Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Dynamic Cone Penetrometer: An Essential Tool for Deep Lift® Jobs

Posted by Joel Bryant on Sep 17, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Dynamic Cone Penetrometer An Essential Tool for Deep Lift Jobs

As a consultant on many deep soil geotech jobs over the years, I have found myself recommending one critical piece of equipment repeatedly: The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (aka the DCP). I highly recommend this tool as an essential part of your Deep Lift® rig set up. As Jim Spiegel explained in his blog post on this subject, this device is used to measure the strength of subgrade soils, and can be utilized to identify weak layers of soil within a soil mass. As you can see in the video below, a hydraulic pump drops a 30kg (60lb) hammer, driving the measuring rod into the ground.

To measure soil strength, the operator counts the number of blows it takes to drive the steel rod in 10-centimeter increments. Good soil requires 10+ blows to drive the rod 10 centimeters. Anything less is typically indicative of weak soil conditions.

DCP testing is a widely accepted means of in situ testing. Due to the common acceptance of DCP testing, many municipalities and agencies are willing to pay for this service.

Here is a hypothetical scenario for DCP use:

Soil strength data is needed under a concrete parking lot before a Deep Lift® job. Multiple tests would be performed, spread out evenly over the area. For thorough testing, each DCP test would be executed to a minimum depth of 15 – 20 feet or refusal (when the hammer blows no longer cause movement.) The test results can then be compared and analyzed to find where potential weak soil conditions may be present. This allows for accurate and effective application of the polymer to address the weak layers.

DCP testing can also be utilized prior to bidding any Deep Lift® job to develop effective injection plans, as well as accurately estimate material usage on projects. With that said, it’s not always possible or practical to perform pre-bid testing. When pre-bid testing is not performed, it would still prove highly beneficial to perform DCP testing prior to injection. I have personally encountered many situations where injection plans have been drastically altered after test results were analyzed (injection depth was added or subtracted, the weakest layers were identified, etc.) The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer is a portable tool which can easily be used in many locations where other testing methods are not feasible and it provides valuable insight into the soil conditions that need to be improved.

Want more information on Geotech products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Deep Lift

How to Deal with Bound Slabs on a Concrete Leveling Job

Posted by Colt Hullander on Sep 15, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - How to Deal with Bound Slabs on a Concrete Leveling Job

Body - How to Deal with Bound Slabs on a Concrete Leveling Job

When two adjacent slabs are touching, there is a high likelihood of them being bound. This is definitely something to look out for on slab lifting jobs for a variety of reasons.

Bound Slab Basics

If you try to lift a slab that is bound to an adjacent slab, you could end up:

  • Lifting a part of the slab that you did not intend to lift.
  • Cracking the slab.
  • Lifting the adjacent slab unintentionally.
  • Wasting valuable extra material trying to lift a slab that is stuck.

Even if a seam between two slabs or a control joint (a joint meant to break when the slab is under pressure in order to prevent cracking) is already loose - it's still best to run a saw through it just to be sure before attempting to lift. A concrete saw blade is 1/8-inch wide. When you cut between slabs, you are giving them a 1/8-inch gap to ensure smooth movement.

Pros and Cons of Two Types of Concrete Saws

There are two types of concrete saws to choose from when stocking your arsenal of slab lifting gear. Here are the pros and cons of each…

Circular Saw

Circular-Saw
Photo Courtesy of STIHL.

PROS

  • Fast cutting rate.
  • Low operating cost.
  • Easily sourced blades.

CONS

  • Requires overcuts (the blade typically extends 4 to 6 inches past the edge of the slab).
  • Requires a wide berth. Cannot cut up against edges of walls and structures.

Concrete Chainsaw

Concrete-Chainsaw
Photo Courtesy of STIHL.

PROS

  • Doesn't require overcuts.
  • Can cut up against the edges of walls and structures.
  • Can cut up to 12 inches deep.

