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We feel it is important to take a look at the possible environmental impact of using foam or mud. Obviously the mud itself, being simply a sandy clay and water, has no environmental impact. Mud is safe to handle, transport, spill, get on your clothes, get on your skin, get on your dog, etc. I think you get the picture. Mud cleans up with water and leaves zero environmental problems. The additives sometimes used in the mud are typically lime and Portland cement. Lime is actually a natural product, and Portland cement is basically a combination of clay and lime, again natural. It should be noted that any powdered product such as lime or Portland cement, has warnings regarding the breathing of the powder. Long term exposure to almost any dust can result in health problems, so care should always be taken when handling these products. Additionally, both mudjacking and foam jacking require the use of a concrete patching mixture. Again, this is a powder and must be handled with care. However, none of these powdered products are considered to be environmentally dangerous and all are sold over the counter to the public. Lime is often used heavily in farming to alter the acidity in soils and also in construction to hydrate oversaturated soils. Needless to say, mudjacking materials do not pose any environmental impacts and are safe to be around.


Foam used for concrete lifting is typically polyurethane. So what exactly is polyurethane? Polyurethane is a bi-product of oil. Polyurethane is listed as a hazardous material. When in liquid state, it is a very sticky substance and will stick to almost everything it touches. This is a good thing, if you want it to stay where you put it. Being stuck to the bottom of your concrete prevents it from washing out. However, there are some drawbacks. If the concrete later requires removal and replacement, it will have polyurethane stuck all over the bottom of it. This becomes an issue, because polyurethane, being listed as a hazardous material, must be handled correctly. Concrete that is normally taken to a recycle plant and dumped for free, now cannot be accepted and must be hauled to the landfill, which is far from free. Some questions might be: What chemicals are required to clean up a drip or spill? And how hazardous are they? What if it was to spill on your concrete? or gets on your house? or dog? or you? What are the long-term effects on your health? or your children's health, by having these hazardous materials on your property? Obviously, if your concerned at all about environmental impact, you need to use mudjacking and stay safe.

Environmental Impact

Mudjacking has been around for close to 90 years. Although the equipment has changed, the actual process has remained the same. Because, if it's not broken, then why fix it. Foam has been available for public use for around 20 years. That may seem like long enough to gain credibility. But, it has only recently gained in popularity and been used for concrete lifting purposes. Compressed natural soils have been used throughout the history of mankind and to this day are what supports the majority of all structures. Foam has not been time tested like soil. So, no one can truthfully state that it will last. Having said that, properly installed, both mud and foam have the ability to lift the concrete and both have resistance to washing out. Only time will tell if years of supporting a load will cause a failure in the foam. As for mud, it has already been proven to work.

Longevity

Holes are drilled into the concrete to allow access to the underside. Foam jacking uses 5/8" holes and mudjacking uses 1 5/8" holes. This is because the foam nozzle is much smaller than the mud  nozzle. The size and location of all access holes will vary depending on the specifics of an application. Mudjack access holes are typically between 3 and 4 feet apart. The pressure created by the machine pushing the mud, has the ability to push it over to the next hole, up to 4 feet away. This is evidenced by the mud actually coming out of the next hole. This ensures that all of the voids are filled under the concrete. by obstructing a hole and preventing the mud from escaping, controllable pressure is created. This pressure condenses the mud by forcing the water out of the mixture. As the hydraulic pressure of the mud increases, the fully supported concrete is lifted from beneath. Foam access holes vary by installer. Foam is a chemical reaction of two components and although it will expand, it does not flow. Therefore, we cannot be convinced that enough holes could ever be drilled into a slab to insure that the foam has filled all of the voids. However, We did see an animated video that implied that the foam does in fact fill all of the voids, just like mudjacking does. Our question being, if this were true, why does the foam not come out the adjacent holes, like the mud does? Regardless of method used, all holes are patched.

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Access Holes

This would be where someone uses a concrete filler or topping mix, over top of the existing concrete. The purpose would typically be to eliminate a trip hazard. This is an option we usually see used in low income housing and apartment complexes. Most of what we see has been applied by a maintenance person or such who is not trained in concrete repair. This causes concrete fillers to have a very high failure rate and a very bad reputation.


