Frequently Asked Questions
Polyurethane foam is a two-part formula created by the reaction of a diisocyanate with a polyol to form a urethane linkage. Diisocyanates are organic compounds that are manufactured to react with polyols, which are simply alcohols with multiple hydroxyl groups. The foam is created by combining an A-side (or “Iso side”), which is a mixture of different proportions of diisocyanates, and an R-side/B-side (or “Resin side”), which is a mixture of polyols and other chemicals that each have specific roles in the reaction process.
Polyurethane foam is available in a wide variety of different products and uses, all with varying formula types which make them better or worse for specific applications. For instance, there’s foam that comes in a can to inject around doors and windows and, on a larger scale, whole-house spray foam insulation, which is very similar to PolyLevel in terms of consistency and appearance. Foam padding in chairs, car doors, dash moldings and many other places is often polyurethane-based too, as are no-flat foam tires in toddler bikes and wheelbarrows.
The Supportworks PolyLevel system is a state-of-the-art method, using high-strength, exclusively formulated, two-part polyurethane foam to fills voids, lift settled concrete and stabilize slabs. As it is injected under concrete slabs, PolyLevel flows just like water for the first few seconds, allowing it to quickly find its way to the tightest of areas and smallest voids, before expanding to its full size and strength. PolyLevel expands due to a designed chemical reaction between its two major components: diisocyanates (Iso) and resin.
Precise lifts, complete void-fills and confident stabilization are achievable because we know the time required for total expansion, and can control expansion speeds. Once installed, PolyLevel becomes a stable, strong and long-lasting sub-base for concrete.
When filling voids, lifting and stabilizing concrete, there are instances where slightly different foam formulas are ideal, which is why there are Supportworks PolyLevel 250 or 400 Hydrophoic (PL250H/PL400H) foam options.
- As the name indicates, the PL250H is our lighter material at two and a half pounds per cubic foot. It is used primarily for residential applications. This foam reacts a bit faster than the PL400H –– meaning that its initial spread as a liquid is shorter (three to five feet) before foam starts to form. PL250H is the lighter of the two materials, but it has a high compressive strength between 4,896 and 5,616 pounds per square foot, depending on the exact conditions.
- The PL400H is our heavier product, weighing in at about four pounds per cubic foot. Because this product is used more at the commercial/industrial level, it needs to spread a bit further (three to seven feet) before it reacts and creates foam. That way, it is less point-loading, which becomes more important as heavier weights are lifted and supported. As the foam spreads more than the PL250H, it also has a higher compressive strength between 10,080 and 10,800 pounds per cubic foot, depending on the exact conditions.
In addition to PL400H and PL250H, we also offer a very fast-acting foam that can be used to create unique structures, such as ditch blocks and trench breaks in utility and pipeline excavations. The typical concrete collar takes a fair amount of labor, materialsand time (formwork placement, concrete placement, formwork removal, concrete cure time, etc.) to install, not to mention concrete truck access. With PolyLevel Trench-Break, one person and a truck, or trailer mounted foam generator, can drive down the work road and install a trench break in a matter of minutes, and as soon as 30 minutes after completion backfilling can begin.
PolyLevel is great because it addresses the three key reasons concrete settled in the first place: wash-out, dry-out or poor compaction of the soil beneath it.
- Waterproof—PolyLevel won’t wash out or erode from underneath the concrete slab. When it is in its liquid state, PolyLevel integrates itself into the pores of the underside of the concrete, as well as into the top layer of soil beneath, almost “gluing” it in place once it has set.
- Provides soil insulation—The underlying soil, especially clay soil, prefers cooler temperatures, typically around 55 degrees, because moisture content is optimal. On hot days, where concrete can reach temperatures well into the triple digits, heat is transferred into the soil beneath, removing moisture and drying the subgrade soil which results in shrinking soil and ultimately a loss of support for the slab itself. Just like other foam insulators, PolyLevel creates a thermal barrier between the concrete and soil, keeping the soil at its optimal temperature and, thus, intact.
- Compresses loose soil—Poorly compacted soil consolidates over time, or simply can’t hold the weight of concrete slabs. PolyLevel addresses this soil problem well, as it expands in all directions as it lifts; so, as the foam lifts or supports a slab, it simultaneously compresses any loose fill soil underneath it.
