Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Alchemy-Spetec NSF Certification Spells Peace of Mind for Stakeholders

Posted by Andy Powell on Oct 24, 2018 4:30:27 PM

Alchemy-Spetec is already known for providing the most powerful polymers and painless procedures contractors need to achieve the rapid results their projects demand. However, on construction projects of almost any scope and size, ensuring the safety of public drinking water is also mission-critical.

Alchemy-Spetec is already known for providing the most powerful polymers and painless procedures contractors need to achieve the rapid results their projects demand. However, on construction projects of almost any scope and size, ensuring the safety of public drinking water is also mission-critical.

Alchemy-Spetec is already known for providing the most powerful polymers and painless procedures contractors need to achieve the rapid results their projects demand.

However, on construction projects of almost any scope and size, ensuring the safety of public drinking water is also mission-critical. That's why the following Alchemy-Spetec' polyurethane resin products have received the official NSF seal of approval for contact with drinking water: 

AP Lift 430

AP Lift 475

AP Soil 600

AP Fill 700

Spetec PUR H100

Spetec PUR H200

Spetec PUR F400

Spetec PUR GT500

Spetec PUR HighFoamer

Spetec AG200

This single designation ensures compliance with the Safe Water Drinking Act (SDWA) and guarantees peace of mind for in-the-field stakeholders on construction projects of almost any scope and size.

The SDWA helps ensure the water we drink, bathe in, cook with, and use in myriad other ways in daily life is safe for consumption. The federal law was put in place to maintain public health standards for drinking water systems. It defines what is considered a contaminant – both man-made and naturally occurring; and outlines the agencies responsible for regulating, monitoring, and enforcing adherence to the law, primarily the Environmental Protection Agency.

The SDWA gives the EPA latitude to impose criminal and civil penalties on industries not in compliance. In 2014 enforcement efforts policing clean water netted $163 million in penalties and fines, 155 combined years of incarceration for sentenced defendants, and $16 million in court-ordered project clean-ups.

Because so many of those defined contaminants are pertinent to even the most basic construction projects – turbidity from soil runoff, leaching from PVC pipes, potentially harmful and corrosive chemicals, and more – understanding and adhering to the law is particularly important for industry stakeholders. Contractors and engineers must be able to confidently choose vendors whose products and services won’t become the source or cause of drinking water contamination either in the short or long-term. NSF certification offers assurance that such problems won’t occur or will, at a minimum, be addressed.

“NSF, an independent, private, not-for-profit, third-party certification organization founded in 1944, has developed numerous health-based certification programs and consensus standards including those that relate to drinking water,” reads an NSF compliance brief. “The purpose of its certification program is to promote public health and enrich the quality of life. Through its Council of Public Health and Health Advisory Board, which includes EPA health professionals, it obtains guidance in developing and maintaining programs and standards. NSF also partners with code councils to ensure ongoing compliance.”

The products Alchemy-Spetec offers that can help net the most reliable and cost-effective results for contractors. NSF-certified products and materials are evaluated and lab-tested, and production facilities such as our own are inspected and annually audited for re-testing to maintain certification.

Alchemy-Spetec voluntarily undergoing such a rigorous certification process is invaluable to customers because it provides assurance that, at the end of the day, our arsenal of products are not only the top-performers in the market, but also protectors of the environment.  Powerful polymers, painless procedures, rapid results!

Want in-depth info on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, NSF Certification, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil

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

We Can Help You Find a Geotech Contractor

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Oct 12, 2018 5:25:47 PM

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Are you a property owner/manager looking for a geotech contractor to help you with unstable soil, sinking slabs or structures, etc?  As a leading manufacturer of polyurethane lifting and stabilization products, we sell to contractors all over the United States.  Wherever your property is located, we likely know a contractor in your area who can provide an estimate for repairing your geotech problem. 

For a brief overview of the types of services these contractors may offer, see the video below...

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec slab lifting products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil, All Posts

5 Warning Signs a Structure May Need Slab Lifting or Stabilization

Posted by Andy Powell on Sep 24, 2018 11:52:22 AM

Do you know the 5 warning signs of when a structure may need slab lifting or stabilization? Read more to find out...

Do you know the 5 warning signs of when a structure may need slab lifting or stabilization? Read more to find out...

