Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Andy Powell

Recent Posts

Filling Dangerous Voids Under Slabs

Posted by Andy Powell on Oct 10, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Filling Dangerous Voids Under Slabs

Filling Dangerous Voids Under SlabsWhy Voids Under Your Slabs are Dangerous

If you own or manage a property with concrete slabs, you need to understand the danger posed by voids in the supporting soil. Large gaps in the soil beneath your slabs are a red-alert problem for a couple of key reasons:

  • Any equipment or vehicles on your slab are at risk. We have linked to this video before, but it is very relevant here: click to view cars falling through a collapsing floor. You definitely do not want this happening in your warehouse, parking area, showroom or garage.
  • People are more valuable than any vehicle or piece of equipment could ever be. Don't put your employees, tenants, customers, friends or family at risk.

Signs You Might Have a Void Under Your Slab

There are a few key indicators you should look for when trying to determine the stability of soil underneath your garage:

  • Are there cracks in your slab?
  • When you gently tap on your slab with a hammer, does it sound "hollow"?
  • Is your slab sinking?

Filling the Void and Repairing the Slab

The good news is that filling voids with high-strength polyurethane is generally an efficient fix when you're dealing with a qualified contractor. And you can use the slab in as little as 45 minutes after the repair job is done. If you find any of these signs of distress, call Alchemy-Spetec at 404-618-0438 or fill out the form linked below for help finding a geotech contractor in your area

Want to schedule a consultation for assistance finding a contractor?

Sign Up for a Consultation Now!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Fill Voids

Loading Dock Slab Repair

Posted by Andy Powell on Aug 28, 2019 9:37:02 AM

Loading Dock Slab Repair

Loading Dock Slab RepairSunken concrete slabs can be lifted back into place with two-component polyurethane foams designed to work in wet or dry conditions. The expansion force of the concrete leveling foam coupled with the pressure of a specialized pump generate enough controlled force to lift virtually any structure back into position with 1/8” precision.

- From the Alchemy-Spetec blog post Polyurethane Slab Lifting Explained. (Read more and watch an animation that explains the slab lifting process in detail.)

If you own or manage a facility with loading docks, it is essential to understand the dangers of unstable concrete.  Warning signs include rocking, cracking, and unlevel seams between slabs.  If you notice any of these red flags, you need to contact a professional concrete repair contractor immediately. (For assistance on that front, contact Alchemy-Spetec at 404-618-0438.)

This very real risks of ignoring unstable loading dock slabs include:

  • Damage to vehicles and equipment.
  • Personal property damage.
  • Sudden slab collapse.
  • Trip hazards.
  • Employee injuries.
  • Limitless liability issues.

As industry experts consulting with contactors around the world, we've seen all these scenarios play out unfortunately.  Here's a photo from a slab collapse that prompted the owners to call in a contractor to inspect and stabilize the rest of their slabs...


Don't wait for this to happen on your property.  Contact Alchemy-Spetec at the first sign of any issue and let us help you find a contractor in your area!  Call now at 404-618-0438.

Want more information on warehouse & industrial slab repair?

Download an Info-Packed Warehouse & Industrial Slab Repair Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil

Specifications for Permeation Grouting with Polyurethane

Posted by Andy Powell on Aug 7, 2019 2:28:13 PM

Specifications for Permeation Grouting with Polyurethane

Specifications for Permeation Grouting with Polyurethane

Today, we’ll take a look at the specification Permeation Grouting with Polyurethane. The specification includes documentation on the following:

  • Stabilization, consolidation, and binding of water bearing soils through permeation injection of polyurethane resin creating a solid mass of soil and rigid resin.

  • Creation of a barrier in water bearing soils to reduce water migration through permeation injection of polyurethane resin creating a solid mass of soil and rigid resin.

Click this link, Permeation Grouting with Polyurethane, to view a PDF of the specification.  It thoroughly documents the installation process for one component, moisture activated, low viscosity, hydrophobic polyurethane (in our case, AP Soil 600 stabilization foam).  For a copy of the specification in Microsoft Word format, please call Alchemy-Spetec at 404-618-0438.