- Lightweight—One cubic foot of PolyLevel weights between two and a half and four pounds, depending on which PolyLevel product is being installed. (As opposed to the grout used with mudjacking, which consistently weighs 100 pounds or more per cubic foot!) Due to its light weight, PolyLevel lessens the amount of future settlement.
- Precise lifting and void-filling ability—Because of its ability to spread out under the concrete and apply lifting pressure to greater areas, expanding foam can lift higher loads than other stabilization techniques. In under 30 seconds PolyLevel, expands as far as it is going to––meaning an installer can methodically inject an interval of small amounts until an exact lift or void fill is created.
- Long-lasting—The long-term durability of polyurethane has been researched via accelerated aging tests. These tests revealed that even in highly acidic environments, polyurethane is anticipated to break down less than 10 percent over 1000 years. Additionally, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory study rigid polyurethane foams similar to PolyLevel and the conditions it seesunder a slab, and they determined it will remain incredibly stable even through the coldest winters and hottest summers. It’s also bacteria- and radiation-resistant.
- Minimal disruption or discoloration—PolyLevel is injected through port holes that are 3/8 of an inch in diameter, or roughly half the size of a dime. After the high-strength mortar mix is placed in the port holes, and over months of exposure, they become virtually undetectable. Additionally, installation itself is much less messy than mudjacking, which often results in extra dirt and blow-outs.
- Safety—PolyLevel is chemically inert and will not leach any dangerous contaminates or chemicals into the groundwater or runoff.
- Short cure-time—Cure times are variable, depending on the specific formula and outside temperature. In general, polyurethane foam will reach 90 percent of its compressive strength within 15 minutes of application.
At the end of its needed life, PolyLevel can be used as filler in other materials or, if your local waste management service uses incineration for waste-to-energy production, PolyLevel can be burned to improve efficiency. And of course, since it doesn’t leach harmful chemicals, disposal in landfills is always a viable option as well.
PolyLevel a safe and stable alternative to mudjacking that will last as long as the concrete slab does!
PolyLevel expanding foam is used under large expanses of concrete with fairly uniform loads in residential, commercial/industrial and municipal settings.
In residential applications, it is primarily used as an alternate to mudjacking to lift and stabilize:
- Settled driveways
- Garage floors
- Pool decks
- Stamped concrete
- Tiled Concrete
- Most any concrete on a home’s property
- If a home’s foundation has been retrofit with the Supportworks piering system, PolyLevel can also be used to fill any void space left under the interior slabs and footing of a home.
In commercial, industrial and municipal applications, PolyLevel 400H is best suited. When stabilizing the heavily loaded slabs or pavement that you might find in a warehouse or under a grain bin, at an airport or a highway, it is important to provide the concrete with a highly consistent, stiff base. By providing a uniform base, you reduce the point loading and bridging that causes slabs or pavement to crack and/or develop uneven joints.
- Concrete that is too broken up/small to lift and stabilize accurately
- Brick walkways
- Stairs or other poured concrete pieces that have a footing (where piering would be the preferred method), such as mailboxes, exterior chimneys, etc.
A PolyLevel rig (truck, trailer or van) is vital to quality product installation because it’s there that the two parts of the two-part system are stored. Custom-built by Supportworks, rigs consist of a generator, air compressor, pumps applicator (gun) and reactor, which consists of a proportioner, heater, and insulated and heated hoses. This ensures that the two parts, diisocyanates (A-side) and resin (R-side), are delivered to the applicator at a consistent pressure and temperature throughout the day to produce the best product. The rigs can be truck-mounted (high volume), trailer-mounted, van-mounted or on an ATV Buggy (which might come in handy for the remote trench breaks).
Consistently producing good foam is vital to a successful install. Here are a few keys:
- Equipment is clean and well maintained, especially the applicator (gun).
- A- and R-side materials are heated to the correct temperatures and maintained.
- Hose temperatures are set appropriately and monitored.
- The A- and R-side materials mix at a 1:1 ratio, which can be monitored through pressure gauges and adjusted through a variety of tactics, if needed.
- A test spray is done and quality of foam is examined before any work is done on the job.
Having a good crew is just as important as anything else when it comes to PolyLevel, because foam is made on the spot and its quality heavily relies on the crews’ ability to ensure the above.