A home or commercial building 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. Shifting soil compaction and many other environmental conditions that tend to cause settling, however, should ideally be stabilized before significant structural damage is done.

One or two minor hairline or shrinkage cracks shouldn’t necessarily send off any warning bells – though both merit monitoring. But multiple or widening cracks indicate more serious problems and may lead to additional damage. For the property owner, this can disrupt business, displace occupancy, and cause a domino-effect of infrastructure woes serious enough to break the bank. Or worse. Litigation can result if preventative action isn’t taken before loss or injuries occur.

These factors alone make acting sooner rather than later imperative. Stabilization and lifting are key solutions to consider in cases of foundation or slab distress. How can you know for sure if slab lifting or soil stabilization is needed? Watch for these five warning signs:

Bulging or Cracked Floors

It’s estimated that 60 percent of homes built on expansive soils result in shifting and heaving in all or even just part of the foundation. One can’t-miss sign of distress caused by wobbly soil compaction is buckling and bulging wood floors or evidence of cracking concrete in other types of flooring.

Cracked Walls

When soil moisture levels are all over the map, you can be sure that problems will ensue. Poor drainage, soil decomposition, naturally occurring conditions, nearby sewer line damage, underground aquifers – all can play a role in fluctuating soil moisture levels that lead to foundational settling. Cracked sheetrock or concrete walls are a warning sign that trouble is brewing underneath the surface.

Sticking Doors

When doors suddenly start sticking or won’t easily open or close, it’s a sign that either moisture levels are causing the door to swell or something in the structural frame has shifted. And that something might very well be the foundation.

Displaced Moldings

Look up toward the ceiling or down at the floor for moldings that may have gone wonky, jutting this way or that.

Leaning Trees, Fence Posts, Etc.

It’s hard not to notice a tree, fencepost, mailbox, or flagpole that is leaning like the Tower of Pisa. If you don't associate this abnormality with foundational distress, you should. It can be a sign of sinkholes – the kind that gape and maw without warning. If the site you're evaluating is in what is known as karst terrain, which about one-fifth of the nation is, it's susceptible to sinkholes. Likewise if there are abandoned coal or other mines, sewer construction or groundwater pumping nearby. All are signs that further investigation may be needed, pronto.

Want in-depth info on slab lifting procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil

The Causes of Unstable Soil: Decomposition

Posted by Andy Powell on Sep 10, 2018 1:21:29 PM

When soil has a high concentration of organic materials, it will naturally begin to decompose. When soil begins to decompose and shift, it can affect the structural stability of any surrounding building. Sinkholes, unstable soil, and low spots are all indications of soil decomposition. Read more...

When soil has a high concentration of organic materials, it will naturally begin to decompose. When soil begins to decompose and shift, it can affect the structural stability of any surrounding building. Sinkholes, unstable soil, and low spots are all indications of soil decomposition. Read more...

When the residue of plants or animals is converted into soil, the process is known as decomposition. Bacteria, fungi, and worms break down this residue, taking nutrients from them and leaving the remaining portion. Organic molecules are broken down into simpler inorganic molecules. This biological process changes the makeup of the soil and can therefore lead to soil instability.

What are the causes of decomposition?

When soil has a high concentration of organic materials, the soil will naturally begin to decompose. Throughout this process of decomposition, the mass and form of these organic materials will change. Up to 90 percent of organic material will actually disappear over the course of the decomposition process, which means the mass of the soil will decrease substantially, reducing the quantity of available soil. The causes of decomposition can be broken into two main groups: manmade and natural. Trash pits or buried construction debris can cause manmade decomposition, while tree stumps and peat content can cause natural decomposition. 

What are signs of decomposition?

Sinkholes, unstable soil, and low spots are all indications of soil decomposition. When soil begins to decompose and shift, it can affect the structural stability of a building, compromising the integrity of foundations and manmade structures. 

How can decomposition be addressed?

In some cases, it is possible to dig up the cause of decomposition. For example, it might be possible to extricate a trash pit or old construction debris from the soil. However, in some cases this simply isn’t feasible. You can’t easily extricate a trash pit after you have already built on top of it. If removal isn’t an option, the best solution is to envelope the area with a high concentration of organic material using expansive polyurethane. This process is known as encapsulation, and it essentially works to compact the area and reduce the amount of oxygen and water that can get to it, thereby helping to slow decomposition.

