Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Leak Mitigation of Dynamic Cracks in Concrete

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Jul 10, 2019 11:12:23 AM

 Leak Mitigation of Dynamic Cracks in Concrete

 Leak Mitigation of Dynamic Cracks in Concrete

Concrete will crack – that is a fact. When cracks appear, they are dynamic or static, and structural or non-structural. If the crack is static, non-structural, and does not leak, epoxies are great to restore design strength. However, since concrete constantly shrinks, expands, and often leaks, the use of a flexible polyurethane resin to permanently seal active leaks is the optimum choice to create a leak-free environment.

Water leaking through concrete is as old as concrete itself. Any leaking structure is problematic. These issues range from reduced lifespan to liability and lawsuits. This paper will discuss the mitigation of leaking structures to facilitate its coating. Often, these cracks are dynamic in nature. Static or structural repair of dynamic cracks will fail when the concrete needs to “move” again. Flexible polyurethane grouts can be used to mitigate water intrusion. This will extend the life of the structure and is a crucial step in surface preparation for most coatings.

Why Concrete Cracks

Concrete will crack - that is a fact. But to treat the crack, you need to understand the nature of cracking. There are four categories of cracks: static, dynamic, structural and non-structural.  A crack normally falls into two of the four categories. Just as the names imply, a static crack is non-moving, and a dynamic crack moves. Structural cracks place the integrity of the structure in jeopardy, while non-structural cracks can be eyesores and allow water infiltration. 

Static cracks are the result of a one-time event. This may be a thermal or shrinkage crack that formed while the concrete cured, or from a damaging event like a car hitting the concrete.  Typically, these structures do not move which is the driving force to why they are no longer used today.

Dynamic cracks expand and contract due to reoccurring force(s). The forces include, but are not limited to, freeze/thaw cycles, rapid thermal changes, loading of the concrete, and expansive soils. If the joint’s design was not adequate to deal with these forces, the concrete will often crack. “Cracking in concrete is affected by the long-term conditions to which the concrete element is subjected. In most cases, long-term exposure and long-term loading extend the magnitude of cracks, principally their width, in both reinforced and plain concrete." (ACI 22R-01 2001).

External forces are usually repetitive and cause the crack to expand and contract. These cracks are not a structural concern, but water infiltration through these cracks can be a serious problem.

Epoxy vs. Flexible Polyurethane

In spite of the best efforts of the architect, engineer and contractor, structures will sometimes move in unanticipated ways causing cracks to appear. Resin can be injected into the concrete to accomplish one of two purposes:

  1. Restore design strength
  2. Stop water leakage

If load bearing members such as walls, beams or columns are weakened, injection of high strength epoxies may be appropriate. However, more often than not, the concern with cracking is water infiltration. Epoxies are designed to be strong with little to no elongation, and chemically bond the concrete back together which is not appropriate for a dynamic, leaking crack. Epoxy will be stronger than the concrete and will cause the concrete to crack nearby. Lastly, the majority of epoxies are water intolerant and not suitable for waterproofing.

Crack / Joint Injection

Examination of the crack or joint after cleaning tells us where the crack goes and how wide it is. The surface should be cleaned mechanically. Loose debris or patches should be removed to reveal the crack. To maximize results, it is best to inject an actively leaking crack.

Injection should start from the lowest point of a vertical crack or the narrowest side of a horizontal crack. Injection holes should be drilled at a distance away from the crack that is equal to half the wall’s thickness (Example: If the wall is 8” thick, drill your hole 4” from the crack). This forms an isosceles right triangle when drilling at a 45 degree angle, and ideally intersects the crack or joint at its halfway point through the wall.

A low viscosity, flexible polyurethane grout should be injected.  Polyurethane grout will react with water to form a “custom gasket” that has three different bonds - adhesive, mechanical, and compressive. “The aim of all injection processes is to obtain uniform penetration of the resin and complete filling of the crack.” (Perkins 2003). Urethanes are very chemical resistant, but always check with the manufacturer about specific chemical resistances for a project.

Patience is important in resin injection work - slow is better. Always start injecting with the pump set at the lowest setting.  I like to say “If crack injection is not slow and painful, you are doing it wrong.”

Case Study: Vault Coating Failure

A below grade concrete precast vault was epoxy coated during a summer, the dry season, in the Pacific Northwest. The following winter coating failure was observed only at the joint.  There was also indication of water intrusion and rundown (see Photo 1).