Once the rig and tools are ready, trained installers assess and prepare the work area. The installation process starts by making 3/8-inch holes in the concrete slab for the injection ports. PolyLevel is then injected under the slab. The reaction time of PolyLevel can be varied by changing hose and tank temperatures, allowing for precise controlled lifting. The hoses that deliver the A-side and R-side of the material can be several hundred feet long, allowing the product to be delivered long distances, to very tight spaces.
After the concrete is lifted and stabilized, the port holes are patched with high-strength mortar mix and become virtually undetectable, easily blending in with the existing concrete.
Joint sealant is an elastomeric material that fills gaps to keep water and air at bay, while allowing for expansion and contraction of building materials –– usually in the range of 25 to 50 percent of the joint’s original size. (For example, if concrete has a 1” joint, the joint can expand to 1.5” or 2” without being compromised. Conversely, it could compress up to 0.5” if the building materials shift or expand.)
Silicone and polyurethane joint sealant are two of the most popular types of sealant. Despite their common purpose, there are several major differences between them. The primary difference is seen at the chemical level, and whether or not they are organic, which are important to understanding how they perform over time. Polyurethane is an organic material, while silicone is an inorganic material. In the presence of ultraviolet light, an organic material, like polyurethane, will eventually revert to its natural state, changing properties and deteriorating over time. An inorganic material, like silicone, will not. Silicone sealants are also much more workable and flexible (commonly referred to as “lower modulus”), and don’t stain when applied to concrete or brick.
This is why we use NexusPro, a 100% silicone sealant. There are several silicone-based sealants out there, but none were designed like NexusPro to work with and perform at a high level through all stages in the lifecycle of concrete.
NexusPro is a specially engineered, long-lasting, silicone sealant blended exclusively for Supportworks. It is formulated specifically as a low-modulus, neutral-curing, low volatile organic compound (VOC) one-part sealant –– unlike common urethane products. This means it is highly pliable, structurally allowing up to 50 percent expansion or compression beyond its original size, which keeps it from cracking and de-bonding from the surface. Because it is 100 percent silicone, it is also resistant to ultraviolet rays from the sun that break down common urethane-based sealants.
Key to its excellent adhesive properties with concrete and masonry, NexusPro is installed after all joints are properly prepared and dry of any moisture. Expert installers have an easier time making NexusPro look great, too –– not only because the material itself allows high levels of workability, but also because it has a wide range of acceptable install temperatures (as low as -20°F to well over 100°F).
Also, NexusPro allows for aggregate or sand to be spread and integrated into its surface, providing a bead of sealant that blends in with the natural look of the surrounding concrete and masonry. It also cures fast, allowing use in hours rather than days. Once installed, NexusPro joint sealant looks great and provides excellent weatherproofing performance.
- 100% silicone—It is impervious to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and provides years of quality use without breakdown.
- Low-modulus—NexusPro is highly flexible allowing for 50 percent expansion, as well as 50 percent compression.
- Neutral-curing—The “leaving agents” that leave the product while it’s curing are neutral, so they don’t emit a smell. Also, they increase the adhesion properties, meaning NexusPro adheres to a variety of surfaces for much longer periods, in comparison to alternatives. High-performing sealants, like NexusPro, have the ability to stay adhered and fully functional for over 20 years.
- One-part sealant—Many sealants require a catalyst to be mixed in for curing reasons. NexusPro does not, which minimizes waste and doesn’t add air to the formula.
- Wide application-range—Installers can apply NexusPro in temperatures ranging -20°F to well over 100°F.
- Low volatile organic compound (VOC) content—This is important for both inside and outside application. Inside, NexusPro’s low VOC content makes it safer to use. (VOCs can become a concern in enclosed areas because they may have airborne chemical reactions that can produce harmful by-product at the sub-micron sized level, including carcinogens and others associated with adverse health effects.) Outside, ground-level ozone, commonly referred to as smog, can result from a chemical reaction between VOCs, air and sunlight, so, having a sealant low in VOCs makes for a more environmentally friendly and safe workspace.
NexusPro is used primarily as an alternative to urethane and other silicone sealants, in both indoor and outdoor applications.
