Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Curtain Wall Grouting Explained

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Mar 4, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Curtain Wall Grouting Explained

Body Graphic - Curtain Wall Grouting ExplainedEditor's Note: This article is an updated edition of Charlie Lerman's 2017 article, Crack Injection and Curtain Wall Grouting - Part 3.

What is Curtain Wall Grouting and Why is it Effective?

Curtain wall injection is the process of drilling holes through a structure in a diamond pattern, then injecting the grout into soil on the other side. This procedure creates a curtain wall made of a resin/soil mixture that prevents water from getting back into the structure. It is often required if there are multiple cracks or leaks in a wall. Filling each individual crack may cause you to waste time following the water from crack to crack. Curtain wall grouting allows you to stop multiple leaks at one time and protects the structure on a long term basis.

This procedure was first performed in 1960 on a sewer manhole with a multiple leak problem. As described above, chemical grout was injected through to the outside of the manhole. This created a “positive side seal” (on the side the water was coming from), blocking water from penetrating the joints of the structure.

This method is still used today.  It is effective on structures constructed from a wide variety of materials, including wood, steel, concrete, rubble walls, stone, block and brick.

A Brief Overview of the Curtain Wall Grouting Process

Step 1. Injection holes are drilled in a diamond grid pattern.

Step 2. Grout injection begins at the bottom of the wall.

Step 3. Grout is then injected a little higher, so that any excess grouts flows down over the previous injection area. This creates a lapping effect, like shingles on a roof.

Step 4. Injection continues to the top of the wall.

Other Situations Requiring Curtain Wall Grouting

In addition to the “too many leaks” scenario, curtain wall grouting may be required when all cracks cannot be identified in a leaking wall, when previous crack injection has failed, or when a structure has a negative crack injection history. It is also used in masonry, dealing with stone and CMU walls that do not crack inject well.

Material selection is based on various factors such as soils, voids, and moisture conditions. Call us at 404-618-0438 to discuss which material is right for your project.

Alchemy-Spetec Curtain Wall Grouting Products

Spetec PUR H100

Spetec PUR H200

Spetec PUR HighFoamer

Spetec AG200

Want to learn more about this procedure?

Download an Info-Packed Curtain Wall Grouting Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Crack Injection Explained

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Mar 2, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Crack Injection Explained

Body Graphic - Crack Injection ExplainedEditor's Note: This article is an updated edition of Charlie Lerman's 2017 article, Crack Injection and Curtain Wall Grouting - Part 2.

Crack Injection with Polyurethane

Crack injection has many advantages over other methods.  For example, if you’re sealing a leak in a water tank, you can inject from the outside of the tank. So the tank can remain in service while you repair it. Having to dry a crack, like you do with epoxy resin, is not needed as this material reacts with water. The material also remains flexible at all times.

Crack injections can be applied in both vertical cracks and in horizontal cracks. With vertical cracks, it is imperative to start at the bottom of the crack and work your way up the crack until it is filled. This forces the material up and through the crack and will simultaneously push the water up and out as well. With horizontal cracks, injection can be started at either the left or right end.

The crack injection process is rather simple, but some mis-steps can prove quite costly. For best results, follow the steps below after discussing them in detail with a trained professional...

Crack Injection in 10 Steps

Step 1. Identify crack locations.

Step 2. Estimate the amount of resin you’ll need. (One gallon per 25 linear feet of cracks.)

Step 3. Prepare surface of crack.

Step 4. Drill injection holes at a 45 degree angle.

Step 5. Flush out injection holes with water to remove any debris.

Step 6. Insert injection ports on both sides of crack.

Step 7. Inject water into each port.

Step 8. Start injection of material.

Step 9. Always grout twice.

Step 10. Add water again to activate any remaining resin.