CONS

  • Has a high operating cost (chains and bars tend to be expensive).
  • Low cut footage per bar and chain compared to circular saw blade.

Want more information on slab lifting products and procedures?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Sealing Leaks in a Historic Brick Wall with Spetec AG200

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Sep 10, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Sealing Leaks in a Historic Brick Wall with Spetec AG200

Body - Sealing Leaks in a Historic Brick Wall with Spetec AG200As the Director of Technical Services for the Leak Seal division at Alchemy-Spetec, I often find myself assisting customers with some interesting jobs. Such was the case when I was called in to consult with a contractor who was sealing a leak a historic district below-grade, multi-course brick wall. As is often the case with below grade, historic spaces, water infiltration was unsightly, gave off a musty odor, and also was damaging to finishes. This was a very old brick wall, approximately 8 x 15 feet in size and at least three courses thick. The owner wanted to find a way to waterproof this vintage brick structure while at the same time preserving its unique appearance. In addition to the water flow issue, the leaks were causing mold/mildew on the walls.

We proposed injecting Spetec PUR AG200, a high-strength elastic acrylic injection resin, into the cementitious grout between the bricks where the water was migrating through. In order to monitor the efficacy of this leak seal job, we employed the QP Factor® leak seal testing and quality control system. As stated on our website, “The QP Factor® system offers quantifiable water flow, pressure, and flow/pressure metrics before and after leak seal injection that will provide clients, contractors, and design professionals the industry’s first patented method for proving Leak Seal® success.

The method of testing requires additional drill holes to be placed at pre-determined locations along the crack, joint, or substrate being sealed. Prior to injection of chemical grouts such as Spetec PUR F400, Spetec AG200, or Spetec PUR GT500, the test hole is connected to a digital touch-screen device that is calibrated to provide water pressure, flow, and flow/pressure information that is extractable in excel format from a convenient USB port.”

We ran the QP Factor® system on three test areas in the wall before beginning the injection process. This revealed to us the amount of water that was flowing through the wall. After injecting Spetec PUR AG200 into the existing cementitious grout around the bricks in two of those test areas, we ran the QP Factor® tests again and realized that wouldn’t have to inject the third area due to the efficacy of the Spetec PUR AG200.

Screenshots from the QP Factor program...
Sealing Leaks in a Brick Wall with the QP Factor and Spetec PUR AG200 - 1a

Sealing Leaks in a Brick Wall with the QP Factor and Spetec PUR AG200 - 2

In addition to stopping the water flow, sealing the leaks made it possible for the bar owner to keep the walls clean in appearance. See the treated area of the brick wall vs a non-treated area.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec Leak Seal® products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Charlie Lerman Discusses the Chemical Grouting Industry

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Sep 8, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Charlie Lerman Discusses the Chemical Grouting Industry

Body - Charlie Lerman Discusses the Chemical Grouting IndustryOn this episode of The Injection Connection, Jim Spiegel welcomes colleague Charlie Lerman "The Grout Geek". Charlie and Jim do their best to take off their Alchemy-Spetec hats and to discuss the Leak Seal® chemical grouting industry through the eyes of a Field Services Manager. With over 16 years of field experience representing some of the most well-known brands in the industry, Charlie is a wealth of knowledge for any listener. (Jim Spiegel is Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and a Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute.)

Listen to the episode in its entirety below, or check it out on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want info on Alchemy-Spetec leaks products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Inside Sales Manager David Park

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 3, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Inside Sales Manager David Park

Body - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Inside Sales Manager David ParkA self-described philanthropic entrepreneur, David Park is committed to creating value-driven opportunities that are both scalable and profitable. He has spent the last 15 years developing communities, organizations, and businesses by leading them to discover their full potential, develop a wider vision, and determine the best course of action to achieve their goals.