Ideally, NexusPro is used on surfaces that are porous, including:
Though NexusPro can effectively adhere to most surfaces, it is least ideal when used with:
- Slick nonporous surfaces
- Most metals
- Dirty joints/cracks
- Moist joints/cracks
- To surfaces that are continuously immersed in water
Trained crews first assess and prepare the worksite. To start the installation process, each joint and crack is cleaned of debris, wire brushed and blown clean to make the joint ready to accept a smooth, consistent, clean-looking bead of joint sealant.
Backer rod is placed in all available joints and cracks to provide a consistent depth and layer for the joint sealant to be applied. Currently, NexusPro comes in 10-ounce cartridges, 20-ounce tubes, or 5-gallon buckets. The 10 and 20-ounce options can be applied with a manual or electric gun, whereas the 5-gallon bucket is applied with 30 or 80-ounce bulk-loading guns.
The initial bead is laid to overfill the joint or crack slightly, in order to provide enough material to tool later, and ensure complete contact for the material on all sides of the joint or crack. A first tooling pass is made with a large spatula to scoop off any excess sealant. A second pass is then made with a spatula slightly larger than the size of the desired bead, to create the high-performing, engineered, concave shape. This shape provides long-term flexibility, adhesion and overall performance.
A final inspection is done to ensure all edges are clean of overflow and sealed correctly. To finish the install, the crew will lay a thin layer of native sand, aggregate or other material with which the concrete appears to have been made. This last step is done to help the sealant blend in and perform for years to come.
An expansion joint is a mid-structure separation, designed to relieve stress caused by the cycle of expanding and contracting concrete, seismic events, static and/or live loads. It’s a standard part of concrete construction design across the country.
- Fiber-based joints are among the most common type, but worst performing in thelong-run. They are often blended compositions, containing asphalts, vegetable fibers, mineral fillers, cellular fibers and so on. They are narrow, providing minimal amounts of compression before total failure, “bubble up” when over-compressed and don’t recover well when concrete contracts, often leaving 5 to 30 percent open area between the joint and concrete. Multiple pieces are typically used across joints, as they are manufactured in eight to 10 foot sections, but have no way of bonding to keep water and other debris from penetrating the joint between sections.
- Typically comprised of closed cell material, foam joints recover much better than fiber, but often still not 100 percent. Like fiber joints, they’re narrow and do notprovide long-term compression performance. Foam is also susceptible to degradation and chipping away from the joint.
- Usually formed with granulated cork bonded with a resin, cork joints are similar to foam in performance, except they do not extrude under compression. Their recovery, durability and degradation are all limiting factors.
- Plastic joints can come in a variety of compositions, shapes and rigidities, and can be designed to overcome the shortcomings of all other expansion joint materials. However, material design and fabrication methods still affect performance in substantial ways; many versions of plastic expansion joints are not made to perform with the natural expansion and contraction cycles of concrete and are not always designed for long-term use. (Properties that help some plastic fuse well keep it from performing in other ways.) Furthermore, shapes often don’t sit flush, which means that the joints aren’t water-tight. Thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) – the type of plastic used to make CompressionGuard – is the best option for control joints.
Supportworks CompressionGuard is a 4” x 4” engineered TPV expansion joint designed to absorb the pressure of continued expansion and contraction of concrete. It far exceeds the capabilities of the traditional asphalt infused fiber board expansion material that’s commonly found in concrete driveways. It’s a special formulation that combines the characteristics of vulcanized rubber and thermoplastics. A major reason typical expansion joints fail is due to improper installation, but CompressionGuard’s design allows for only a proper installation. Not only will CompressionGuard protect homes from the damages of expanding and contracting concrete, it also does not degrade or chip away over years of driveway use.
- Pliability–– TPV combines the characteristics of vulcanized rubber and thermoplastics. When rubber or related polymers are vulcanized, they become more durable and long-lasting, while maintaining pliability. This pliability helps CompressionGuard perform well with the expanding and contracting nature of concrete.
- Fusion––Thermoplastics are able to be melted, molded or fused and still regain their solid state, uncompromised. This is important for CompressionGuard as it is manufactured in 10-foot sections (shorter than the width of most driveways) and requires fusion to create a complete, water-tight junction.
- Long-term use––CompressionGuard will last for years and won’t chip away or degrade out of the joint. Additionally, it has the ability to expand or contract up to an inch before loads are transferred away from the CompressionGuard—more than double the amount of traditional expansion joints.