Leak Mitigation of Dynamic Cracks in Concrete 1

Photo 1
Inspection of the vault lead to the belief the failure was caused be water intrusion through the precast joint. In 2012 the joint was injected with a flexible hydrophobic grout (Photo 2).

Leak Mitigation of Dynamic Cracks in Concrete 2

Photo 2
After a number of months of observation with no water intrusion the coating was repaired and is still in service till today with no defects.

Curtain Grouting

Curtain grouting is a method of installing a waterproofing membrane on the positive side of a below-grade structure without excavation. Curtain grouting is appropriate when there is spider web cracking or extensive cracking of the concrete.  It is not possible to address a large number of cracks in proximity with crack injection due to the number of injection holes needed.  Often, curtain grouting is easier than crack injection, but more material intensive.  Curtain grouting is an excellent fix because even if the concrete continues to crack, there will be no leaks as the water is no longer in contact with the structure.

Summary

A coating manufacturer once stated “It is estimated that 85%+ coating and lining failures are due to inadequate surface preparation.” Moisture mitigation is a large percentage of that and must be addressed.  For dynamic cracks, flexible polyurethanes are one of the best repair methods out there.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec leak seal products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Repair Cracks

Announcing Fall 2019 Infrastructure Repair Training

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Jun 12, 2019 2:40:34 PM

ANNOUNCING FALL 2019 INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR TRAINING

ANNOUNCING FALL 2019 INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR TRAININGLeak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

October 9th & 10th, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

Get ready for a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Wednesday - 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 - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

Stephen C. Barton (President/CEO), Jim Spiegel (VP Sales & Business Development), Andy Powell (Southeastern Regional Manager), Anthony Sandone (Eastern Regional Manager), Charlie Lerman (Western Regional Manager), and Michael Binyaminov (Western Sales Representative). 

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Last Chance to Register for Next Week's Leak Seal and Geotech Training

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Mar 8, 2019 1:50:10 PM

Last Chance to Register for Next Week's Leak Seal and Geotech Training

Last Chance to Register for Next Week's Leak Seal and Geotech Training

Leak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

Last chance to register!

Get ready for a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Thursday - 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

Friday - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

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). Each instructor is a seasoned professional with at least a decade of experience in the industry.

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, NSF Certification, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Comprehensive Leak Seal AND Geotech Training at Alchemy-Spetec HQ

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Mar 6, 2019 10:44:40 AM

Comprehensive Leak Seal AND Geotech Training at Alchemy-Spetec HQ

Comprehensive Leak Seal AND Geotech Training at Alchemy-Spetec HQ

Leak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

Balance your skill set with Leak Seal AND Geotech training!

Get ready for a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Thursday - 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

Friday - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

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). Each instructor is a seasoned professional with at least a decade of experience in the industry.  

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, NSF Certification, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

A Few Spots Left for 2019 Spring Training on March 14th & 15th

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Mar 4, 2019 3:03:41 PM

A Few Spots Left for 2019 Spring Training on March 14th & 15th

A Few Spots Left for 2019 Spring Training on March 14th & 15th

Leak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

Only a few spots left! 

Get ready for a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Thursday - 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

Friday - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

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). Each instructor is a seasoned professional with at least a decade of experience in the industry.  

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, NSF Certification, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Presentations and Group Discussions at 2019 Spring Training

Posted by Jim Spiegel on Feb 27, 2019 2:54:56 PM

tech rep- banner-1

Presentations and Group Discussions at 2019 Spring Training-blog

Leak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

The best classroom learning in the business! 

Informative presentations and group discussions packed with practical application instructions, business tips and more.

Get a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll also get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Thursday - 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

Friday - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

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). Each instructor is a seasoned professional with at least a decade of experience in the industry.  

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, NSF Certification, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Product Mixing Demos at 2019 Spring Training

Posted by Anthony Sandone on Feb 22, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Alchemy-Spetec Spring Contractor Training 2019 Mixing-Demos-Banner-Graphic

Leak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

Alchemy-Spetec Spring Contractor Training 2019 Mixing-Demos-Body-GraphicSee live product mixing demos!

Get a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll also get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Thursday - 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

Friday - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

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). Each instructor is a seasoned professional with at least a decade of experience in the industry.  

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, NSF Certification, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Announcing Spring 2019 Infrastructure Repair Training

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Feb 13, 2019 5:06:30 PM

Leak Seal & Geotech Training Event - March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA. A thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Leak Seal & Geotech Products & Procedures

March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA

Get ready for a thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.

