For the last 25 years, foamjacking or the use of structural foam to lift concrete, has been a parallel process to mudjacking, which utilizes a grout of cement, mud, and water to hydraulically raise concrete. First used in Europe in 1989, the foam injection process was quickly adapted in the U.S. for highway and infrastructure projects.
The Rise of Foamjacking
The reason for the quick acceptance of foamjacking is clear. Traditionally, infrastructure repairs that involved sagging concrete required dump trucks full of tons of materials and many men with shovels – it was an extremely labor-intensive process. With foamjacking, a truck is dispatched to the work site to mix, pump, and inject the material. The process, which uses a hose and injection gun, starts instantly when the worker pulls the trigger. There is little mess during the process and minimal cleanup.
Foamjacking allows for repairs with minor disruption of the normal functioning of roads, railroad crossings, dams, abandoned mine shafts, and other infrastructure components. Adding various formulations of the foam can fill voids in the ground, repair deep cracks in concrete and asphalt, seal around pipes, lift settled slabs, and stabilize the ground. In some cases, the process is used alongside mudjacking, done with soil-cement-lime grout that can stabilize structures due to the lime in the mixture.
The most frequent infrastructure repairs done with foamjacking include:
- Stabilizing roadways
- Lifting and stabilizing rail structures
- Sealing underground pipes and culverts under roads, especially when due to mismatched joints or deteriorated seals
- Sealing drop inlets for waste and stormwater
Advantages of Foamjacking
The foam used in the process consists of two polymers that jointed in the application process to create a material that is, according to some experts, 75% more efficient, 80% faster to complete, accurate according to 10/1000th of an inch, more durable, and moisture resistant.
- When pumped into the ground, expanding foam binds weak soils to become denser. Additional foam that is injected in layers fills void below the newly-packed soil to make it more stable. After stabilizing the soil, the material does not erode.
- Foam expands in all directions, which makes it a handy way to fill cracks. The material used specifically for cracks takes longer to expand and cure, which allows for better coverage.
- At 3 to 8 pounds per cubic foot, the material is so light that it does not sink into the ground or weigh down what it is fixing. When injected into voids, the total weight can be 15-25% less and creates less stress on the void.
- It also retains its shape after it cures, so when it forms a seal around a leaking pipe, the seal holds. It also moves laterally under pavement, so that it can offer 100% coverage to supporting sagging pavement. This same property helps it contour to the size and shape of any voids.
- Because the material resists moisture and freezing, it is useful for roads, bridges, and other structures in northern states.
Contact Lift Right Concrete today to see if foamjacking is the right process to repair your sunken or damaged concrete infrastructure.