It should be noted that there are some very quality products available from a variety of manufacturers, that if applied correctly, will last for years. Having said that, I would recommend if you are needing concrete filler for whatever reason, always hire a trained professional who is experienced in concrete repair, fillers and overlays.


The down side of filler is that they are expensive to do correctly. So if there is a large section that requires filling, it may not be cost effective. Additionally, if you're using a filler to even up a trip hazard, then obviously the concrete has moved. Always check to verify ADA compliance prior to making your decision. If you concrete has settled out of ADA compliance, adding filler will not correct the problem. The only way to restore concrete back to its original position would be concrete lifting.


Having clarified that, everything has its place and every situation is unique in some way. Again we would like to clarify that, if you are needing to use any concrete filler, re-leveler, other repair materials and or a concrete overlay, you always hire a trained professional.


​For the record, Mudjack Mania offers a limited amount of filler and other repair related work, only as a part of a concrete lifting project and only to resolve an issue otherwise unresolvable. If you have additional question about fillers, feel free to Contact Us.


Concrete Replacement 

 Many people find themselves with concrete that is not cooperating. It may have some cracks in it and be settling out of level. Possibly, the Bradford Pear tree was planted a little closer than it should have been and the roots have lifted a section up. Over the years, Oklahoma has seen its share of drought. This causes clays to irreversibly shrink and allows concrete to tip undesirably. Additionally, we have been flooded and the overabundance of runoff has washed the soils out from under a lot of concrete. The newest term we have learned is "earthquake." Any time the soil is jiggled enough, something is bound to move. Not to mention frost heave and the damage done by freeze / thaw cycles. You're probably starting to get the picture. Don't get me wrong, concrete is still a great product and has more resistance to damage from all of the above, than than anything else that could be used. What you need to keep in mind is, the ground is always moving, so it would not be realistic to think that your concrete could last forever. Knowing that allows us to move on to the next step in solving the problem.


There are several options to deal with problematic concrete. We will go through them and discuss the pros and cons of each. Prior to making a decision regarding a solution, a person must first make a decision about their own personal expectations. Obviously, if you are a lotto winner, you can afford to replace your concrete twice a year if needed. If this describes you, this decision process may be very simple. That being said, most of us are lucky to afford to replace it once during our lifetime. Most of us have to be realistic about about what is good for us and what will best fit our budget. Basically, I have divided the options into four different categories. Each has its place and each has options of its own. Hopefully, you can find the best option for your situation. Always remember we are available if you have questions.


What are my options?

Is your concrete not all it's cracked up to be?

Common Solutions

We are often asked, why do people offer foam instead of staying with traditional mudjacking? The most probable reasons would be that the entire foam setup fits into a half ton van. It has long hoses and can get into tight places. It does not require a lot of heavy lifting, shoveling, or brute force. Mudjacking requires heavy trucks, heavy trailers, heavy drills, heavy mixers, heavy mudjack machines, large muscles, strong backs and a willingness to work hard, along with the desire to get a job done correctly, without any shortcuts. There is no place for lazy on a mudjacking crew. And, just because the word foam kind of sounds soft, and makes you think of pillows and such, doesn't mean we are saying or implying anything negative. 


Both systems are expensive to purchase. However, the costs associated with trucks, trailers, front end loaders, storage facilities to stockpile materials, etc., actually make the mudjacking investment the highest. Both mudjacking and foam jobs can be completed by a single person, although help is always good on either method. Additionally, the insurance on a half ton van, not needing a DOT number and commercial driver, is considerably less than for someone mudjacking. Plus, the foam installer doesn't have to worry about all that shoveling, heavy lifting, or getting all muddy.


The single largest reason, is that foam seems to be the new fad. Just saying the words "Polyurethane foam lifting", sound so much more impressive than saying  "mudjacking". And, it sure does sound good when they advertise their foam as the "modern method". Keep in mind that there was once an amazing new material called asbestos. It was going to solve the problems of the world. Unfortunately, there were unforeseen factors and it turned out to be not as amazing as they thought. 


