).
Sand jacking follows the same principle as poly jacking, although it uses a slurry made up of a sand base – usually dry limestone. This is most commonly used as a tactic in areas with poor-draining soil. A further benefit of sand jacking is that it’s possible to pump the slurry directly underneath the slab rather than drilling holes into the concrete. For sand jacking, you’ll pay between $3 and $7 per square foot.
Slabjacking is the most traditional form of concrete lifting – it involves the use of a concrete slurry underneath the concrete. This can create an extremely long-lasting base on which to rest the slab. Slabjacking is usually the contractor’s option of choice when it comes to driveways and sidewalks in areas with relatively dry soil. The variables involved in building out a quote for this process are outlined in the rest of this guide. However, you can usually expect the final cost to come in somewhere in the range of $3 to $16.50 per square foot.
What Concrete is Being Lifted?
One of the key determinants of price is precisely what type of slab is being lifted. Different slabs of concrete within your home will require different techniques (and, as seen above, different materials). Below are some of the most common concrete lifting jobs, as well as the costs involved.
As mentioned above, if you need to lift your foundation, the cost of not doing the work is far more expensive than the cost of doing it. Generally, for foundation lifting, you’ll pay somewhere between $3 and $6 per square foot. This is if a traditional concrete slurry is used.
For poly jacking a foundation, the cost will be between $6.50 and $16.50 per square foot. This means that a typical 1,500 square foot foundation will cost you \$4,500 to \$9,000 for traditional concrete slurry and \$10,000 to \$25,000 for poly jacking.
Driveways often require lifting because of the weight of the vehicles they are bearing. Trucks and cars place a great deal of pressure on the slab, often causing it to sink. Driveways tend to be roughly the same price as foundations when it comes to cost – $3 to $6 per square foot.
Rarely will you need to poly jack a driveway, and most often, you can use concrete or mud slurry. This may help to keep the overall cost of the project down (although you may need to investigate drainage issues that may have led to the driveway sinking in the first place).
If you have a sidewalk or walkway in your home and the single slabs are starting to sink, then a big determinant of the cost will be whether you have bushes or other foliage that needs to be cleared.
Without any of this, you will pay the standard $3 to $6 per square foot for concrete lifting. If you want to use foam, you’ll pay somewhere between $8 to $18.
If you have problems with your concrete slab, then concrete lifting is by far the best option. If it’s available to you, then you should almost certainly take it. Other options are far more labor-intensive, meaning more disruption for you and, most importantly, a much higher cost. In addition, you should aim to undertake the work as soon as possible. As with most home improvement projects, delaying the work will lead to higher costs and potentially much more damage.