Leak Seal & Geotech Training Event - March 14 & 15, 2019 at Alchemy-Spetec HQ in Tucker, GA. A thorough education in Leak Seal, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization and the Alchemy-Spetec Deep Lift™ process. You’ll get hands-on training from a technical staff with decades of on-the-job experience.Thursday - 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

Friday - 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!

Participants receive a Samsung tablet loaded with training material.

Your Instructors:

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). Each instructor is a seasoned professional with at least a decade of experience in the industry.  

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Announcing the Geotech and Leak Seal Product Catalogs

Posted by Jim Spiegel on Oct 17, 2018 10:34:54 AM

Alchemy-Spetec products will now officially be promoted under the Leak Seal and Geotech lines.  As holds true with most mergers (Alchemy Polymers and Spetec formed Alchemy-Spetec in 2017), the integration of products and services can take time.  This rebrand will be reflected in two separate product catalogs.  One for Leak Seal products and one for Geotech products. We are confident that the two-catalog offering is the best solution for our partners and customers.

Alchemy-Spetec products will now officially be promoted under the Leak Seal and Geotech lines.  As holds true with most mergers (Alchemy Polymers and Spetec formed Alchemy-Spetec in 2017), the integration of products and services can take time.  This rebrand will be reflected in two separate product catalogs.  One for Leak Seal products and one for Geotech products. We are confident that the two-catalog offering is the best solution for our partners and customers. Alchemy-Spetec products will now officially be promoted under the Leak Seal and Geotech lines.  As holds true with most mergers (Alchemy Polymers and Spetec formed Alchemy-Spetec in 2017), the integration of products and services can take time.  This rebrand will be reflected in two separate product catalogs.  One for Leak Seal products and one for Geotech products. We are confident that the two-catalog offering is the best solution for our partners and customers. 

Both product types are now easily discernible by the Spetec or AP nomenclature in which Spetec represents Leak Seal, and AP represents Geotech. 

The Geotech line encompasses all two-part rigid polyurethanes used for void filling, slab lifting, permeation grouting, and soil stabilization; as well as acrylic grout used for permeation grouting, and all associated pumping equipment and accessories. Due to the technical support requirements of geotechnical applications in terms of equipment use, accessory setup, and application technique, this line will remain a direct sale to contractors performing slab lifting and soil modification applications.  

Conversely, the Leak Seal line remains a distributor sale through our continued support of distribution partners.  The Leak Seal line encompasses all water-activated grouts, acrylic grouts, waterstop products, mechanical packers and ports, and all associated dispensing equipment.   Since structural repair products are also sold through distribution, they are included in the Leak Seal catalog.

If you have any questions about the Alchemy-Spetec Leak Seal or Geotech product lines, please contact Jim Spiegel at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for further assistance. 

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec Leak Seal products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec Geotech products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Repair Seawalls, Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Repair Cracks, Waterstop, Deep Lift, Floor Repair

Polyurethanes vs. Epoxies: To Drill or Not to Drill

Posted by Anthony Sandone on Jan 12, 2018 11:58:05 AM

Polyurethanes vs. Epoxies

Polyurethanes vs. EpoxiesPorts are generally used to deliver resinous material and seal vertical or overhead cracks in concrete with epoxy or polyurethane chemical grout. 

Using Ports with Epoxy

For epoxy applications, ports are set directly over or into the crack. Epoxy is injected directly into the crack. A low viscosity epoxy needs to get at least 90% penetration and fill of the crack for a structural repair. It is not necessary to drill into the crack to set the ports for epoxy injection. “Top Hat” ports can be used to set and seal cracks. This seal creates a reservoir for the epoxy by not allowing any of the resin to leak out during and after injection.

Using Ports with Polyurethane

Polyurethane crack injection is done differently. Holes are drilled at a 45 degree angle to the crack in an attempt to meet the crack at its mid-point in the concrete membrane. Injecting the grout into the mid-point of the crack allows for expansion in all directions for a complete seal.

For polyurethane curtain wall grouting, holes are drilled completely through the wall in a pre-determined grid pattern and ports are set for the injection site. This method allows the crack or joint to be sealed from behind the wall. It is important to make sure you know where the steel reinforcing, possible post-tensioned cables, electrical conduit or any other systems that may be in or behind the wall are before drilling.

Polyurethanes and Epoxies

As mentioned in a previous blog, Polyurethanes vs. Epoxies, there are many different situations requiring either product type. The choice depends on the project at hand and the depth of your product knowledge.

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, Seal Leaks, Repair Cracks