Mudjacking has almost 90 years of proven reliability. It is time tested, environmentally safe and simply works. Additionally, it is not only the best option, it is almost always the least expensive option too. Mudjack Mania mudjacking services has the knowledge and equipment to provide you with the best mudjacking experience possible. We are local and provide service to all of Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. We are here when you need us and still here after the sale. So if your concrete is not all it's cracked up to be, we are here to help.​

Final Thoughts

Another important fact to know that affects both foam and mudjacking is something called pyramiding. Pyramiding is best described as a pile of material placed through an access hole, to lift a section of concrete up from a minimum number of locations. An example would be a section of concrete that was low along one edge. Mudjacking access holes would be placed 3 to 4 feet apart and about 2 feet away from the edge. Material with a very low slump rate would be pumped into the access holes and used to lift the concrete back to its original position. This low flow rate material, being resistant to flowing, piles up under the concrete, creating what looks like a small pyramid. This piled material is plenty capable of lifting the concrete and holding it in place until the pressure grouting is completed.


Anytime the pyramiding method is used, the concrete must be pressure grouted to ensure all of the voids are filled. This is accomplished by additional rows of access holes typically offset to the original holes, but can also be in line depending on the project. These additional holes allow flow-able materials to be pumped in under pressure (pressure grouting), to fill all of the voids under the concrete, while the pyramids hold everything up in place. It should be noted that unless specific circumstances require it, Mudjack Mania mudjacking services, typically does not use the pyramiding method, as it increases the risks associated with cracking the customers concrete.


So why are we telling you this? Two reasons. It has come to our attention that some out of town competitors have given slightly lower than normal mudjacking prices and are then only lifting the concrete via pyramiding. This is evident by the job having access holes only along the lifted edge and no additional access holes for pressure grouting. This means although the concrete was lifted, it most like will never stay, because eventually the weight of the concrete will overpower the pyramids. Had they completed the job by by pressure grouting, it would have been full underneath and stayed in place. The sad part is, the pyramids always hold long enough for the check to clear the bank. Then when the problems re-occur, you know how hard it is to to reach an out of town contractor and if you do reach him, he's not in town.


The second reason is that foam by its very nature, is not flow-able and is only capable of creating pyramids. Even if the access holes pattern gives the appearance of fill holes, it's an illusion, because they are all pyramided lift holes. At no point in time did the foam suddenly become flow-able and fill all the voids, no matter what the salesperson said. If you don't believe me then go buy a can of foam and see what happens when you pull the trigger. Nothing but piles and no way to spread it out. Just saying... 

Obviously, if you find yourself here, you're having concrete related issues. Unfortunately, this is becoming a very common problem. There are a lot of reasons concrete has problems and sometimes a problem can be a combination of multiple issues. We feel that the best way to find a good solution, is to first get a better understanding of the problem. The following is provided to allow you to compare different methods of dealing with particular concrete problems. If you need help identifying your concrete problems, you can use the links to review our Helpful Information page and our Identifying Problems page. These will give you some basic concrete knowledge and provide pictures of common problems. As always, we are here to help and are willing to do our best to point you in the right direction. Feel free to Contact Us if you need further assistance. Remember that estimates are always free in Oklahoma City and the surounding area.


​Although we previously discussed the basics of polyurethane foam jacking, like everything else, foam jacking has its uses. It is important to remember that even though many providers of foam jacking, advertise there work as mudjacking, the two applications are not the same. If you are not familiar with mudjacking, please use the link to visit our Mudjacking 101 page. If you are not familiar with foam jacking, an oversimplified description would be for someone to use foam, to basically attempt to do the same process that mudjacking does with mud. Additionally, because both mudjacking and foam jacking both work by injecting material through an access hole, both processes are sometimes referred to as injection leveling. Since these are the two most commonly used methods of lifting concrete, we provide a detailed comparison as follows.

