Concrete Lifting Options The PROs & The CONs

Polyurethane Concrete Raising verses Traditional Mudjacking, how do these two methods match up?  Which one is better?  Will both processes survive the long term market test? Will one surpass the other in popularity?

For all those businesses who are presently using mudjacking to raise settled concrete or for those entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting a concrete raising business, these are monumental questions.  Below I will attempt to apply 36 years experience to assist in predicting the future.

Polyurethane concrete lifting is the new-comer to the arena.  Although it has been a known solution for about 20 years, until recently it was primarily applied to the DOT work to raise concrete streets and highway pavement.  The equipment and polyurethane material was expensive.  Above all the process was previously protected by a patent.

Mudjacking or slabjacking has been around for over 50 years.  The equipment used to perform the work was/is relatively inexpensive, the materials can be obtained locally and it is an easy process to learn. However multiple pieces of equipment are required like paddle mixers, trucks capable of carrying 5 cubic yards of material, front end loaders to load the truck and a yard to store bulk materials. Local availability of material can be inconsistent and two man crews are nearly always essential to perform the work.

Today small business opportunities exist for Polyurethane concrete lifting with the introduction of smaller and affordable trailer units. Basic units sell for under $50K and include all the equipment needed to raise concrete slabs.  In time it is a probable winner over mudjacking because:

  • self contained units can be pulled by a pickup truck that carry the equivalent of 5 cubic yards of material
  • the material is consistently available having been shipped and stored in 55 gallon drums
  • The work is a one person job
  • The business can be run from the home with no yard or facility needed to store materials

Although the cost of mudjacking material usually is less than $20.00 per cubic yard vs. the current average cost of Polyurethane material at $153.00 per cubic yard, the savings in labor, overall equipment needs and storage tilt the analysis to Polyurethane.

Beyond an analysis of the costs of entering the business and hard costs of a contracted service, the look of the end job and the effort to get it done suggests that Polyurethane may outpace the traditional mudjacking/slabjacking approach in growth near term.   Mudjacking usually involves heavy work (shoveling material into a mixer), drilling 1-5/8” holes and moving a pump around the job site. Polyurethane concrete lifting is usually pretty light work.  The poly rig can be brought close to the area being raised and a light weight hose is then used to reach the 5/8” injection holes. There is no mixing or shoveling at all and the best part is that one person (woman or man) can easily handle these jobs while leaving a cleaner looking surface with much less obtrusive hole marks.

MY CONCLUSION – The old stand by mudjacking will fit with contractors who are looking to expand their contracting business or already have some of the needed equipment. The newer polyurethane concrete raising process will fit the entrepreneur who is looking for a business opportunity and does not want to have a physically demanding business or an existing mudjacking contractor who is fed up with hauling dirt.  Both methods have a future and the winners will be the entrepreneurs who enter the trade. In the end there will always be plenty of concrete to lift and it will always be cheaper to raise it vs. replace it.

Ernie Cvetezar is the CEO and Founder of Raiserite-HMI. He is a nationally known expert in the concrete lifting industry with nearly 40 years experience contracting and manufacturing concrete lifting equipment.