Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Case Study - Sealing Residential Basement Leaks in Alaska

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Dec 9, 2022 11:44:42 AM

Banner - Sealing Residential Basement Leaks in Alaska

Body - Sealing Residential Basement Leaks in AlaskaA homeowner in Alaska reached out to contractor Ace Dragon about leaks in their basement. The basement was built with insulated concrete form walls that are typically installed in colder climates. Despite being an excellent solution, problems can arise if not installed properly during construction and the home was suffering from leaks due to poorly consolidated concrete within the walls. During construction, these specially designed walls provide insulation with concrete filling the hollow cavities. However, whenever concrete is poured it requires vibration to ensure it is properly consolidated. The walls in this home did not contain properly consolidated concrete and thus were leaking.

Powerful Polymer

After conducting a thorough inspection, the crew from Ace Dragon found issues with the membrane around the perimeter of the house and proposed injecting Alchemy-Spetec’s Spetec PUR Highfoamer into the walls to make up for the weakly consolidated concrete and seal the leaks. This durable polyurethane was perfect for this job due to its low cost and high expansion rate.

Painless Procedure

The job only required a small three-man crew and some light equipment. Starting their injection procedure from the bottom, the crew worked all the way around and up the entire basement wall to ensure all affected areas were sealed. The homeowner’s only other effective alternative would have been to excavate around the entire perimeter of the home and completely redo the membrane (something they wanted to avoid due to the high costs).

Rapid Result

The injection process took a fraction of the time a full membrane replacement would have taken. The homeowner was thrilled to have the leaks sealed and the basement walls fortified.

Want more information on Alchemy-Spetec leak seal products and equipment?

Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Case Study - Stabilizing a Failing Pond Spillway

Posted by Steve Taylor on Dec 6, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Stabilizing a Failing Pond Spillway

Body - Stabilizing a Failing Pond SpillwayA property owner reached out to a geotech contractor for help with a leaking retention pond. The pond feeds into a creek via a concrete spillway. Over the years water has worked its way through the earthen dam and under the spillway, causing large voids and soil loss under the concrete.

Powerful Polymer

The technicians selected AP Fill 720 as the repair material for this job. AP Fill 720 is a single-component, closed-cell, hydrophobic, water-reactive, phthalate-free, low-viscosity polyurethane injection resin for cutting off large water leaks and filling voids around structures. This high-strength durable material will react and expand quickly upon contact with water and is one of the top soil stabilizers on the market. 

Painless Procedure

The spillway was about 15 x 15 feet in size, with one 15-foot side bordering the pond. After soil probe testing it was decided that the crew would inject AP Fill 720 directly next to the spillway on the pond side and then directly underneath the spillway via 5/8 inch drill holes in the concrete along the border with the pond. All injections were completed to a depth of four to five feet.

Rapid Result

This project was completed within a day. The AP Fill 720 structural polymer was cured within a couple of hours after injection. The homeowners were thrilled to see their pond system, which they were heavily invested in, finally functioning as it was designed.

Want more info on soil stabilization with structural polymers?

Download an Info-Packed Soil Stabilization Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil

Sealing Leaks in Cold Weather

Posted by Stephen C. Barton on Nov 17, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Sealing Leaks in Cold Weather 2022

Body - Sealing Leaks in Cold Weather 2022It's that time of year again. As temperatures drop, take a moment to review this previously posted article packed with cold-weather tips.

There are plenty of leak seal jobs that need to be done in the winter. So let's take a look at those cold-weather markets. We'll also review some special considerations for conditioning leak seal material and equipment. Then we’ll leave you with a few cold temperature leak seal application tips.

Cold Weather Markets

You have a variety of options for seeking jobs that are inside, and out of the elements, during the winter months.  Hopefully, these ideas will spark more brainstorming on your part. First up we have tunnels, both pedestrian and vehicle. Tunnels often leak, sometimes significantly enough to result in quite a big job. Aquariums are another possibility. As you can imagine, there are infinite potential leak problems in a structure holding that much water. Other possible large jobs could include mines and water treatment plants (which have plenty of interior spaces with potential leak issues). On the smaller side, there are utility vaults, lift stations, manholes, and elevator pits.

If you’re still up for working outside during the winter months, you’re in luck because concrete contracts during colder weather. The contraction makes cracks open wider. Wider cracks make leaks more apparent to the property owner and make them easier to repair.

Conditioning Materials and Equipment

One important point to understand is that cold weather requires you to make an extra effort to keep your materials and equipment warm. Cold material reacts slower and gets thicker. Be sure to store your materials and equipment in a heated room the night before the job. When on the job site, there are many ways to keep everything warm. Use an enclosed vehicle, like a box truck, enclosed trailer, or pickup truck with a camper top or bed cover. Keep as much material and equipment inside the vehicle as possible when working. Use a portable heater to maintain a warm temperature. You can also use electric pail heaters to keep your resin ready for action.