Concrete lifting is basically achieved by one of two methods or a combination of both. The first would be by way of a mechanical lifting device such as a hydraulic "Dek-Twister." The second method would be to drill access holes in the concrete and inject a material capable of lifting the concrete. This second method, sometimes referred to as injection leveling, was originally only performed by mudjacking. If you are unfamiliar with mudjacking, you can use the link to visit our Mudjacking 101 page and read all you ever wanted to know, and possibly more, about mudjacking and and its almost 90 year history. Meanwhile, I have outlined for you the basic methods of lifting concrete. 


Concrete Lifting

Concrete Filler

Concrete Grinding

Your concrete lifting and re-leveling experts

Over the past twenty years, one of the new players to hit the field would be mechanical lifters. Although referred to as mechanical lifters, they are not actually mechanical so much as they are hydraulic. They basically use hydraulic pressure to lift a section of concrete, from an outside edge. Types of Mechanical lifters vary in design, depending on their intended application. Specialty designed lifters, such as hydraulic "Dek-Twisters,"  can actually transfer all of the lifted load weight, to a different location on the concrete, creating downward pressure if needed. This allows an uncooperative section of concrete to not only be lifted, but to be twisted in a specific direction.This is especially useful, when lifting a deck around a vinyl pool, hence the name "Dek-Twister." Other devices such as hydraulic "Tippers" are typically used to pre-tip specific locations to help achieve a desired effect, and hydraulic "Power Shifters" are used to shift a section of concrete sideways back to the desired location. The mechanical lifters by themselves can only raise concrete and are not a solution for filling voids. Typically, concrete that requires the use of mechanical lifters will be pressure grouted to fill all the voids, once the concrete is mechanically lifted into place.


So, basically the mechanical lifters are used in conjunction with mudjacking and pressure grouting. For the record, mudjacking would typically be lifting concrete and pressure grouting would be filling voids. This, of course, is an over-simplification, but will give you the basic idea. 


So, why not use mechanical lifters with foam? The answer is simple. If you push wet mud into a pipe, it will flow out the other end. Proof is that our mudjacking machine can push the mud through over 25 feet of 2 inch hose. This is the same under the concrete. You push the wet mud in one hole and when the void is full, mud comes out another. This proves that the concrete is completely full underneath, but can be stopped prior to building lifting pressure.


Now, let's look at foam.  Polyurethane foam is a combination of chemicals that when mixed together, has a reaction to each other, sort of like vinegar and baking soda.  This reaction is immediate.  For this reason, the two components are in separate hoses until the end of the injection nozzle.  Once the operator pulls the trigger, the two components meet and foam is created.  How much foam?  Good question.  For sure, enough to make a pile and lift concrete.


But, you could never get it to flow through 25 feet of hose, or one foot of hose, for that matter.  Because the material is not flow-able, it could never be used with mechanical lifters.  It would simply pile up and lift the concrete off the mechanical lifters, causing an undesirable conclusion.  However, it is possible, in theory, that a very skilled foam operator could correctly and strategically place his foam to support the mechanically lifted concrete, without over-lifting.  The problem here is that the support the concrete would still have voids underneath and need to be pressure grouted.  For this reason we only recommend the use of mechanical lifters with actual mudjacking and pressure grouting.


As you may have guessed, Mudjack Mania concrete lifting and re-leveling service, has hydraulic "Dek-Twisters", hydraulic "Tippers" and hydraulic "Power Shifters".  Actually, Mudjack Mania, LLC has the only "Dek-Twisters", "Tippers" and "Power Shifters" in Oklahoma.  Mudjack Mania mudjacking service, uses these and other specialized equipment, to help ensure your individual project, has the best possible outcome.  If you have any questions about our "Dek-Twisters", "Twisters", "Power Shifters", or other specialized equipment, don't hesitate to Contact Us.


Mechanical Lifters

If a person is not comfortable owning any cracked or repaired concrete, the answer would obviously be to simply replace the concrete every time it has an issue. This typically would require the demolition and removal of the old concrete, and the setup, placement and finishing of the new concrete. Unfortunately, for several reasons, this is typically not the most realistic option. Concrete replacement can be very disruptive to your landscape, as heavy equipment is typically required. Concrete does not achieve its compressive strength for 28 days, meaning if you're not parked in the street, you're probably damaging the new concrete. Lastly, concrete replacement is very expensive and if not completed properly, the new concrete may cause you as much grief as the old did. People seem to think that just because its new, it wont crack or move. 


