Mudjacking vs Steel Pier Systems Underpinning (Efficacy & Warranties)

Not sure whether to go the mudjacking or steel pier system underpinning route? Do you have two different contractors competing for your project: one mudjacking/concrete underpinning acolyte and one push pier advocate? We get it – foundation repair can prove a bit confusing. So, what repair method is really the best?

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has over 100 years of combined foundation repair and underpinning experience. We’ve seen the mudjacking vs steel pier system argument before, and we’re here to help you determine the absolute best option for you.

This article compares and contrasts underpinning via mudjacking and underpinning via steel pier systems, in terms of efficacy and warranty.  

Problems of Underpinning via Mudjacking

Mudjacking Further Sinks your Foundation  

Mudjacking (also referred to as concrete underpinning) is an antiquated underpinning technique that injects mortar slurry, limestone, and cement beneath a sinking foundation to impede further foundation settlement. One of the constraints of mudjacking is that it relies on the sheer force of the installation pressure to push the foundation upward, only recovering some of the lost ground from foundation settlement.

The primary issue with mudjacking is that cement is heavy, weighing in at 100 pounds per cubic foot. Mudjacking is like wrapping an already sinking ship in a heavy chain and praying the capsized boat will continue to float.

In other words, mudjacking adds a significant amount of weight, thousands of pounds, to an already sinking/settling home. While mudjacking may temporarily lift and support your settling foundation, the benefits are temporary. Mudjacking does not penetrate deep enough to reach competent, load-bearing soil or bedrock. Ultimately, the incompetent, non-load-bearing soil will reclaim and sink your foundation.

Mudjacking has a Limited Warranty

Mudjacking is such a temporary fix, the majority of mudjacking companies only warranty their foundation repair for 1-2 years. And, on those not infrequent occasions when the foundation sinks and the warranty is complete, contractors suggest mudjacking again.

Mudjacking a second time is a much more difficult enterprise as the contractor must punch through the first application of solidified slurry. Even if a second round is applied successfully, gravity always wins – the foundation will sink again.   

Mudjacking is also used to relevel slabs and as a form of rudimentary void fill. In the construction game, mudjacking has been recently usurped by polyurethane foam. To learn more about how polyurethane can lift your sunk slab and densify your soil for slope stabilization, read our article Applications of Polyurethane: Void Fill, Slab Leveling, and Slab Lifting.        

Benefits of Underpinning with Steel Pier Systems 

Steel Pier Systems Offer Permanent, Lightweight Foundation Support

Steel pier systems (such as push pier, helical pier, and helical tieback systems) are newer technologies utilized in foundation repair and underpinning. Steel pier systems are comprised of steel pipes that are hydraulically driven to competent, load-bearing soil and are anchored to a foundation’s prepped footing via a remedial bracket, acting as an underground stilt system to secure, stabilize, and/or lift the structure.

Unlike mudjacking, steel pier systems will not sink your home. Push pier and helical pier systems do not add thousands of pounds of extra weight to your settled foundation. And, more importantly, these systems are driven down to competent, load-bearing soil and or bedrock, providing permanent support.

To learn about the fascinating installation processes for push pier and helical pier systems, read our articles The 5 Steps to Push Pier Foundation Repair and The 5 Steps to Helical Pier Installation.  

Steel Pier Systems have Extensive Warranties

While mudjacking warranties only last 1-2 years, steel pier systems enjoy significantly longer warranty timelines. Dalinghaus, for example, offers a lifetime warranty on all steel pier systems. And, no – the warranty isn’t tied to your lifetime, but the lifetime of the structure.

Warranties denote a vote of confidence. The longer the warranty, the more confident the contractors. Our warranties are transferable upon inheritance and/or the sale of the home.

Always Get a Second Opinion for Foundation Repair 

In this article, you learned that mudjacking/concrete underpinning adds a significant amount of weight to an already sinking structure, proves a temporary fix at best, and is not covered by extensive warranties. In addition, you learned that steel pier systems offer permanent underpinning solutions and are often covered by lifetime warranties.

It’s always best to educate yourself and get a second opinion when necessary before making large financial decisions like foundation repair and underpinning.  

We are happy we were able to steer you in the right direction for your best foundation repair options. Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has serviced thousands of foundations in SoCal and Arizona. We never settle and neither should you.  

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and are interested in underpinning with steel pier systems, click on the button below to book a free foundation inspection.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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