Remember that it won’t do you any good to heat the resin if you’re pumping it through cold equipment. The cold steel inside the pump and the cold hose will literally suck the heat out of the resin before it gets where it needs to be. This will increase the viscosity, making it harder to mix with the water and it will slow down the reaction dramatically. So don’t neglect the equipment side of the equation!

Cold Temperature Application Tips

If you’re using a product with an accelerator, you may need to use a faster accelerator or increase your percentage. Also, bring lots of oakum. You may have to use more if the cold temperature slows down the material or the contracted concrete has made the cracks wider.

If your job requires you to inject into a structure underwater (and the water’s cold), you can use a technique called twin streaming. In this approach, you hook two valves together in a parallel fashion – then inject warm water along with the resin to kick-start its reaction before hitting the cold water.

Conclusion

I hope this overview has helped spark some ideas on your part for finding leak seal work during the winter months. Just remember to keep your materials and equipment conditioned and you should be fine. Have more questions about polyurethane leak seal in cold weather? Call us at 404-618-0438.

Want more in-depth info on polyurethane leak sealing?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Brochure!

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

Case Study - Curtain Grouting in a Repurposed Power Plant Intake Well

Posted by David Park on Nov 8, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Curtain Grouting in a Repurposed Power Plant Intake Well

Body - Curtain Grouting in a Repurposed Power Plant Intake WelBack in the 1990s, the Seaholm Power Plan in the City of Austin, TX closed after four decades of operation. Recently, the entire area has been converted into an indoor-outdoor park and public space called the Seaholm Waterfront. All that's left standing of the original power plant is an intake building that the city decided to repurpose for public use as part of the project. Thirty feet below grade, are chambers that were originally designed to hold water from the river and pump it into the power plant to cool the machinery. The intake building renovation project hit a snag when they discovered that several thousand gallons of water were pouring into the chambers on a daily basis.

"Sealing of the intake gates was necessary in order to eliminate water from being continuously present within the building. Nine of the 10 wells have been successfully sealed off. While pumping the water out of the building, leaks were discovered in one of the wells which will require additional work by the underwater construction crew. Preventing the free-flowing entry of lake water into the building is central to the scope of this project improving the occupancy conditions by lowering humidity levels, eliminating odors and pests, and preserving the integrity of the building materials."
— Austin City Council, April 21, 2021

Initially, concrete was poured into the chambers to stop the leak. This proved to be ineffective and further complicated the job. Specialty contractors Canalco were brought in to seal the leaks via polyurethane curtain grouting, in which the technicians drill holes through concrete and inject water-activated grout on the other side, stopping the leak at its source. Technical assistance was provided by Chamberlin Waterproofing.

Powerful Polymer

The engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., specified Spetec PUR HighFoamer as the best grout to handle these high-pressure leaks. Technicians can easily adjust the set time for this material. They can speed it up for gushing leaks and slow it down to maximize coverage and penetration into the substrate for curtain grouting.

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Painless Procedure

A small crew sent a confined entry certified technician deep into the well to drill 1.25" injection holes 4-7' feet through the concrete. Next, he injected Spetec PUR HighFoamer through five holes to create a grout curtain on the outside of the structure to seal off the leaks.

Rapid Result

The job was completed in just one week. The city continues to monitor the situation and the results have been spectacular given the difficulty of the job and the complications.

Want more information on curtain grouting?

Download an Info-Packed Curtain Wall Grouting Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Case Study - Curtain Grouting a Complex Crack in a Basement Floor

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Oct 20, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Body - Curtain Grouting a Complex Crack in a Basement Floor

Body - Curtain Grouting a Complex Crack in a Basement FloorIn Louisville, Kentucky the Presbyterian church owned two historic buildings with an alley between them. Last century, an addition was added removing the alley and connecting the two buildings. Unfortunately, the addition was not properly waterproofed during construction. This led to water below-grade infiltration and a plethora of very complex leaking cracks and joints in the basements of both buildings and the new connecting structure.

The building is still home to a Presbyterian church. For years, the administrators have been simply dealing with the water by channeling it, as best they could, to sump pumps. Many and various repair attempts have been made over the years, but none of them have been successful in the long term. Recently, the church administration reached out to BJB Restoration for help with this ongoing issue. Due to the complexity of the project, Alchemy-Spetec's Director of Technical Services - Leak Seal Division Charlie "The Grout Geek" Lerman was called in to consult on the job.