Another myth is that all concrete work is the same. Many people attempting to save money use a cheaper bidder. Because the actual finish looks the same to the untrained eye, they typically think they got a bargain until the ground freezes and thaws a few times. 


As a company involved in solving concrete problems, we see more new concrete problems than we do old concrete problems. Mostly, because of poor compaction, improper control and expansion joint installation, and improper finishing techniques. Sadly, you could spend a small fortune and within a few years, be looking at all of the same problems you had to begin with.


This does not mean there are not some quality people out there. We know several who are more than qualified to do a fantastic job for you. However, you will have to pay for what you get, because quality is not cheep. This is a perfect example of the old saying "You get what you pay for." If this is the route you're thinking about taking, I suggest you save up and use the best people available. And just for the record, your old concrete is recyclable and other than the hauling fee, there is no charge to dump it.


Pyramiding (Important and recommended reading)

This is probably the shocker. Because foam is an oil-based product and the material costs are oil price driven, the foam costs are currently at a low. Having said that, even at its lowest cost, the foam is still more expensive to use than mud. When estimating a job, the cost of mudjacking is typically based on the amount of required access holes. The cost of drilling and patching the holes, is the principal factor in establishing a cost. Although the mud itself does cost money, the costs are minimal as dirt itself is inexpensive. When estimating a foam job, the principal factor would be the required amount of foam needed. This is where the problems typically start. Because there is no realistic way to know exactly how much material it will require to fill all of the voids under a section of concrete, the estimator has to have some method that will ensure the job is profitable. Obviously, on some projects, there are huge voids and on others, it is a mystery and sometimes a big surprise. We typically carry a large quantity of materials and because we plan to fill all voids, the quantity of materials used only becomes relevant if it were to exceed the entire load. Any project that would be expected to require additional loads of material would reflect the additional materials in the estimate. Although, on more than one occasion we have been unpleasantly surprised. Having said that, Mudjack Mania concrete lifting services, always stands by our estimates and does not charge our customers additional monies when a project unexpectedly requires additional materials. How can we do this? Because the material itself is inexpensive and since we are local, we do not have far to haul said materials. Also, as previously stated, our prices are primarily based on the quantity of access holes and not the quantity of materials required.


As far as foam goes, foam is very expensive. With the cost of the foam needed being the primary factor in pricing a job, the estimator has to have some means to ensure profitability. Not counting the fact that the foam crew must still drill and patch all the required access holes and even though the holes are smaller, the labor involved is close to, if not identical to drilling and patching mudjacking  holes. As far as the foam material costs go, We see most foam companies charging for the above described labor, then adding for the amount of foam used. Typically, this would show on your estimate as a specific cost per pound of foam. So we ask: what's the total cost? The answer is you wont know until they are finished. 


Another question is: What volume,  in cubic feet, is a pound of foam? We read there can be up to 3 pounds of foam per cubic foot. We have witnessed pricing on customers estimates with foam falling between $10.00 to as much as $20.00 per pound. So lets say your project requires 3 cubic yards of materials to fill all the voids. With Mudjack Mania mudjacking services, this would be included. Lets convert this to foam pounds. A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet, multiplied by 3 cubic yards equals 81 cubic feet. If there are actually 3 pounds of foam per cubic foot, this would translate into 243 pounds of foam. Even at the lower price of $10.00 a pound, you are talking about almost $2500.00 extra dollars out of your pocket. And if the foam cost per pound is more towards the high end, it would not be a good day, or pleasant surprise. 


All of this would be irrelevant, except for the fact that you don't know how much your total foam cost will be until its too late and you owe the money. Why would anyone chance giving an open ticket to a contractor? We highly discourage that practice and that"s why Mudjack Mania mudjacking services, always gives you your total price up front. That way you know exactly how much it will cost and there are never any surprises. 