If you scroll to the bottom of the Alchemy-Spetec downloads page, you’ll see a list of engineering specifications for Concrete Repair with Polyurethane.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil, Engineer Resources

Jump Start Your New Concrete Leveling Business with Alchemy-Spetec's Fall 2019 Training

Posted by Andy Powell on Jul 22, 2019 3:32:29 PM

Jump Start Your New Concrete Leveling Business with Alchemy-Spetecs Fall 2019 Training

Jump Start Your New Concrete Leveling Business with Alchemy-Spetecs Fall 2019 Training (1)Jump start your concrete leveling business at Alchemy-Spetec's Fall 2019 Training!  As stated in our blog post on Starting a Slab Lifting Business...

We can start you on the journey of total preparation for success in slab lifting. Our experienced technical consultants can educate you on the causes of settled slabs, the process of repairing them, and critical facts about the polymer material on which your jobs will rely. You'll learn about trailer rig options, the MixMaster slab lifting gun, pump options and accessory equipment. We also offer tips on markering your business, estimating materials for jobs, and essential techniques for avoiding on-the-job problems.

In addition, you'll get an overview of polyurethane leak seal products and procedures!  Here's a complete schedule for both days...

Wednesday Oct. 9th - Leak Seal

  • Leak Seal Product Line Overview
  • Curtain Grouting
  • Permeation Grouting
  • Leak-Seal Product Mixing
  • Pump & Packer Overviews
  • Leak-Seal Accessories
  • Municipal Applications
  • Live Injection Demos
  • Open Discussions

Thursday Oct. 10th - Geotech

  • Geotech Product Line Overview
  • Soil Stabilization
  • Geotech Product Mixing
  • Rig & Mobile System Overviews
  • Geotechnical Accessories
  • Slab Lifting Live Demo
  • Deep Lift™ Overview
  • Soil Testing with the
  • GPR & Penetrometer
  • Maintenance Discussions
  • Pricing / Estimating / Cost Savings
  • Open Discussions
Click Here to Register NOW!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips

Outfitting a Spray Foam Rig for Slab Lifting

Posted by Andy Powell on Jul 19, 2019 2:55:57 PM

Outfitting a Spray Foam Rig for Slab Lifting

Outfitting a Spray Foam Rig for Slab Lifting

We’re often contacted by spray foam contractors looking to add slab lifting to their skill set.  One of the first questions we’re asked is “what new equipment do I need?”  The answer is “not much”.  With just a few pieces of new equipment, an existing spray foam rig can be converted for slab lifting.  Here’s all the equipment you need:

  • MixMaster Pro Slab Lifting Gun with Ports
  • Titan 440 Flush Pump with Hose
  • Dial Indicator Stand

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight! Spray foam insulation guns are made for the simple process of spraying foam at constant pressures. The MixMaster Pro slab lifting gun designed to deal with changing pressures and back pressure without backing up or crossing over. Issues like leaky port connections, constant cleaning, and constant fumbling around with a clamp can drastical­ly reduce production - adding a lot of man hours to each project. Not to mention long nights spent rebuilding and cleaning the gun after EVERY job. Kiss all that goodbye, with a leak-proof gun that handles back pressure and is bulit to last! The Titan 440 is a pre-grout injection water flush pump for flushing Alchemy-Spetec’s MixMaster slab lifting gun. The Dial Indicator Stand provides real-time lift measurement during the concrete slab leveling process.

For more guidance on getting into the slab lifting business, contact Alchemy-Spetec’s industry-leading tech support team at 404-618-0438.

Want more information on slab lifting products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips

Geotech Curriculum for 2019 Fall Training

Posted by Andy Powell on Jul 15, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Geotech Curriculum for 2019 Fall Training

Geotech Curriculum for 2019 Fall Training

Get ready for a thorough education in polyurethane slab lift/soil stabilization geotech products and applications on Thursday, October 10th (October 9th is leak seal day), 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience. Registration includes both days, but we’ll take a close look at the geotech curriculum in today’s blog post…

The schedule on Thursday, October 10th includes education on the Alchemy-Spetec geotech product line, soil stabilization, slab lifting, the Deep Lift™ process, rig & mobile lifting systems, geotech accessories, soil testing (ground penetrating radar, penetrometer), pricing and estimating. There will also be live geotech demos, product mixing demos, and open discussions for sharing job related tips and solutions from the field.

