Frequently Asked Questions:
Concrete Lifting, Stabilization and Caulking
Q. How long has polyurethane foam been used to lift and support concrete?
A. The process has been around for over 30 years and continues to grow aggressively as new methods and applications are discovered. The process is extensively used in residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial settings. From driveways and interstate highways to parking lots and commercial sidewalks, the process is proven and trusted around the world.
Q. How expensive is this process and how long does it take for a typical repair?
A. The vast majority of repairs cost less than half the cost of replacement. In many cases, much less. A typical repair takes less than a day, with foot/vehicle traffic permitted immediately upon completion that same day.
Q. My concrete has cracks in it, am I a good candidate for your process?
A. Most of the concrete we work on has fractures. While fractures are a typical part of our day to day work, there are some instances where a heavily damaged slab may not be a good candidate. Our estimators have the experience to recognize these projects and advise a homeowner when our process isn't the best fit for the longevity of the area.
Q. How long can I expect my repair to last?
A. In a perfectly controlled environment this answer is indefinitely, however the real world presents a variety of obstacles preventing us from making this claim. Once injected, the polyurethane foam is permanent. The only natural occurring element known to deteriorate the material is UV rays from the sun. Being this material is injected under the concrete, that is a minimal concern. The bigger concern is water entry to the area and softening the soil underneath the foam, allowing an area to resettle. The foam in this instance did not fail, it stayed in a same solid state as it was the day it was injected. If a property owner provides dirt backfill, caulking and proper water evacuation (downspouts, for example) to a corrected area, our process should provide a repair that will last the life of the concrete.
Q. What is your most common repair?
A. The beauty of our industry is our 'office' is everchanging! We lift and stabilize concrete on a variety of applications, however the top of driveways and associated walkways are very common repairs.
Q. How big are the holes you drill and how many will there be?
A. We drill our holes using a 5/8" drill bit (size of a dime) and depending on the repair, typically drill a pattern of ~3 feet apart. Certain repairs require less, some require more, but the integrity of the end result is always the most important to us and we take tremendous pride in patching our holes with high quality, fine concrete mixture best suited to blend the holes with the existing concrete. Our holes are unlikely to be noticed by a guest/client to your property without prior knowledge of the repair.
Q. Cracks in concrete are normal for this part of the country, right?
A. Our 4 seasons make fractures in poorly supported concrete more likely, however one should not simply assume fractures are inevitable. A properly compacted substrate coupled with dirt backfill and joint caulking will prevent fractures in all properly poured concrete slabs. If you see a fracture, the concrete is moving and attention should be given to this area to identify why the movement is occurring and how to rectify it.
Q. What are obvious signs that my concrete may need your services?
A. Settlement is the result of a lack of support underneath (hollow void). If you notice a hollow void under your concrete, this will eventually lead to fractures and settlement of concrete in the area. Many property owners attempt to fill the void by stuffing dirt or rock into the void believing they are helping the issue. In all reality that effort does not provide any compressive strength to halt the advancement and only hides the growing issue from them. Our process will provide compressive strength to support the intended load of the concrete in the area. Reacting as soon as you notice a void or new fracture will save you money and the aesthetic value of the concrete.
Q. When is the best time of year to address my concrete deficiencies?
A. Typically by the time a homeowner notices the problem, it is well on its way to advanced stages of settlement (or it is actively moving). Correcting the deficiencies as soon as possible will minimize cost and elongate the life of the concrete. The frost/thaw cycle from winter is the most damaging to concrete, so we highly recommend all repairs be completed before freezing temperatures.
Q. What time of the year are you able to address my concrete concerns?
A. This answer can vary year to year as it is completely reliant on when the frost is out of the ground. Typically our concrete lifting season is May 1st - December 1st. In the Fall we work until there is frost IN the ground. Snow and a few nights of freezing temperatures do not affect the integrity of our repairs. We monitor the ground soil temperatures daily through an NDSU resource which is updated hourly.