So do you level or do you replace concrete in your driveway, sidewalk, walkway? That is the question many people are asking with the rise of many poly-foam leveling companies out there. I will let you be judge.
Let’s compare pros and cons about the both. But before I start let’s be fair I am a concrete contractor. I am with Holland Custom Concrete. You can reach us on our phone at 214.287.2563. Or you can look us up on the web at hollandconcrete.net.
I have been in the concrete business now for almost 23 years. Yep the first concrete job I was on was a warehouse floor. We were actually cleaning it. So I would like to think I know a little about concrete 😉.
TO KEEP THIS POST SHORT AND NOT RUNNING ON AND ON I’m Only going to take you through 4 Points to consider when asking yourself if you go with the foam leveling or concrete replacement. They are: 1. PRICE, 2. BASE COMPACTION, 3. FIRMNESS, 4. DOWELLS
Ok. Let’s get this out of the way. Yes you are going to spend less money going with a poly-foam leveling company. That is a no brainer. As a matter of fact you will spend half the money in most circumstances if you choose foam leveling over concrete replacement. So for price I will score Foam with the point.
Ok now I want you to pay close attention to this part of the compare. Poly foam raising, the contractor is going to drill holes in your concrete every so often and then pump or shoot foam down in there to actually raise your concrete. Pretty cool right. Well not so.
Let me tell you.
First let’s start with how concrete is replaced properly.
Concrete is cut then removed. Now we can examine what has caused the concrete to drop. Most of the time it is something as simple as the previous contractor not compacting the base underneath and not installing a footer around the permiter to keep the said base under the concrete. A lot of production homes and even custom homes have this problem because the builder never wants to pay full price for concrete so he gets a concrete guy that cuts corners and doesn’t compact the base underneath. Then when the rain comes it washed out the base underneath the concrete.
To Solve that problem we Install a footer to keep base in tact.
One we determine the problem we then fix it. We then put base in and compact it with a plate compactor so that it holds. As a rule of thumb base should be compacted every 6 in. deep. That means if you have a 12 in void in the base you should be filling in the base to 6 in and then compact and then fill in another 6 in and then the compact one more time. This ensures the concrete will not sink as it has done before.
If you just fill in with foam you are not taking care of the base compaction problem so when it shifts that foam is going to shift, etc. To me, again just my opinion , but it seams that you are only putting a band aid over a cut that requires stitches or even surgery. So it will only fix the problem until we start getting a long drought and the soil shifts again. Or we just change weather from summer to winter or vise versa and the ground shrinks or swells and movement occurs. Again just my opinion but common sense tells me this is true. You be the judge.
So I’m going to score this section to concrete replacement. 1-1
Another point I want to compare is FIRMNESS.
The firmness of base when compacted and the firmness of poly foam.
If we put down a base of crushed concrete and without even putting concrete on top and we compacted every 6 in like I discussed earlier, well, you can drive on correct? Yes as a matter of fact some people in the country use base compacted for their driveway. Now inatall concrete with the tow beam footer so to keep base in place and you have a sold piece of concrete.
Now let’s compare that with poly-foam. If you put down foam without concrete can you drive over that? Sure but how is it going to hold up. Wouldn’t it start to be squishy? Yes and when foam is continued with much pressure what happens to it? Let’s look at my pillows that are foam based. Well my pillows seem to never hold the same height once they have been used after a whole year. Am I right?
So why would you put foam materials underneath your concrete knowing that it is 1. supporting the weight of the concrete and 2 supporting the weight of vehicles every time a car or truck drives on the area and or parks on that spot. It seems to me that eventually your concrete is going to sink again.
So for this section I will have to give this to Concrete Replacement. Making the score 2-1 for concrete Repair and replacement.
Now this part there is no comparison in my opinion. We have so much shifting and moving in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Dowels are pieces of Rebar connecting one piece of concrete to another piece.
Let’s look at this driveway I’m on.
This driveway here has done two things. One it has sunk. 2 it has moved away from the house foundation. Had this driveway been compacted correctly and the footer installed, it would not have sunk. Also had there been dowles installed into this concrete it never would have slid away from the house foundation. Lets now say you had it poly formed leveled. Sure it brings it level for a time (temporarily).
But when it starts to slide away from the house again what happens?
Well it moves away causing the gap to get bigger. Now let’s say you chose replacement. This piece of concrete is taken out and completely removed. the base is then compacted and you have a footer added to keep All base in. Then you Install dowells into the concrete every 18 inches holding the driveway to your house foundation. That means it stops the sliding process from happening. This process keeps your concrete level and together not allowing it to move or slide away from house.
So I will reward concrete replacement with the win in this section.
If we stop here we have compared 4 sections bringing score to a complete 4-1 awarded to concrete replacement. There you have it in my opinion concrete replacement is the best option for doing it right if you have unleavened concrete.
Now if you are only going on price and quality doesn’t matter than you will go with foam. But if you want a permanent solution to your problem then you will go with concrete replacement and repair of your driveway, sidewalk or walkway. As you can see from base compaction, firmness and doweling, this is the option to set you up with in my opinion for a permanent solution.
For more information call me directly at 214-287-2563. All this information expressed here are my opinion only. Please call me now to discuss your project and find out more info.
Have a great day!!👍👍