Want in-depth info on soil stabilization procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

The Causes of Unstable Soil: Freezing and Thawing

Posted by Andy Powell on Sep 7, 2018 11:34:58 AM

For construction engineers and contractors, freezing and thawing can prove to be incredibly problematic. Freeze and thaw cycles accelerate soil instability which causes structures, such as roadways, railways, foundations, and pipeline supports, to sink. This can cause major headaches. Read more...

For construction engineers and contractors, freezing and thawing can prove to be incredibly problematic. Freeze and thaw cycles accelerate soil instability which causes structures, such as roadways, railways, foundations, and pipeline supports, to sink. This can cause major headaches. Read more...

What is freezing and thawing?

As the name suggests, freezing and thawing refers to a natural phenomena in which soil freezes in cold weather and then thaws out again once the temperature warms up. Freezing and thawing in northern climates is good news for farmers, as it helps to loosen up the soil and reduce compaction, which makes it easier for crop roots to grow. However, for construction engineers and contractors, freezing and thawing can prove to be incredibly problematic, especially if they are building on fine-grained soils with silt or clay factions, which are more prone to freezing and thawing.

What are the problems associated with freezing and thawing?

Essentially, freezing and thawing cycles accelerate soil instability. Soil with pores containing small particles of frozen water, is known as permafrost. Building on permafrost is fine, as long as the soil stays frozen, but things become problematic once the permafrost begins to thaw. Freezing and thawing of permafrost causes soil to become soft and less compact. Subsequently, this causes structures, such as roadways, railways, foundations, and pipeline supports, to sink. Obviously, this can cause major headaches.

How can the problem of freezing and thawing be mitigated?

Structural polyurethane such as AP Lift 475 can be used to raise settled structures and compact the ground. In addition, permeation grout such as AP Soil 600 is now being looked at as an option to displace water particles in the soil pores. Depending on the soil type, this could prevent frost heave, resulting in a stronger, more consistent base to build on.

Want in-depth info on soil stabilization procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

The Causes of Unstable Soil: Poor Compaction

Posted by Andy Powell on Sep 5, 2018 12:05:53 PM

When soil does not adequately compact, the problem is known as poor compaction. There are a variety of causes of poor soil compaction. However, much of it boils down to soil texture and soil properties. Read more...

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Many types of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, buildings, etc., depend on compacted soil in order to stay in place. Therefore, in order for these structures to last, a specific degree of compaction must be achieved. When soil does not adequately compact, the problem is known as poor compaction, and that can lead to more serious issues. Concrete repair contractors always need to be on the lookout for signs of poor compaction which include settling slabs, cracking foundations, and dips in roadways and railroads.

What causes poor soil compaction?

There are a variety of causes of poor soil compaction. However, much of it boils down to soil texture and soil properties. Some soils are more prone to compaction than others. Excess soil salt content, high clay fraction soils, low pH soils, and soils with high water content tend to compact less favorably. It should also be noted that decisions made by construction contractors and their teams can also influence soil compaction. For example, failure to select proper compaction equipment or compaction materials can contribute to poor compaction. Furthermore, some areas are more prone to poor compaction than others, such as portions of soil set against a foundation.

How can poor soil compaction be corrected?

Luckily, poor compaction can be corrected. The solution is to strengthen the soil to the point that it is properly compacted. As mentioned in the previous post, AP Soil 600, AP Lift 475 and AP Fill 700 are a few products that may be appropriate. Contact Alchemy-Spetec for expert advice at 404-618-0438 if you are currently facing a soil stabilization issue.

Want in-depth info on soil stabilization procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

The Causes of Unstable Soil: Erosion

Posted by Andy Powell on Aug 31, 2018 10:32:59 AM

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What is erosion? In geological terms, erosion can be defined as an exogenic process that moves a portion of the earth’s crust from one location to another. Read more...What is erosion?

In geological terms, erosion can be defined as exogenic process that moves a portion of the earth’s crust from one location to another. Exogenic process refers to a range of different processes, including water flow, wind, and even human action, that move dirt, soil, rock, etc. They are called exogenic processes because they originate outside of the earth’s crust, or externally. In more practical terms, erosion can best be described as the way in which the earth is worn away by water, wind, or ice. So when a river carves a canyon out of stone (such as when the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon in Arizona over the course of thousands of years), that is an example of erosion. The formation of sand dunes by the wind moving across the desert is also an example of erosion, as are changes in rocks along a shoreline due to the constant thrashing of waves. 