His work previously as a Business Development Manager in the Dental Laboratory industry helped David gain a unique perspective when it came to creating opportunities that offer value for all parties involved in the process. Influenced by Jeff Bezos and Sam Walton, he aspires to implement solution-driven sales initiatives here at Alchemy-Spetec.

As the Inside Sales Manager, David will develop and implement all inside sales initiatives within Alchemy-Spetec, as well as provide technical service and solve chemical grouting challenges for customers, contractors, and distributors. David looks forward to creating optimal, effective, and rapid results in his role as Inside Sales Manager.

In his personal life, David is happily married to his wife Aelim and is a new proud father of their baby girl, Noel. Outside of the office he also enjoys playing sports, serving his local church, and working in the music industry space as a sound engineer, guitarist, and wedding DJ.

Jim Spiegel, VP of Sales and Business Development, adds, ''We're excited to welcome David to the Sales Team as Inside Sales Manager.  David not only brings a prestigious degree from Georgia Tech in Business Administration, but also several years of professional experience in managing CRM workflows, outbound sales programs, and social media outreach campaigns.  We're lucky to have such a competent and detailed-oriented professional join our team."

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts

Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Western Regional Manager Joel Bryant

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Sep 1, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Western Regional Manager Joel Bryant

Body - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes New Western Regional Manager Joel BryantWith over 10 years of experience, Joel has a broad understanding of general practices in the construction and services industries. He has spent the last 6 years focused on ground improvement by use of chemical grouting with structural polymers, and possesses both technical and marketing expertise. His background includes contract negotiations, injection plan design, project management, market education, and hands on application of a variety of polymer solutions. Joel utilizes his industry knowledge to assist contractors with marketing strategies, material needs, and product application. Located in the Pacific Northwest, he enjoys his spare time in the great outdoors.

Jim Spiegel, VP of Sales and Business Development, adds, "Joel brings much-welcomed geotechnical experience to a quickly-growing Geotech Division.  His ability to communicate with the design community while also exhibiting superb field support is a rare skill set in the industry.  We're confident that Joel is another industry-leading professional sure to provide immediate value to Alchemy-Spetec Goetech customers."

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

Polyurethane Seawall Repair in Florida

Posted by Andy Powell on Aug 27, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - AS - Polyurethane Seawall Repair in Florida

Body - AS - Polyurethane Seawall Repair in FloridaWith 1,350 miles of coastline, Florida is home to countless seawalls.  If you're a property owner or manager in the Sunshine State, you have landed in the right place. Alchemy-Spetec provides environmentally safe seawall repair polyurethane materials to contractors covering all of Florida. (These seawall repair foams are NSF approved for contact with potable water.) If you have a seawall requiring evaluation, we'd be happy to refer you to an experienced contractor covering your area. Call us now at 404-618-0438.

If you're still in research mode, we have plenty of information for you on this website about polyurethane seawall repair. Visit the Seawall Repair Overview Page for a brief explanatory video, product info and a complete list of seawall repair blog articles at the bottom.

In a previous blog post, Polyurethane Seawall Repair Explained, we reviewed the benefits of repairing with polyurethane...

Why Use Polyurethane for Seawall Repair?

Non-Intrusive Application
Polyurethane can be injected through pipes directly into voids and loose sandy soil using small portable equipment.

Proven Solution
Seawall repair resins are used extensively seal cracks, voids and defects as well as for filling voids and stabilizing the soil.

Creates an Impermeable Mass
Polyurethane seals leaks along the wall, fills the voids that have occurred, and mixes with the soil to form a solid, impermeable mass.

What Are the Results of Polyurethane Seawall Repair?

Long Lasting Solution
Alchemy-Spetec seawall repair resins cure to a strength greater than crystalline bedrock. Combined with proper drainage, this method can greatly extend the life of your seawall.

Water Tight Seawall
The resin reacts with water or moisture in the soil and expands to fill voids while it permeates sandy soil to form a solid, strong, watertight mass.

Click here to read the rest of Polyurethane Seawall Repair Explained.

