Friday, June 23rd, 2017 by Jesse Scott
Differences in Material:
Mudjacking material consists of soil, water, and is sometimes mixed with portland cement. This "grout" is then hydraulically pumped beneath the slab to fill the voids and raise the concrete. This grout mixture weighs approximately 150 lbs per cubic foot. So, let's use a hypothetical scenario of a concrete patio which measures 10' x 10' and the slab has only settled 1.5". The volume of material required to raise this section of concrete 1.5" is 0.46 cubic yards using a non-compressive and non-expansive material such as cement grout. For sake of simplicity we'll round this up to 0.50 cubic yards. We know that there are 27 cubic feet in one cubic yard, 0.50 cubic yards would then be equal to 13.5 cubic feet. The total weight of cement grout required to perform this work is a staggering 2,025 lbs. (13.5 ft3 x 150 lb./ft3), slightly over one ton. Considering that the original settlement occurred as a result of collapsing soils, it wouldn't make sense that the remedy to repair it would be to add an additional 2,000+ pounds.
In contrast, PolyLevel slab raising material consists of a high density two part PolyLevel foam and only weighs 2.5 lbs./ft3. Using the same example described in the previous paragraph, 13.5 ft3 of poly material would only add an additional 34 pounds of weight (13.5 ft3 x 2.5 lbs.). The difference in weight is just shy of one TON. Put another way, our PolyLevel material weighs 98% less than the material used by the mudjacking process and achieves a longer lasting result. Because of the ultra-low weight of our high strength material we can essentially say that we can raise the slab without adding more load onto the soil. What this means to the consumer is a significantly reduced likelihood of future settlement and a better end-product, which translates to better value.
As previously stated, mudjacking material is composed of a mixture of soil, water and sometimes portland cement. Many companies only mix soil and water which is how "mud" jacking got its name. Through a process called hydration, the cement and water harden and helps bind the soil into a harder mass. One may incorrectly consider this mixture to essentially be concrete. Unfortunately it lacks a critical element that makes concrete "concrete" and this is the "aggregate" or gravel that is essential to the mixture. These aggregates are really what give concrete its structural strength. Without aggregate, the soil and cement mixture is basically a hardened mud which is still prone to degradation, erosion, and collapse. Another element of potential concern with mudjacking material is the fact that it must be mixed with water in order to make it fluid and able to flow through the pump and hose. In order for this mud mixture to cure the water must evaporate which results in shrinkage. This shrinkage can often result in re-settlement of the concrete slab.
Our structural foam is composed of a two part closed-cell, chemically inert polymer matrix. When these materials mix they chemically react and begin to expand up to 25 times their original volume; this is where the "lifting" ability comes from. This product will not break down over time and will not absorb ground water resulting in a product that will never lose its form or density.
Again, the components of mudjacking "grout" are soil, water, and portland cement. Each of these materials require considerable energy to transport and manufacture, especially portland cement. The average energy input required to make one ton of cement is 4.7 million Btu—the equivalent of about 418 pounds of coal. The U.S. cement industry uses energy equivalent to about 16 million tons of coal every year. To say that portland cement is an energy hog is a gross understatement.
Due to PolyLevel's light weight and expansion ratio, it requires less energy to transport and more work can be performed on location without making multiple trips to re-supply. Our 14-foot enclosed trailer has the carrying capacity to perform work that would require 20 cubic yards of cement grout material; that's the equivalent of two fully loaded concrete trucks. In order to perform this amount of work, a mudjacking trailer would have to return to re-supply ten times.
After the concrete has been raised, the only remaining visible evidence that the slab has been repaired are the holes. Mudjacking requires drilling 1-3/4" holes spaced closely together. These holes are patched after the work has been completed but they will always be noticeable. Our PolyLevel system only requires 5/8" holes to be drilled and we are able to space them much further apart. Once patched it is nearly impossible to see that any work has been done. This is very important to our customers who have invested heavily in decorative concrete and anyone concerned with the appearance of their sidewalks, driveways, and patios.
Yellowstone Structural Systems is proud to offer our PolyLevel slab raising services to Bozeman, Montana and the surrounding regions.
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