- Compressibility–– CompressionGuard can compress up to an inch. Because of the way it compresses, it will not give an ugly “bubbling” appearance, even in extreme cases of compression.
- Flush design––The design and installation of CompressionGuard lead to a joint that fits flush against all sides of the concrete where it is placed.
- Engineered size–– CompressionGuard is intentionally designed as a 4” x 4” joint that matches the exact width of standard driveway slabs. This makes a straightforward installation that is guaranteed to keep concrete slabs totally separated where it is placed, providing the most effective buffer possible for damaging forces.
- Color––CompressionGuard is uniquely designed to blend in as a “concrete gray” color. This is particularly noteworthy as the specific chemical makeup the TPV makes coloration extremely difficult to achieve.
Driveways. It is ideally placed one joint away from the street, closer to the home –– or at the nearest joint that is flat enough to allow CompressionGuard to fit flush on both sides of the joint, as well as on top.
- Between slabs and structures
- As a replacement for isolation joints
CompressionGuard is professionally installed in just a few main steps. First, the foreman will confirm the exact location, ensuring maximum protection and aesthetics. Then, the crew will prep the work area using a string line to mark a three-inch wide area to be removed at the place of an existing joint. In other words, a cut will be made one and a half inches on each side of the existing joint.
Once the three-inch section of concrete is removed, the crew will place a layer of sand on the exposed soil, creating an even smooth base. Finally, CompressionGuard is compressed and installed. Since CompressionGuard is made in 10-foot sections, several pieces may need to be fused together to ensure it spans the entire width of the driveway. A heat plate is used to warm the sections to a point where it will fuse permanently, without compromise. If any extra product remains, the crew will cut it to match the exact width of the driveway. Once installed, it fits tight and flush against the edges and top of the concrete.
CompressionGuard is a great long-term solution as it won’t easily become over-compressed, degrade or chip away. And, unlike traditional methods, it will completely separate the concrete slabs it is between, acting as a true buffer and allowing proper expansion and contraction of the concrete.
Concrete sealants are liquid-based materials designed to protect concrete from surface damage and corrosion. Though chemical makeup can differ, there are two major types of concrete sealants: topical and penetrating.
- Sit on top of concrete slabs and form a layer that’s impermeable to moisture
- Protect the top, but can trap moisture that enters concrete from beneath the slab
- Best for interior application and smooth surfaces
- Often creates a slick, glossy surface, affecting the appearance and safety (particularly when wet)
- Widely available
- Typically last 5-10 years at best, requiring regular reapplication
- Penetrate the concrete to seal its pores, rather than sitting on top of it
- Can be used on more surface types
- Ideal for exterior applications
- Won’t become slick when wet
- Long-lasting because they don’t wear off the surface and are “breathable”
SealantPro is a highly versatile siliconate-based, penetrating concrete sealant. Its primary function is to keep moisture, salt and mold from being absorbed by the concrete, which can cause it to expand and/or deteriorate, particularly through the freeze/thaw cycle.
SealantPro has a very high solid content compared to other sealants (in some cases, up to 33% more), which means that a higher concentration is left in the concrete once other solvents and carriers evaporate, enhancing durability. It is also water-based rather than solvent-based, resulting in minimal volatile organic compounds (VOC) and no significant biproducts that are dangerous or damaging to the environment. HMIS and NFPA give it the best possible stability rating (0).
It requires just a single application and penetrates up to ¼-inch – preventing a slippery surface. Once cured, it becomes a permanent part of the concrete and never needs to be reapplied.
- Permanently protects concrete from water, dirt and other contaminants with just one application Protects and adds value to the home by extending the life of driveways, pool decks and other concrete structures by 3-5 times
- Penetrates concrete and permanently bonds with it on a molecular level, helping it resist stains and harmful effects from liquids such as oil, gasoline or chlorides
- Cures in just 6 hours, so concrete can be trafficked within the same day
- Can be applied to new concrete
- Costs less over time because it does not need to be reapplied
- Makes ice removal easier in the winter
- Minimizes mold growth in warmer climates
- UV resistant and won’t discolor over time
- Dries clear and matte; won’t impact curb appeal or create a slippery, shiny surface
- Formulation is environmentally friendly
- Can be used as a primer prior to painting, topical sealant or flooring installation
In most cases, yes. SealantPro’s highly versatile formula can be used on any dense or porous material, including:
- Stamped concrete
- Decorative concrete
- Stained concrete
- Basement floors
- Garage floors
- Foundation walls
SealantPro not ideal for acrylic concrete surfaces. The product must penetrate the substrate in order for the necessary chemical reaction to occur, and the carrier to do so is water. As sealers, cures or color enhancers, acrylics are inherently hydrophobic, which causes a penetrating sealer to remain on the surface and leave an undesirable residue once the water in it evaporates.