Property owners and managers in Florida can rest assured.  If you have seawall problems, we have you covered.  Contact us at 404-618-0438 for a referral to a contractor near you.  

Want more information on seawall repair with polyurethane?

Download an Info-Packed Seawall Repair Brochure!

Topics: Repair Seawalls, All Posts

Are You Tuning in to The Injection Connection?

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Aug 25, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Are You Tuning in to The Injection Connection

Body - Are You Tuning in to The Injection ConnectionIn January of 2020, Alchemy-Spetec launched The Injection Connection podcast, hosted by Jim Spiegel. Jim is the Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and a Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute. As of August 2020, there are eight episodes packed with valuable industry information.

If you've missed any of these podcast posts, we invite you to review the guide below...

Episode One - Introduction

Episode 1 is a brief intro about the host, Jim Spiegel, and the intended content of the show. The Injection Connection is produced for contractors, distributors, and design professionals in the infrastructure repair segment, or broader construction industry. The podcast aims to provide unique insights through the lens of the chemical grouting industry.

Check Out Episode One

Episode Two - The QP Factor

This episode is an overview of the patented QP Factor system used to quantify chemical grout leak seal success. The presentation was originally given at the ICRI National Convention by Jim Spiegel, and is being reproduced remotely for an engineering firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is the industry's first patented method for leak seal quantification.

Check Out Episode Two

Episode Three - Interview with Kevin Earles

Guest Kevin Earles is a long-time friend of Jim Spiegel, and the National Sales Director for EPMS Supplies based in Nottingham, UK. Topics covered include how they met one another, the future of online distribution, Brexit, and more. Kevin has been in the speciality construction distribution industry for almost 25 years.

Check Out Episode Three

Episode Four - Interview with Adam Tracy

Guest Adam Tracy, of A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, offers a unique perspective into the residential leak seal industry through his Civil Engineering education. Adam and Jim discuss differences in residential vs.commercial projects, as well as finding new talent, learning from contractors, and more.

Check Out Episode Four

Episode Five - Helms Polyfoam

The Injection Connection welcomes two guests from Helms Polyfoam: JR Crowell, VP & COO, and Morgan Helms, President & CEO. In this episode, Jim Spiegel discusses the history of the Helms business, the future of customer support, and the importance of relationships.

Check Out Episode Five

Episode Six - Jack Whitworth

Jim and guest Jack Whitworth, 26-year chemical grouting sales professional, discuss the importance of education, mutual benefits of competitors working together, and driving our families crazy during the Covid-19 lockdown time.

Check Out Episode Six

Episode Seven - Ann Thaxton

On Episode 7 of The Injection Connection, Jim sits down with Ann Thaxton, from Concrete Titans, a marketing and advertising agency offering services to the concrete lifting, and residential foundation repair markets. Ann offers great insights into the most current lead capture strategies, trends in the industry, and how marketing dollars are actually worth more in the current Covid-19 crisis.

Check Out Episode Seven

Episode Eight - Matt & Travis of Lift It Rite

On Episode 8 of The Injection Connection, Jim sits down with Matt Chittick and Travis Germick, co-owners of Lift It Rite, LLC., a residential slab-lifting business servicing the Greater Atlanta and surrounding markets. Matt and Travis offer valuable insights on how to start a lifting business, production considerations, and the under-appreciated value of showing up with a smile (and perhaps a hamburglar costume!).

Check Out Episode Eight

Check out the podcast on TheInjectionConnection.com and the following platforms:

Want info on Alchemy-Spetec products & applications?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Great Lakes Flooding Increases Demand for Seawall Repair

Posted by Erik Prinzing on Aug 20, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Great Lakes Flooding Increases Demand for Seawall Repair

Body - Great Lakes Flooding Increases Demand for Seawall Repair

According to the Detroit Free Press, rising water levels on the Great Lakes have hit records in 2020, leading to extensive flooding and unusually aggressive shoreline erosion. Many property owners and contractors in the area are now researching seawall repair methods. This type of research typically reveals three options: the common methods of excavation or repair with cement grout, and the next generation method of repair with high-strength polyurethane.