This is an interesting and ongoing debate. According to a recent article I read, the foam manufacturer was bragging about the compressive strength of their polyurethane foam. They claimed it has a compressive strength of 250 psi. That may sound like a lot. But even the cheapest concrete you can order has a minimum compressive strength of 2000 to 3000 psi. All of these number are good , but the simple question is, will either of these products hold the weight of a concrete slab and whatever is placed upon it, or driven over it? We propose a test to solve this issue once and for all. We would place a pile of our mud on a parking lot, next to anyone's equal size pile of foam. Both will cure and we will drive a loaded 18 wheeler back and forth across our mud and see what happens. The result would be a speed bump. Next, we will use a bicycle to drive over and obliterate the foam. Any more compression strength questions? Truth is, we lift parking lots with our mudjacking machine and they are driving loaded 18 wheeler's across the sections we lifted immediately after we lifted them, without any effect. No one in the foam industry can say this about their products. And, even though you probably won't be driving an 18 wheeler in your driveway, across your patio, or over your sidewalks, wouldn't it be better to be safe than sorry?

Compressive Strength

So, to start the comparison, obviously foam jacking uses a foam and mudjacking uses mud. The foam is usually a polyurethane, but could be any of several variables.  The mud typically consists of a sandy clay soil and water. Portland cement and other additives such as lime are often added depending on the required hydration rate and desired compression strength needed for a particular application. Additionally, the amount of water can be varied to modify the flow rate or the mud, allowing the material to meet a wide range of specifications. We are often ask why we do not pump concrete under the concrete. Although this would seem like the best idea, but in fact would have too much compressive strength to serve as a base material. Later, when the ground freezes, if any heave were to occur, the concrete underneath, would fracture the surface concrete. The idea is to fully support the concrete, without risk of future damage.

Materials

Foam Jacking vs Mudjacking

This is not new, but has recently become popular as several new companies have popped up. Again this is a fix we see used mostly in the low income housing and apartment complexes. We see some of this work that has been performed by maintenance people and some by the many new companies that have popped up. The idea is simple. They simply grind off the concrete that's too high, in both commercial and residential applications. This offers a cheap way to eliminate trip hazards. How cheap? Not cheap enough, when you know all the facts.


So lets say you have a trip hazard on a sidewalk. This means one side has sunk or raised, causing it to be uneven where two sections meet. Needing to save money you have someone grind off the high spots. Problem solved. Not exactly. Chances are that if either side has moved, that portion no longer meets ADA side-slope requirements. The only correct way to solve this type of problem is to lift the concrete. This eliminates the trip hazard, but maintains the side-slope requirements. 


Unfortunately, once the concrete has been ground, the problem can no longer be corrected by lifting, leaving removal and replacement of the concrete as the only option. Simply put, grinding off the trip hazard may leave you with a huge liability and in the long run, be the most expensive available option. Additionally, concrete grinding creates a massive amount of dust containing silica and other highly dangerous components. This does not mean one should never choose grinding. All we are saying is, think clearly about the desired end result before deciding and always use a properly equipped and trained professional.


For the record, Mudjack Mania does offer concrete grinding when no other option will work to solve an issue. We are fully equipped with state of the art hooded grinders that connect to our specialized vacuums specifically designed for concrete grinding. Additionally, we have all of the correct breathing systems and applicable safety equipment required. Care, is and always should be taken, by anyone grinding, to never expose anyone to the hazardous dust created or allow anyone close enough to be injured by flying debris. Grinding should always be done, and only be done, by an experienced and trained professional. If you have any additional questions about grinding, don't hesitate to Contact Us.


  • Land of Dreams2:53

Hopefully this information will help you have a better understanding of your options. Keep in mind that all of the methods discussed have been oversimplified and the actual processes are far more complex than could ever be included within this writing. We are simply attempting to provide you with the basic information needed to make an educated decision. Keeping in mind that every projects unique circumstances dictate the required procedure needed to correct existing issues. Only a trained and experienced professional can verify your individual projects needs. As always, if you have additional questions, or would like us to give you an estimate, don't hesitate to Contact Us anytime.

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