Mudjacking vs. Polyurethane Concrete Lifting: An In-Depth Comparison

Mudjacking, slab jacking, or pressure grouting involves drilling small holes into the sunken concrete slab and pumping a mixture of water, cement, and soil (often called “slurry”) underneath it. This slurry mixture fills voids and exerts enough pressure to lift the slab back to its original level. Once the concrete is restored, the drilled holes are sealed.

Polyurethane Concrete Lifting

Polyurethane concrete lifting involves injecting a polyurethane foam beneath the sunken concrete. Technicians drill small holes into the concrete, injecting the expanding polyurethane. As the foam expands, it fills gaps and raises the slab to the desired height.

Key Factors to Consider

1. Environmental Impact

One of the most significant concerns surrounding polyurethane foam is its potential environmental impact. The foam is typically derived from chemicals like isocyanates, which can pose health risks if not handled correctly. Residual exposure to such chemicals can be hazardous, especially in residential areas. Though manufacturers have made strides to reduce the toxicity of their products, the risk remains present.

In contrast, mudjacking uses a more environmentally friendly soil, water, and cement mixture. This mixture is non-toxic and thus poses fewer health risks to the environment and the people handling it. While some dust can be associated with drilling holes and mixing the slurry, these effects are far less concerning than exposure to synthetic chemicals.

2. Durability and Stability

Polyurethane foam offers excellent durability and is particularly well-suited for areas that require immediate load-bearing capacity, such as commercial parking lots or heavily trafficked roads. Its rapid expansion and light weight mean it can quickly fill gaps without adding significant weight to the soil.

Mudjacking, while heavier and slower to cure, provides a more stable long-term solution in many cases. The heavier slurry material is less prone to degradation or movement over time. Additionally, it has the potential to offer greater support in areas with unstable soil, as its composition helps shore up loose or eroding material.

3. Cost

From a cost perspective, mudjacking often proves to be a more affordable option. The materials used in the slurry mixture are readily available, and the equipment required is not overly specialized, leading to lower overall expenses.

Polyurethane foam, on the other hand, is a relatively expensive material. The specialized equipment and technical expertise required for injection also add to the cost. Although it can provide a quicker fix with less downtime, the increased cost may not be justifiable for all projects, especially if the main objective is a long-term solution at a reasonable price point.

4. Time Efficiency

Polyurethane injection is much quicker than mudjacking due to the rapid expansion of the foam. This makes it ideal for projects requiring immediate repair surface use, such as commercial properties or high-traffic roadways. The process typically takes a few hours, with the foam reaching its final set within minutes.

Mudjacking, while slower, still completes most projects within a day. However, the slurry requires more time to cure fully, and the area may need to remain closed shortly after the work is complete. For residential applications where immediate use isn’t crucial, this slight delay may not be a significant issue.

5. Hole Size and Aesthetics

One key difference between the two methods lies in the hole size required. Polyurethane injection uses smaller, less noticeable holes, typically around ⅜ of an inch in diameter. This produces a cleaner appearance and less visible scarring on the repaired surface.

Mudjacking requires holes about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, which can be more visible even after filling. This difference is often cited as an advantage of polyurethane, especially when aesthetics are critical. However, with proper filling and sealing, the appearance of mudjacking holes can be minimized.

6. Flexibility and Application

Polyurethane is incredibly versatile due to its lightweight and expansive properties. It can be used in various applications, including void filling and leveling different types of surfaces. However, in cases where the soil is unstable or the voids are extensive, the lightweight nature of the foam might make it less effective in providing long-term stability.

Mudjacking’s heavier mixture can be a better solution for substantial voids or unstable soils, as the heavier weight of the slurry helps reinforce the underlying ground. This makes it suitable for regions prone to soil shifting or erosion.

Final Thoughts on Mudjacking vs. PolyJacking

Both mudjacking and polyurethane concrete lifting offer practical and effective solutions for repairing sunken concrete slabs. While polyurethane is a newer and quicker method with an immediate load-bearing capacity, its higher cost and chemical composition make it less appealing in some applications.

Mudjacking, with its heavier, more natural slurry mixture, provides a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative that has stood the test of time. Despite the slower curing process and larger drilled holes, it remains a highly reliable choice for repairing residential and commercial concrete surfaces.

When deciding between the two, consider your project’s specific needs, the repair’s urgency, and the long-term environmental impact. For those seeking a safe, tried-and-true method that leans on more natural materials, mudjacking may be the better option.


1. Environmental Impact
Mudjacking employs a mixture of soil and cement, which is non-toxic and more environmentally friendly than synthetic polyurethane. Although polyurethane foam is designed to be inert and non-toxic, it still uses chemicals that could pose environmental concerns​ (GroundWorks)​.

2. Durability and Stability
Polyurethane provides excellent compressive strength and stabilizes underlying soil effectively. Mudjacking’s heavier mixture can also provide solid long-term support, but may add excessive weight, which could contribute to further settlement in weak soil​ (Home –)​.

3. Cost Efficiency
Mudjacking tends to be less expensive due to the lower cost of slurry materials and equipment. Polyurethane lifting can cost more because of the specialized tools and materials required​ (GroundWorks)​.

4. Time Efficiency
Polyurethane cures within minutes and allows immediate use of the slab, while mudjacking requires hours or even a full day before the surface can be used​ (Leveled Concrete)​.

5. Hole Size and Aesthetics
Mudjacking requires larger holes than polyurethane lifting, leading to more noticeable patches​ (Concrete PolyFix)​​ (Leveled Concrete)​. However, proper filling can reduce the visibility of these larger holes.

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