Alchemy-Spetec Crack Injection Products

Spetec PUR F400

Spetec PUR GT500

Spetec AG200

Spetec PUR GT350

Spetec PUR GT380

If you need help choosing a product for your job, call us now at 404-618-0438 to talk to a tech support rep.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Get a Custom Animated Explainer Video for Your Contracting Business

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 25, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Get a Custom Animated Explainer Video for Your Contracting Business

Body - Get a Custom Animated Explainer Video for Your Contracting BusinessHow to Sell Using Explainer Animations

At Alchemy Spetec, we’re successfully using animated videos to market our products and services. We can also create custom animated explainer videos specifically for YOU, our customer.

With an animated explainer video, you can:

  • Help prospects quickly understand how you will solve their problems.
  • Position your company as professional experts they can depend on.
  • Attract more requests for estimates and close more jobs.

For an example of how these explainer videos work, click on one of ours below:

Now imagine having an animated explainer video like that to explain exactly what your business does.

How to Get Started

Let's talk about how we can help. We'll explain the animation process and what it costs.

If you already have an account with Alchemy-Spetec, the next step is to call us at 404-618-0438 or click the button below to schedule phone consultation.

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Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Stabilizing Slabs in an Omaha Warehouse with the PolyBadger

Posted by Erik Prinzing on Feb 23, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Stabilizing Slabs in an Omaha Warehouse with the PolyBadger

Body - Stabilizing Slabs in an Omaha Warehouse with the PolyBadgerNot too long ago, I visited my customer Melvin Sudbeck’s company, Sudbeck Construction, on a warehouse job. They were called in by the property owner because he had noticed four slabs that were shifting up and scraping against a wall when forklifts crossed them. The crew drilled a couple of preliminary holes in the slabs for diagnostic purposes and discovered voids underneath ranging from 12-18 inches in depth.

The Sudbeck team injected 35 gallons of AP Lift 430 beneath the slabs to stabilize them. This high-strength polyurethane foam provides a solid, reliable, long-lasting base underneath the concrete to prevent future shifting or sinking. These forklifts were larger than your standard model, so it was important to use tough, strong material for stabilization. After the initial four slabs were stabilized, we walked around with the plant manager and a few other employees as they pointed out more unstable concrete that was shifting underneath the weight of these massive forklifts. The workers who had to drive over these rocking slabs said they actually felt jolted when they hit these hazard areas.

We explained to the plant manager that the Sudbeck crew could come back during off-hours and do the rest of this work in a very efficient manner. Since the polyurethane cures quickly, the slabs would be steady and ready when the warehouse staff returned in the morning. Melvin’s crew has since returned and completed the rest of the work successfully. Sudbeck Construction completed all of this work with the tough, compact, PolyBadger mobile slab lifting unit. Small enough to fit into the back of a pickup truck, the PolyBadger was a very smart choice for the job because it could be wheeled inside the warehouse directly to all of the problem areas.

If you’re a property owner in the Omaha area with sunken or unstable slabs, call Sudbeck Construction at 402-306-9506 today!

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Download an Info-Packed PolyBadger System Brochure!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Lift Slabs

Paul Layman: Favorite Types of Grout

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 18, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Paul Layman - Favorite Types of Grout

Body - Paul Layman - Favorite Types of GroutThis article is an excerpt from Episode 11 of The Injection Connection, featuring a highlight from the landmark conversation between retired industry legend Captain Grout (aka Paul Layman) and his number one protégé and unofficial successor, The Grout Geek (podcast host Charlie Lerman). If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.

Charlie Lerman: Do you have a personal favorite grout? Not necessarily by name, but a type of grout - hydrophilic, flexible or just anything that you like?

Paul Layman: Well, yes, the old hydrophobics. They're probably the best because you can change them around depending on the temperatures and things of that nature. You can even mix the hydrophobics and hydrophilics. We've done that in the field by mistake and, boy, they were the cat’s meow at that time, the real tickets. So, just the old standard grouts work well. And again, it goes back to the manufacturer - if you're using a small manufacturer, those are just quality products and you could do a lot to change them in the field. You feel very comfortable. So, if you got in a situation where you needed a little faster reaction, you could do it. I've been out of the business now for three or four years but again, the old grouts had a lot of flexibility and you could actually mix and match different products in ways that weren't "in the books" and you could do some pretty neat stuff with them and stop some pretty good holes. In some situations, if you're down below in a dam, it's not a bad thing that if you can't get it, walk away for a day or two and think about it, don't just sit there and waste gallon after gallon after gallon. If it's not working. There are other ways to do it.

Charlie: Right. One of the issues I've seen and I actually struggle with some is using chemical grouts in dry conditions. So, say you're down in Arizona or Southern California and they know they have a leak but it only leaks once or twice a year. Or it only leaks during a rain storm and they're typically grouting when it's dry. Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome those kind of hurdles?

Paul: Yeah, a lot of times we try to push it to the rainy season but if you can't then just you use copious amounts of water to get that structure saturated. You want that structure, the surrounding concrete, and the surface saturated really wet in there. If you're doing an irrigation, again, get that surface wet even if you have to puddle it for a while. Get that structure really wet because then the grout really adheres and chases the cracks to its maximum extent. It can really lock itself in. Because if you don't do it right, it's just going to shrink away or it's not going to bond well and then when it's really needed, it may just blow itself out or leak around and finally break down and not work. Lots of water is your friend.

Charlie: Yes, indeed. I like to give the analogy to people that, if I hired you to come into my house and paint a room - and when you showed up to paint it, I turned all the lights off and closed the doors, it was pitch black in there, you could still paint the walls but it probably is not going to look good when you turn the lights back on. And I look at it the same way with waterproofing. If the water's not there, you don't know where you're going to move that leak to or whatnot. So, adding copious amounts of water is very important.

Paul: That's very important because you may stop it here but then when the water comes up, it's going to find a hole somewhere else that you didn't grout because it wasn't wet. Yeah, absolutely.

View to the video version of this excerpt...

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Paul Layman: Dealing with Failures and Challenges

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 16, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Paul Layman - Dealing with Failures and Challenges

Body - Paul Layman - Dealing with Failures and ChallengesThis article is an excerpt from Episode 11 of The Injection Connection, featuring a highlight from the landmark conversation between retired industry legend Captain Grout (aka Paul Layman) and his number one protégé and unofficial successor, The Grout Geek (podcast host Charlie Lerman).  If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.

Charlie Lerman: What's the biggest failure or problem you've had on a job?

Paul Layman: I don't know. We did that big building in San Francisco where the building is actually leaning now. And that was unique because the biggest problem there occurred when some guys were drilling in and they hit a cable. Luckily they didn't blow that cable - it was a 10,000 watt box or wattage thing and fortunately they weren't standing on the pump when they hit the cable. Those are things you've got to be careful with. And safety is incredible down there because you could be out in a mine a mile back or down a shaft and if something goes wrong, you can't get out quick and you're in the mud and muck up to your knees. On one job we were down a mile in a tunnel and one of the gates broke. It was in a dam and the water went from our boots up to our knees. Again, so, those are things you really have to be cognizant of and keep all your ducks in a row to be ready for any emergency that could come up.

Charlie: Right. Especially in confined spaces. Like you said, they offer unique challenges on top of what you normally run into anyway.

Paul: Exactly.

Charlie: What have been some of the challenges on dams and large projects like that, specifically in regard to the Corp of Engineers or the Bureau of Rec? What kind of challenges have you had personally in dealing with them?

Paul: The biggest problem I ran into with both of those organizations, was that their people sometimes overthought the project. You'd spend six to eight months getting the project ready and designing it, then all of a sudden, they say, “Oh, we can't do it this year.” Just like that big job up there in California, I can't think of the name, where the dam blew out.

Charlie: I remember what you’re talking about, but I can’t think of the name either.

Paul: It was just up there by Chico, California. We had shown them how to fix that problem a couple years before and gave them some really good ideas, but they said they couldn't afford it. And then when the whole structure blew out, the spillways blew out, they had to spend billions of dollars. If only they hadn't been so cheap in the first place and changed their mind in the last second. It's kind of frustrating because you've done all this due diligence, you lay out your scheme, then all of a sudden in the last minute they say, “Oh, no, we're not going to do it.” 

Charlie: Yes, thank you very much.

View to the video version of this excerpt...

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Slab Lifting with Polyurethane Foam

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 11, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Slab Lifting with Polyurethane Foam

Body - Slab Lifting with Polyurethane FoamPrecision Concrete Leveling

A structure is only as good as the foundation it’s built on. 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. These situations create problems for property owners and opportunities for the contractors who know how to fix them.

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

Watch this video portraying a typical concrete leveling driveway job...

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Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes Brian Oeder as VP of Sales and Marketing

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 9, 2021 10:00:00 AM
Banner - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes Brian Oeder as VP of Sales and Marketing
 
Body - Alchemy-Spetec Welcomes Brian Oeder as VP of Sales and MarketingAlchemy-Spetec is excited to welcome Brian Oeder as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Brian brings with him over 25 years of experience in manufacturing and growth-oriented companies. He has extensive business experience in over 30 countries across 6 continents, due to his leadership positions at two internationally based companies. He has served a wide variety of clients in industries such as petrochemical, oil & gas, mining, and automotive. His diverse background includes management of marketing and sales teams, service, internal support, and training. He especially enjoys on-site technical support and managing technical support professionals. Brian holds degrees in International Business and Marketing from Ohio State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Xavier University. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three children.
 
Former Vice President Jim Spiegel has decided to get into the real estate game as a high-end agent in California. We wish him the best of luck! Brian Oeder enjoyed working with Jim on the transition, “I wanted to take a moment to offer my appreciation to Jim. The experience of being new to the team, and in a new role, is always a challenge. Having the ability to spend a week with an expert and to learn from him is not something most new team members would get to experience, but Jim was very generous with his time and advice and was a huge help in my learning process.”
 
President/CEO Stephen Barton has this to say about Alchemy-Spetec’s new executive, "We are thrilled to have a man of Brian's caliber join us as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Brian brings over two decades of leadership experience exclusively with fast-growing manufacturing companies that provide engineered solutions to their customers. In his last role, Brian served as President of a European-based technology firm. I love bringing in talent who has experience leading a company and has the battle scars to prove it."

Want more info on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!
 
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Paul Layman: Most Interesting Grout Jobs

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 4, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Paul Layman - Most Interesting Grout Jobs

Body - Paul Layman - Most Interesting Grout JobsThis article is an excerpt from Episode 11 of The Injection Connection, featuring a highlight from the landmark conversation between retired industry legend Captain Grout (aka Paul Layman) and his number one protégé and unofficial successor, The Grout Geek (podcast host Charlie Lerman). If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.

Charlie Lerman: What are some of the most unique and interesting jobs that you've been on?

Paul Layman: Well, we did the Hoover Dam and we did the Seattle tunnels. But on the job I did up in Canada on the water system for the city of Vancouver, we were in shafts that went down 1800 feet, 600 meters. When you get down there, it's pretty dark and cold and when the pumps go off or the electric goes off, it gets pretty dark. Those are some of the neat projects. Then of course, the projects we did up in Alaska, above the Arctic Circle. We did a huge tank up there for CH2M Hill. The tank was over a million gallons and we had to stabilize the whole bottom underneath it, over permafrost! We had to fly everything up in an airplane of course and then unload it. And the mechanics up there, the kids at work, they were just as smart as could be. They knew how that structure was going to work. And so, from Arizona, the Salt River Project down along the Colorado all the way to the Arctic Circle -  and then being in gold mines...every structure was different and neat. It was a challenge. It was fun because you met a lot of neat people and a lot of characters too. Everybody had their little niche and it was just a neat job. It really was. It wasn't work, it was every day you got a new adventure.

Charlie: A lot of times when you talk to people in the grouting industry, and maybe I'm biased because that's where I've been for the last 15 to 16 years, but they're passionate about it. They find it interesting. It's not just the standard, "I'm just going to apply a coat of this and we move on to the next tank" or something. It's always unique. You brought up some remote sites there and I found it interesting in my career where I've had engineers talk to me about a project and I'm like, “Well, that sounds like you should do cementitious grouting.” And it turns out not to be cementitious grouting just because of the remoteness. They can't get concrete out to a site or something like that. I've seen urethane jobs where just because of mobilization they had to use the chemical grout. So, it's not always the most cost effective when you compare materials but, when you need mobilization then the chemical grout comes in.

Paul: One time we had to go out to the Aleutians. And we put I think about 15, 20 pails of grout in the airplane and then we put in another 15 pails of fuel. We had to put the fuel in the airplane too because we got out on the islands and they had to get themselves back. So, we had the grout and the fuel, and the plane had to carry all of it out there.

Charlie: That is so cool.

Paul: When we got out there, the guys pull out the 15 pails of fuel and start fueling the airplane up so they can get back. They leave us with our grout there on the Aleutians. It was just neat stuff like that, along with the people you meet out there.

Charlie: Right, very much so. That's awesome.

Paul: And all the equipment we put in big trunks. What we didn't take with us we weren't going to find at the local hardware store because there were none for a thousand miles.

Charlie: That is real important and specifically there. But it's similar even when you're just a couple miles in a tunnel and just the 20 minutes to get back out to get that screwdriver your team forgot. So, it's important to make those lists and know what you need to have.

Paul: Yeah. We were doing a mine up in Alaska and the grout started getting away from us. We were down two miles in the mine but luckily, we had enough catalyst and cleaning agent that we could save the grout and the pump, because otherwise we would never have time to take it up to the entrance and fix it. We would have lost a pump and we're 100 miles, 200 miles from the closest civilization. So, we would have been toasted up there. Again, those are things you just learn after the years of doing this stuff.

View to the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips

Paul Layman: Common Pitfalls for New Grouters

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Feb 2, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Paul Layman - Common Pitfalls for New Grouters

Body - Paul Layman - Common Pitfalls for New GroutersThis article is an excerpt from Episode 11 of The Injection Connection, featuring a highlight from the landmark conversation between retired industry legend Captain Grout (aka Paul Layman) and his number one protégé and unofficial successor, The Grout Geek (podcast host Charlie Lerman). If you'd rather view or listen, an audio/visual version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.

Charlie Lerman: What are your top, maybe one, two or three common mistakes you see when people get into grouting?

Paul Layman: I think they get overambitious and say, “We can fix this and we can fix that,” or they don't have quite the right knowledge or they don't recommend the right product. Like one of the projects we were on, they were going to recommend an acrylate. And really it wouldn't have worked well for an acrylate because the way it was designed, it was about 50% water. That's probably the thing, they overthink the job too much. It's a fairly simple process but you don't want to overthink it. Just be straightforward and just take your normal steps and work from there because the products really work well and depending where you're at you can massage these products and change them in the field if you have to, but the simpler the process, the easier it is.

Charlie: Right and that's real important. Jim (Alchemy-Spetec VP Jim Spiegel) likes to use a term, he calls it fail forward. And I like that. Fail is not necessarily maybe the right exact term for grouting but there's a lot of theory crafting where people say, “Oh, well, we know in a lab the grout does this, this and this.” And then they assume that they have lab conditions out there in the field. And you don't. You have field conditions; you don't know what's out there. So, all the theory crafting you do, until you get out and actually pump some grout and see what you've got going on, it's all guesswork at that point. I think that kind of ties into what you're saying there.

Paul: Absolutely. And then you've got the mechanics in the field and you've got some smart guys in the field and when you come up on a project, they may already have figured it out. And so, listen to the people in the field because that's where I've learned a lot of my techniques. These guys in the field are smart people, they're intelligent people and they can give you some really good guidance and little tricks. Then you can pass those on. Don't be afraid to listen to them.

View to the video version of this excerpt...

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Business Tips