Likewise, if concrete has been previously sealed, SealantPro will not penetrate the surface and should not be used.
It is also not ideal for glass, plastic, wood or metal surfaces. Note of caution: the product can etch glass if allowed to sit.
A simple water test is the best way to see if SealantPro can seal a substrate. If water can penetrate, SealantPro can penetrate; if not, or if it does so extremely slowly, it is not advised.
The SealantPro installation process is thorough, detailed and proven. Each step is critical to ensuring the intended effect and no aesthetic damage, and experts are trained to optimize environmental and functional circumstances.
Here’s an overview of the process: Following a pre-job inspection of the work site, a commercial pressure washer, turbo nozzle and rotary surface cleaner are used to prepare the pores of the concrete for the SealantPro application. Next, the deep penetrating sealant is applied evenly to the surface with a high-quality pump sprayer. A broom is used to work the product into the surface, with the grain of the concrete, to avoid standing puddles and ensure a neat, quality finish.
Check out the install video here.
SealantPro cures in 4 to 6 hours. Concrete can be trafficked as usual within the same day.
SealantPro only needs to be applied once –– to not only last for the concrete’s lifetime but extend it by 3 to 5 times.
No. Because SealantPro penetrates ¼” into the surface and bonds with concrete on a molecular level, it will not wear away unless more than ¼” of the concrete is removed.
SealantPro will cause water to bead up on the surface immediately after application and for a couple of weeks following. The product remains permanently bound to the concrete whether or not water beads on the surface.
SealantPro is best applied to a damp (not wet) surface, on which it will spread easily and dry steadily.
Weather has a great impact on curing times: In high heat or wind, it will dry quickly, making it more difficult to ensure an even coat. In cold weather, it will dry too slowly and potentially leave a milky or chalky residue. (We do not recommend applying SealantPro in temperatures below 40 degrees.) Water-saturated concrete will not allow the product to penetrate deeply and generate the desired results. Drying time after power-washing, and subsequent curing time of SealantPro, is longer in humid or damp conditions. Drying time can be accelerated with help from a leaf-blower.
It is not likely that SealantPro would cause damage to grass and plants, but overspray should be avoided as much as possible.
Yes, SealantPro will minimize spalling, pitting and spider-cracking on existing concrete that has expanded with repeated water-intrusion, as well as newly poured concrete (even in high heat or wind) by helping control the water evaporation rate.
Yes, SealantPro can be used as a breathable primer for a topical sealer (acrylic, urethane, epoxy, etc.), paint, and adhesives, epoxies or mastics. It is best used with a breathable topical sealant to create an extra layer of protection from clouding and film separation. Likewise, the life of a painted concrete surface is greatly extended by applying SealantPro first –– decreasing the eventual separation of paint from a concrete surface caused my moisture working its way through the substrate. The same is true for adhesion of hardwood flooring, carpet, linoleum, tile, backer-board, etc.
Because SealantPro is designed to discourage water and other liquids from penetrating the substrate, it is not an ideal base for concrete stains, many of which are water-based and in fact designed to penetrate the concrete. Some solvent-based stains have been seen to penetrate “enough,” but are not recommended. SealantPro can be applied after hydrophilic concrete stains to prevent fading over time, but is not recommended for use atop hydrophobic stains, as it would not be able to penetrate the surface as it is intended.
Yes. In fact, we recommend that our PolyLevel customers protect their newly lifted concrete with our SealantPro solution, as it will help protect their concrete for many years to come.
SealantPro is actually quite cost-effective because it offers a permanent solution unlike the cheaper urethane-based products available at big-box DIY stores that must be reapplied regularly.
It is recommended that you mix SealantPro with the porthole filler mix prior to filling the hole.