Your instructors have years of experience providing technical support for contractors across the country. You can look forward to presentations, demos and/or discussions lead by Stephen C. Barton (President/CEO), Jim Spiegel (VP Sales & Business Development), Andy Powell (Southeastern Regional Manager), Anthony Sandone (Eastern Regional Manager), and Charlie Lerman (Western Regional Manager). 

Participants will receive a Samsung tablet loaded with leak seal training material.

Sign up while there's still space available...

Click Here to Register NOW!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Deep Lift

Telltale Signs Your Seawall May Need Repairs

Posted by Andy Powell on Jun 26, 2019 3:22:15 PM

Telltale Signs Your Seawall May Need Repairs

Telltale Signs Your Seawall May Need RepairsSeawalls embody the very image of long-lasting endurance and stability. Without proper maintenance and repair, however, the reality can be a bit different.  If your seawall is showing any of the signs listed below, you may want to look into repair options.

Here some telltale signs your seawall may need repairs...

  • Clogged Weep Holes
    Weep holes are small openings in concrete structures that allow water from behind the seawall to drain through it.  If these holes get clogged with debris, water pressure can build up and cause the wall to eventually crack and fail (or cause the water to find ways around the wall).
  • Visible Rust Colored Cracks/Stains
    Rebar that has been exposed to water will stain the surrounding area. This causes the rebar to expand, further introducing cracks into the seawall and risking failure.

  • Sinkholes or Settling Concrete Near the Seawall
    Sinkholes or settling concrete appear due to loss of soil. This is essentially a feature of a compromised seawall in that water is seeping through or underneath the seawall, weakening the structure and contributing to soil erosion.

  • Sand or Soil Deposits on the Water Side of the Seawall
    These deposits will typically show up at the joints and are a sign that you are losing soil from behind the seawall.

Solution - Polyurethane Seawall Repair

I summed it up in this previous blog post An In-Depth Look at Polyurethane Seawall Repair...

Polyurethane installation equipment and procedures allow for a non-invasive, clean approach to repair that often allows the property owner to continue use during the process. In all cases, the property owner can resume activity on and around the structure within hours after a repair. As explained in our blog post Alchemy-Spetec's NSF Certification Spells Environmental Protection, most of our products have been rigorously tested not only for contact with typical recreational and commercial bodies of water, but even for contact with drinking water. So there is NO doubt about the environmentally friendly advantages of Alchemy-Spetec seawall repair materialsRead more...

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec seawall repair products and applications?

Download an Info-Packed Seawall Repair Brochure!

Topics: Repair Seawalls, All Posts

Alchemy-Spetec Geotech Resources

Posted by Andy Powell on May 17, 2019 3:25:43 PM

Alchemy-Spetec Geotech Resources

Alchemy-Spetec Geotech ResourcesSinking slabs and soil issues can cause both safety and property value problems. Alchemy-Spetec offers solutions for unlevel concrete and unstable soil.

Concrete Leveling

A structure is only as good as the foundation it’s built on. And regardless of how well-constructed a structure may be, most foundations settle. That’s just a fact of life. Erosion, shifting soil, compaction, and many other environmental conditions tend to cause settling. Sometimes structures settle gradually, and in other cases they’re swallowed up in minutes. These situations create problems for property owners and opportunities for the contractors who know how to fix them.

Alchemy-Spetec manufactures high-strength polyurethane lifting foams for slab jacking. Among the most dependable products for jacking and leveling concrete slabs, these two-component, high-strength, hydro-insensitive structural foams serve as an extremely effective solution for contractors.

Deep Lift Structure Leveling

Poor compaction, water erosion, broken pipes, and organic material in the soil can all lead to
settling of a foundation or a roadway. Traditional slab lifting can bring concrete and structures
back into place but it doesn’t necessarily address the underlying issue or guarantee a long
term fix. Other methods of addressing deep soil issues require heavy equipment, extended
down time, and collateral property damage. These situations create problems for property
owners as well as opportunities for the elite contractors that know how to fix them.