Common Seawall Repair Options

In a previous blog post, An In-Depth Look at Polyurethane Seawall Repair, Andy Powell explained two of the most common options, along with their drawbacks...

Seawall Excavation

You can tear out the wall (or part of the wall) and replace it. This approach has a few daunting downsides. Namely, it can be…

  • Costly
  • Time consuming
  • Environmentally damaging
  • Requires time consuming permits

Paying for a new seawall is no doubt going to cost more than any kind of repair. A complete rebuild will also take some time. Not to mention the inevitable mess, a good portion of which is likely to end up in the water. Excavation also requires getting a permit, which can eat up a LOT of time. 

Seawall Repair with Cement Grout

We still see contractors and property owners filling sinkholes and trying to plug seawall leaks concrete. This outdated approach has many disadvantages when compared to polyurethane repair. For example, it’s…

  • Product, labor and machinery intensive
  • Time consuming
  • Prone to degradation
  • Heavy (adds weight to seawall or bulkhead already under stress)

The amount of cement grout, labor and machinery required can be quite disruptive as well.  Compared to the stealth, surgical approach of polyurethane repair, the property owner can end up with quite a mess on their property during a cement grout repair job. Needless to say, with all this extra material, machinery and labor – the whole process takes longer than your typical polyurethane repair. Cement grout is known to shrink and degrade over time as well. Imagine the frustration of paying for an expensive seawall repair, only to see it wash out over the next few weeks. Cement that doesn’t wash out can add weight to the structure and sink over time.

Click here to read the rest of Andy Powell's blog post - An In-Depth Look at Polyurethane Seawall Repair.

Next Generation Seawall Repair with Polyurethane

Polyurethane repair material addresses the primary weaknesses inherent in excavation and repair with cement grout. This includes minimal disruption from equipment, labor, and messy materials; plus a quick return-to-use time. Alchemy-Spetec offers high-strenth polyurethane foams for repairing seawall cracks, voids, and surrouding soil.  Alchemy-Spetec seawall repair foams are also NSF-approved for contact with potable water.

Want more info on polyurethane seawall repair?

Download an Info-Packed Seawall Repair Brochure!

Topics: Repair Seawalls, All Posts

3M Scotch Guard 5600 Still Appears in Specs Despite Being Discontinued (Here's a Replacement)

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Aug 18, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - 3M Scotch Guard 5600

Body - 3M Scotch Guard 5600

3M Scotch Guard 5600 can still be found in engineer specifications for a variety of leak seal applications. However, this product is no longer manufactured. Fortunately for anyone using these specs, Spetec PUR GT500 is available a substitute.  See the details below and call us at 404-618-0438 with follow up questions!

Uses for Spetec PUR GT500:

  • Sealing cracks in concrete structures through pressure injection.
  • Sealing hairline cracks, expansion joints, wide cracks, pipe joints, pipe penetrations.
  • Saturating dry oakum to create a flexible gasket for sealing pipe penetrations, joints and larger defects in concrete structures.

Advantages of Spetec PUR GT500:

  • Non-flammable. Does not contain any volatile organic compounds
  • No catalyst required.
  • Tenacious bond to wet concrete.
  • High elongation.
  • Thin enough to penetrate tight cracks.
  • Hydrophilic.
  • Phthalate free (more environmentally friendly).
  • Certified to NSF 61-5 (Approved for contact with drinking water).

If you're working with old specifications designating 3M Scotch Guard 5600 for leak seal applications, you can definitely use this product as an alternative. Engineers writing new leak seal specifications for the uses mentioned above should also consider including Spetec PUR GT500. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our industry leading technical support team at 404-618-0438.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec Leak Seal products?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks