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

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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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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Crack Injection with Polyurethane Grout (Demo Video)

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Jan 21, 2021 10:00:00 AM

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Body - Crack Injection with Polyurethane Grout

Concrete starts decaying immediately after it cures. Even brand new construction can require leak seal follow up work. Older concrete structures are even more susceptible. 

Leaking concrete structures can be permanently repaired with concrete crack injection procedures using water-activated polyurethane grout. Pressure injection forces the material into leaking cracks. After the injection is complete, the polyurethane grout rapidly reacts with water to form a watertight seal.

The demo video below covers the 5 steps of concrete crack injection:

  • Drilling Holes
  • Flushing the Holes
  • Installing the Ports
  • Flushing the Cracks
  • Injecting the Resin

Watch the demo video now...

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Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Seal Leaks

The Grout Geek Interviews Industry Legend Captain Grout!

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Jan 19, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - The Grout Geek Interviews Industry Legend Captain Grout

Body - The Grout Geek Interviews Industry Legend Captain GroutEpisode 11 of The Injection Connection features a 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). Don't miss this info-packed discussion between these two chemical grouting heavyweights!

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

Want info on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil, Business Tips

Crack Injection with the Spetec F400 INJECTR Series Cartridge (Demo Video)

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Jan 5, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Banner - F400 INJECTR Series Crack Injection Demo

Body - F400 INJECTR Series Crack Injection DemoSpetec PUR F400 is a solvent and phthalate-free, water-reactive, hydrophobic, closed-cell, low viscosity, shrink-free, flexible, one-component polyurethane injection resin. It's ideal for sealing:

  • Concrete crack leaks
  • Pipe penetration leaks
  • Hairline cold joint leaks

Spetec PUR F400 is now available in convenient INJECTR Series cartridges, featuring the following benefits:

  • Grout and accelerator in one cartridge, compatible with a standard caulk gun
  • Same top-line product in a smaller package for smaller jobs
  • Quicker in and out - less labor
  • Faster set up
  • You don’t have to bring in a full crew and a pump
  • Use with standard caulk gun (no special guns needed)

Watch this video for a complete demo...

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Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

John Ziebell Reflects on 36 Years in the Industry

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Nov 19, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Banner - John Ziebell Reflects on 36 Years in the Industry

Body - John Ziebell Reflects on 36 Years in the IndustryOn this episode of The Injection Connection, Charlie Lerman takes over the hosting duties, welcoming Alchemy-Spetec independent rep John Ziebell. Formerly the Vice President of Operations for Deneef Construction Chemicals, Inc., John has 36 years of experience in the chemical grout industry and is currently a member of the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI).

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

Want info on Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

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

Charlie Lerman: The Importance of Exploratory Grouting

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Nov 12, 2020 10:00:00 AM

1. Banner - Charlie Lerman - The Importance of Exploratory Grouting

2. Body - Charlie Lerman - The Importance of Exploratory GroutingThis article is an excerpt from Episode 9 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Charlie Lerman "The Grout Geek". Charlie is Director of Technical Services - Leak Seal® Division at Alchemy-Spetec. The Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute. (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: I always say to people is you should account for some exploration time. Everybody wants to go quick into, "What are the coverage rates, how many linear feet can I do in a day, how many people do I need, what’s the size of the crew, how many man hours as a prevailing wage." But I like to tell people let’s put half a day, even up to a full day depending on the job, into exploration. Would you agree with that?

Charlie Lerman: 100%. Exploratory grouting is the way to go. And on smaller jobs a lot of times, that’s going to knock out the whole job anyway. But when you get to those larger jobs for curtain grouting and crack injection, just having that day to look at and say, “These are the parameters. We think we’re going to be between this and this mark and by this procedure.” You go out there and you find - well, did I fall in that, where did I fall in that and if so, how are we going to adjust out the rest of the job now that we know some specifics there? But until you get out there, it’s really all theory. I’m in tons of meetings where there’s all this theory crafting and people talk about this stuff. And while this theory crafting is great and we need to do it to wrap our heads around the situation, it comes down to it when you’re actually injecting, you don’t have precise control over your liquid, you don’t know exactly where it went. You can only see the result and make assumptions. Whatever I pictured in my mind is what I can say happened in there, but until we rip that open, which almost never happens, you don’t know exactly how it went inside. So again, all that theory and stuff, that’s all great to talk about. But until you put the wheels on the road and see what happens, you just don’t know. I’ve seen stuff where you just start scratching your head - how could this be going that way? But it does and you figure it out and work through it.

Listen to the audio version of this excerpt...

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Charlie Lerman: Leak Seal Pump Systems

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 29, 2020 10:00:00 AM

1. Banner - Charlie Lerman - Leak Seal Pump Systems

2. Body - Charlie Lerman - Leak Seal Pump SystemsThis article is an excerpt from Episode 9 of Alchemy-Spetec's podcast The Injection Connection, featuring Charlie Lerman "The Grout Geek". Charlie is Director of Technical Services - Leak Seal® Division at Alchemy-Spetec. The Injection Connection is hosted by Jim Spiegel: Vice President of Alchemy-Spetec and Board Member at the International Concrete Repair Institute. (If you'd rather listen, an audio version of this excerpt is posted at the bottom of the article.)

Jim Spiegel: What’s some of your favorite equipment to work with? Favorite pumping systems?

Charlie Lerman: I’ve always been a fan of the airless paint sprayers (a.k.a. modified electric injection pumps). They’re just a good workhorse and have been the industry standard. So I like those and that’s what I used most of my career. I’m dealing a lot more now with acrylate type products. And I do really like the pumps that we use for those, the plural component stainless steel pumps. Finally, I’ve seen some that are not difficult to use, which is nice to find one that’s easy. It’s still a complex machine but it’s broken down and very easy. I’d say that’s one of them that’s coming up right now. But still, it’s hard to just go away from that old reliable Graco or a Titan 440.

Jim: Yeah, for sure. It’s pretty much the status quo out there.

Charlie: But Jim, let me add - to jump on the other side of that, and we offer these pumps, it’s not like I’m badmouthing a competitor or something like that but there’s the drill pumps. And while they have their place these little drill pumps, I believe that they actually are hard for contractors because a lot of the people that look at getting the drill pumps are first-time grout users and they’re trying to save some money. So they’re getting a drill pump rather than an airless paint sprayer to save a couple hundred dollars there. The problem is that using that drill pump takes a little more technical expertise. So if it’s your first job, that’s not always the good pump to cut your teeth on. It’s got it’s good position and stuff like that and it’s light and it’s easy to move around but it does take a little more skill. That’s one of the pumps just kind of to watch out for.

Jim: Yeah, as you and I have been pretty open about, not everybody has the same experience with different equipment. You’ve pumped a lot more grout than probably all of us, but I have quite a bit of experience with the drill pumps. I agree with you. Probably the benefit that I see is that they’re easy to take apart. So, when there are issues with it, which can happen to any pump that you’re pumping chemical grouts with, you’re looking at seven Allen screws and you’re into the ball and spring assembly - so you’re pretty much in the guts of it with seven screws. That’s the only thing that I really like about it just from a maintenance standpoint. I agree completely that if you’re doing this a lot, you’re probably not doing yourself justice with it. Especially if you’re getting into higher volume sort of stuff. I mean, for any curtain or soil grouting it’s just not relevant. And you’re mixing a lot. You’re mixing small volumes all the time. As you know from being on site, especially on large volume applications, keeping product mixed can be a huge functional manpower issue. Because you just don’t account for all the time needed for having that guy keeping things mixed. I see the pros and cons for it. But it’s well noted that you’re not a huge fan.

Charlie: No and it’s still a great product. There is a niche for it though. And really that’s my main concern. And I think also that comes from my history because often times I’m either on giant projects and that’s where they’re demanding to have that customer service out there. And they’re not even looking at these pumps because, like you said, they’re just not high volume. And then the other times where I’m training people is a lot of times when they’re brand new. And it’s just not a great pump for someone brand new. But it’s light, it’s easy to maneuver and that is an advantage a lot of times when you’re just setting up and if you’re doing a residential area or you’re doing something small or you’re doing something that’s off the beaten path and you don’t want to have to carry a whole bunch of equipment.

Listen to the audio version of this excerpt...

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