Alchemy-Spetec offers a unique combination of high-strength polyurethane structural lifting foams along with the equipment and training needed to address deep soil issues. Now you can achieve soil densification and lifting on large projects with the smallest footprint and least amount of heavy equipment required.  The Deep Lift™ process is powerful, painless, and rapid. Deep Lift™ gets to the root of the problems in the soil, it brings the structure back to level, and accomplishes this with minimal imposition or downtime to the property owner.

Soil Stabilization

Unstable soil can be defined as soil that will not stay in place on its own, and therefore requires
extra support. It should be noted that unstable soil can threaten the stability, security,
and safety of infrastructure and can damage, degrade, and even destroy a number of structures,
such as buildings, bridges, and roads. There are a variety of factors that can cause unstable
soil including erosion, poor compaction, freeze/thaw cycles and decomposition.

Soil can be stabilized high strength polyurethane stabilization foams.  Once the bearing capacity of the
soil has been increased with this process, then the structure can be lifted if necessary.

Want more geotech resources?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Download an Info-Packed Deep Lift Brochure!

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, Deep Lift

Working on Dams and Locks with Spetec Leak Seal Resins

Posted by Andy Powell on May 2, 2019 3:40:30 PM

Working on Dams and Locks with Spetec Leak Seal Resins

Working on Dams and Locks with Spetec Leak Seal ResinsIn a structure that holds water, you need something flexible to inject into cracks or joints. These types of structures are usually above ground and exposed to changing temperatures. As concrete heats up during the day it expands; joints and cracks squeeze together. As it cools, the concrete shrinks and joints and cracks open up. Thus, you need an injection foam that has flexibility to handle the movement.  You also need to do the injection work in the early hours of the day. Some contractors have injected cracks in the afternoon; stopping leaks, only to find them leaking again in the morning. 

For these scenarios, we recommend the Spetec PUR GT500 or Spetec PUR F400.  The GT500 is hydrophilic and absorbs some water during the reaction. In a tight crack or joint it's great and has minimal shrinkage if it dries out.  It has lower expansion, maybe 4-6x by volume, so for wide joints it may take more product and will likely require oakum to retain the resin in the joint. It does not have an adjustable set time. 

The F400 is a flexible hydrophobic. It combines higher expansion properties with flexibility. It also has a catalyst which allows you to adjust the set time. The F400 is excellent for crack injection, joint injection (especially larger joints), and infrastructure injection as well.  It does not shrink because it's hydrophobic and unaffected if no moisture is present. 

Now let’s talk a little about hydrostatic pressure. Most injection work is done less than 40' below the water level and head pressure is less than 20 psi. Considering we recommend injecting with pumps capable of 3000+ psi, getting the product in the crack is not the problem. The challenge is keeping the polyurethane in the crack or joint long enough for it to set up. That's where experience comes into play. The contractor must know how to adjust the set time, how to drill the injection holes properly, how to use oakum, and how long to inject on a single packer/port.   

We have not seen failures on dams or locks where pressure blew out the polyurethane. Dams across the globe have been injected this way. Where we do see failures (continued leaks, not blowouts) is when the wrong material is selected, or the injections are done during the hotter hours of the day. In fact, some water authorities only inject during the cold months of the year.

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec leak seal products?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Essential Tips for Starting a Polyurethane Slab Lifting Business

Posted by Andy Powell on Apr 24, 2019 2:13:18 PM

Essential Tips for Starting a Polyurethane Slab Lifting Business

Pursuing the dream of starting your own polyurethane slab lifting business is a big leap. But it's not nearly so intimidating when you're armed with the right information. In this post I'll cover available slab lifting markets, marketing strategies for your lifting business, and estimating materials for a job.

Essential Tips for Starting a Polyurethane Slab Lifting Business

Polyurethane Slab Lifting Markets

Residential Slab Jacking

The residential market offers tremendous opportunities for the slab lifting contractor. Obviously there are driveways, foundations, patios, pools, and porches. Don’t think residential only includes houses. There are countless opportunities in the apartment and condo sectors as well.