Why does erosion cause unstable soil?

You’ve probably heard that erosion is dangerous because it causes unstable soil. It is important to remember that consequences of erosion can potentially be dramatic, causing landslides and structural damage. After investing money in the construction of a building, the last thing you want is for unstable soil to put the whole project at risk. 

How can erosion be repaired?

Voids can be filled, soil consolidated, and water migration halted by permeating the soil with one of the ultra low viscosity polymer resins in our AP Soil series of resins. Once the bearing capacity of the soil has been increased with this process, then the structure can be lifted if necessary. For example, AP Soil 600 is a one component resin that requires no catalyst. This resin encapsulates and strengthens loose soil, is water tight, and environmentally friendly. Other AP products used in soil stabilization/void fill include AP Lift 475 and AP Fill 700.

Want in-depth info on soil stabilization procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

The Causes of Unstable Soil: A Brief Overview

Posted by Andy Powell on Aug 29, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Unstable soil can threaten the stability, security, and safety of infrastructures and can damage, degrade, and even destroy a number of structures. There are a variety of factors that can cause unstable soil. Read more...

Unstable soil can threaten the stability, security, and safety of infrastructures and can damage, degrade, and even destroy a number of structures. There are a variety of factors that can cause unstable soil. Read more...

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.

Let's look at the four main causes of unstable soil...

Erosion

Erosion refers to processes in which external elements (wind, water, etc.) remove soil or rock from a certain location and transport it to another location. There are a variety of different erosion types, including river and gull erosion, wind erosion, and erosion attributed to human activity. Erosion ultimately destabilizes soil and can lead to landslides and sinkholes.

Poor Compaction

One of the most common causes of unstable soil is poor compaction. In some cases, certain types of soil are simply very loose and subsequently not compact. The cause of this is typically an imbalance of mineral pieces, organic matter, air, and water. For example, a clay soil with very high moisture content will inevitably become instable, as it will be incredibly difficult to compact. Similarly, soils with high sand content will be difficult to compact.

Freeze/Thaw

Processes of freezing and thawing essentially accelerate erosion processes. Cold weather freezes moisture trapped in tiny cracks. When this water freezes, it expands, subsequently pushing on the rocks and breaking them into smaller pieces. As processes of freezing and thawing continue, rock and sediment are continually broken down.

Decomposition

When soils contain a high concentration of organic materials, such as topsoil and plant matter, it will decompose, subsequently causing it to become unstable. This is because organic materials rapidly change form and mass as they decompose in soil. In fact, up to 90 percent of organic material will disappear over the course of the decomposition process.

Fortunately, stability can be restored to soil with ultra-low viscosity polyurethane resins. Foaming and permeation polyurethanes can mitigate the damage done by processes of erosion, decomposition, and freezing and thawing, as well as help to rectify compaction problems. When it comes to unstable soil, you can’t afford to take a risk. Stable soil is crucial to maintaining secure structures.

Want in-depth info on soil stabilization procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

Soil Grouting - Polyurethane vs. Water

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Aug 27, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Not all two-component polyurethane lifting and stabilizing foams are specifically designed for wet environments. Find out why...

Not all two-component polyurethane lifting and stabilizing foams are specifically designed for wet environments. Find out why...

Not all two-component polyurethane lifting and stabilizing foams are specifically designed for wet environments.  In most situations when you are injecting polyurethane foam into the ground, there is a high probability that the environment is going to be wet.  You need to be confident that the foam will react and retain the desired properties in these wet environments.  If the foam you are using is not specifically designed for wet environments, then you may be cheating yourself and your customer out of the best possible results.

All polyurethane foams are going to undergo a density change when introduced to water.  This is precisely because the isocyanate (A component) in polyurethane reacts faster with water than it reacts with the polyol (B component).  Some will undergo drastic changes and some minor changes.  It is important to feel confident that the foam you are using will only undergo minor changes.  The density of the foam is very important because density correlates to foam strength, and you are relying on that strength to support the structure you are lifting or the soil you are stabilizing.

All Alchemy-Spetec products are formulated to achieve minimum density changes when introduced to wet soil.

Want in-depth info on slab lifting procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Stabilize Soil