Homes that are built upon concrete slabs are susceptible to settlement and upheaval and one of the ways to repair such displacement or prevent it from causing further complications is referred to as mud jacking. Very simply put, mud jacking is the process whereby a concrete slab is raised from beneath. As you can imagine, it is not a simple procedure, but if a home is still in the construction phase, mud jacking is usually more cost-effective than re-pouring an entire slab, (which would also necessitate the re-laying of the home’s pipes and plumbing systems). If mud jacking must be done on an already finished structure, this procedure can prevent further structural damage from occurring.
What Causes Foundation Settlement and Upheaval?
Concrete slab foundations may suffer from settlement and upheaval from a number of factors. In Texas, the main cause of sinking is due to soil conditions, as naturally occurring soil grows more and more compact over time. If a slab was poured on a lot that required the addition of loose “fill” dirt, and that fill was not adequately tamped down and leveled, the soil underneath that slab could eventually settle, causing part or all of that slab to sink. Additionally, soil erosion is a common cause of slab failure, particularly if the soil under the slab consists of sandy loam. If the slab was built on a rise, rain water running down the hill may play a part in causing that sandy loam to erode out from under the slab.
Occasionally, large trees that are planted too close to a home can cause foundation problems. As the trees grow, their roots system may invade the area underneath a slab, which is a problem in particular for aging homes. Over time, sewer lines, particularly those comprised of copper piping common in residential construction, may develop leaks at the joints and connections. These very small leaks provide just enough water to attract very fine, hair-like roots of neighboring trees. As the tree roots find an ample supply of both nutrients and moisture underneath a slab to support the tree’s growth, the tree’s roots are able to grow large enough to literally, over time, heave a slab upwards.
How does Mud Jacking Help?
Mud jacking, also known as “slab jacking” is a technique in which grout is pumped underneath the slab in an attempt to lift the giant slice of sunken concrete back into a more level position. The history of mud jacking goes back over one hundred years when engineers would attempt to force locally acquired soils into position underneath a structure’s foundation in an attempt to re-orient the slab. The earliest slurries used were comprised of available soil, limestone, and concrete, and was a very messy endeavor, hence the term, “mud jacking.”
Today, our engineers have a variety of tools and products at their disposal with which to perform this procedure. In spite of these new developing tools, techniques, and technologies, mud jacking is not the best option for every sunken slab scenario. For example, poor concrete quality may prevent a slab from being lifted. A crumbling foundation may require a more in-depth repair. Additionally, slabs that were not originally poured to code, and are not at least four inches thick, may not be able to bear the pressure involved in the mud jacking process.
Just like many medical doctors agree to “Primum non nocer,” our engineers desire to “first, do no harm” when doing slab repair work. Fortunately, our history speaks to our credit. With over 20,000 successful foundation repairs behind us, our experienced engineers will do their very best to come up with a repair scenario that will best suit your particular needs. To learn more about mud jacking, or for all your other residential or commercial repair needs, contact Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Texas today. We are waiting to hear from you!