Commercial-Industrial Slab Jacking

Because scenarios for slab lifting are infinite in the non-residential category, we list commercial and industrial together. Concrete parking lots, showroom floors, industrial park walkways and an endless supply of huge warehouse floors are just the tip of the iceberg in this potentially lucrative market.

Slab Jacking for the Transportation Sector

Last but not least, there's the transportation sector. The world is covered with miles and miles of concrete roads, highways, bridge approach slabs, and railroad support slabs.  A large percentage of them have settled in one spot or another (and the rest are vulnerable to future settling). Read more in the post Identifying Common Markets for Slab Jacking with Polyurethane.

There will NEVER be enough slab lifting contractors out there to address ALL of these current and future slab lifting needs.  Your fortune awaits...(IF you know what you’re doing).

Marketing Your Slab Lifting Business

Maintaining A Well Designed, Search Engine Optimized Website

Professional design, photography and content will help you stay competitive and either depict you as a confident, articulate leader in your field or just the opposite (if it's not well designed). It is also imperative to make sure that your website is Search Engine Optimized. Designing a search friendly site for your industry niche and market location will make a world of difference in the amount of leads you capture via your online presence.

Attracting Leads with a Blog

Posting blog articles regularly allows you to cast a wide net with lots of SEO friendly post pages. It's also a great way to share your knowledge and build trust in the market as an industry expert. If you offer more value (such as an info-packed brochure) in exchange for contact info, you can increase your leads dramatically. Blogs are a gift that keeps on giving, because the posts stay up and attract new leads forever. Read all about this extremely effective marketing technique in our blog post How to Promote Your Contracting Business with a Blog.

Targeted Local Advertisements

Setting up a Google Ads account to target your market and placing ads in local publications are effective ways of getting the word out in your local market. If you’re aware of a specific problem occurring in your area, such as sinkholes, you can even highlight that issue in your advertising. Read more marketing tips in the post Marketing Your Slab Lifting Business.

Advertising on Contractor Referral Sites

Because you’re putting yourself in front of customers who are actively seeking your services, you can increase your marketing ROI compared to other methods such as cold calling, print advertising, etc. In addition, referred customers are typically less price sensitive than cold call prospects. Referral sites are also a great way to build your reputation by accumulating positive reviews from customers. Read more about this approach in our blog post How to Market Your Contracting Business with Referral Sites.

Exhibiting at Home Shows

Home shows are a great place to meet potential customers and even affiliate partners. Contractors tell us over and over again that home shows are a GREAT source for leads. Take a look at our blog post on marketing at home shows

Presenting at Professional Associations

Giving presentations at local chapters of professional associations is a great way to network, meet potential customers and lead sources. Look into organizations serving property maintenance professionals, building managers, property owners, real estate professionals, etc. Establish yourself as a local expert and people will come to you when they have slab settlement problems. 

Estimating Materials for Jobs

Material Calculation

Through a combination of easy calculations, product information, and some site considerations, you should be able to estimate your slab lifting materials without too much trouble. Fortunately, Alchemy-Spetec has a simple estimating app that allows you to calculate the lifting material you'll need in a few easy steps. Read the blog post on our estimating app for more info.

Specific Considerations

Beyond the geometry required to estimate lifting the slab, you must take into account some job specific considerations. This is where it becomes critical to qualify the volume of material included in your proposal. And just as important, this is where you need to make sure you have included enough so you get the job done right and don’t have to go back to the customer asking for more money. Sometimes that’s unavoidable if you encounter surprises; but by keeping a few considerations in mind this can often be avoided. For help on specific considerations, contact your tech support rep at 404-618-0438 today.

Include Contingency Material

Typically for a lifting job without other considerations besides the lifting volume, we recommend adding an additional 10- 15% onto your material estimate to cover yourself. Just make sure you do a thorough evaluation of the conditions and possibilities so you don’t underestimate the job and have to go back to the property owner with your hand out. Read more in the post Estimating Materials for Slab Jacking.

Want more information on slab lifting?

 Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Business Tips