Powerful Polymers

The technicians chose Spetec PUR HighFoamer as the repair material for this job because its expansive nature when catalyzed with Spetec GEN ACC Accelerator makes it a very cost-effective curtain grouting polyurethane resin. This one-component, closed-cell, hydrophobic, water-reactive, solvent, and phthalate-free, low-viscosity resin is also ideal for filling any voids created by the water underneath the basement slabs.

Painless Procedures

This particular job was what we like to call exploratory grouting, focused on two trial areas of complex cracking. The crew started injecting in the area of the primary leak. As they injected, water and foam began to bubble up along an adjacent and previously unidentified trench-like defect as well as the cracking being addressed. The initial injection covered the main crack and a surrounding area of about 16 feet (thanks to the expansive nature of Spetec PUR HighFoamer). Outgassing (CO2 produced during polymerization) was visible in numerous defects outside of that radius, requiring additional injections to seal the entire area.

Rapid Results

This one-day exploratory grouting project provided the contractor with a very accurate understanding of the type of problem and soil conditions they were dealing in the basements. The contractor and church administrators subsequently agreed upon a long-term maintenance plan based on the church's budget that calls for periodic curtain grouting over the next few years to address the many remaining basement floor defects in both buildings.

Want more information on curtain grouting?

Download an Info-Packed Curtain Wall Grouting Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Residential Leak Seal with Polyurethane Cartridges

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 13, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Residential Leak Seal

Body - Residential Leak SealAs more property owners convert basements into living spaces, the demand for residential waterproofing increases. Some standard industry practices include using a sump pump to remove leaking water or applying hydraulic cement to the leaking side of the wall (negative side waterproofing). Neither of these is an ideal solution. Hydraulic cement is very rigid once it cures, and it cracks over time due to structural movement caused by freeze/thaw cycles and expansive surrounding soil. A home is often a family’s biggest investment, so most are looking for a cost-effective, durable, long-term repair.

Polyurethane leak seal grouts are injected into or through the wall to stop the leak at the source (positive side waterproofing). These products remain flexible after they cure, so structural shifts due to freeze/thaw cycles and expansive soils do not cause the cured grout to crack and fail. Polyurethane grouts are strong enough for use on large-scale, industrial structures. Alchemy-Spetec’s leak seal solutions are approved by the Army Corps of Engineers for use on U.S. infrastructure. These products contain no volatile organic compounds (harmful fumes) and are NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 approved for contact with drinking water.

Cartridges vs. Pumps

For small-scale residential applications, using cartridges is more cost-effective than using pails of material with a mechanical pump. The process is also less messy, saves a lot of man-hours, and allows for easy mobilization.

Products Available in Cartridges

Want more information on residential leak seal with cartridges?

Download an Info-Packed Residential Leak Seal Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Case Study - Repairing a Footing in a Detention Pond

Posted by John Knieper on Oct 11, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Repairing a Footing in a Detention Pond

Body - Repairing a Footing in a Detention PondThis post is part of the Alchemy-Spetec Contractor Lens series, featuring views, news & case studies written by our customers. This article, written by John Knieper of SiteMix Pressure Grouting LLC, provides an overview of a repair job on a detention pond wall footer. If you're an Alchemy-Spetec customer and you'd like to discuss writing content for our blog, please send an email to marketing@alchemy-spetec.com today!

A general contractor working with a homeowners association reached out to SiteMix Pressure Grouting, LLC about a detention pond wall that was leaking along the footer in several places. A detention pond is designed to collect rainwater and then let it drain slowly in a controlled manner. But in this case, water was washing out quickly in an uncontrolled manner in multiple spots under the footing.

Powerful Polymers

To rapidly address the problem the technicians at SiteMix chose AP Fill 720 soil repair material. This single component, closed cell, hydrophobic, water-reactive, solvent and phthalate-free, low viscosity polyurethane foam has a high expansion rate and is ideal for filling voids. In this case, AP Fill 720 was the perfect choice for filling the soil voids underneath the footer created by water erosion.

Painless Procedures

First, the crew injected AP Fill 720 along 150 feet of the wall, installing approximately one gallon underneath the footing every two feet. Next, they installed another 75 gallons spot treating larger voids.

Rapid Results

The job was completed in only 2 days. The detention pond wall was ready for use immediately upon completion of the work. The general contractor and the homeowners association manager were very happy with the results.

Want more information on geotech products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks, Stabilize Soil

Polyurethane Crack Injection Case Studies

Posted by David Park on Sep 29, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Crack Injection Case Studies

Body - Crack Injection Case StudiesThe Crack Injection Process

Crack injection is a precision-focused leak seal approach for smaller cracks or joints. Contractors repair these defects by drilling holes into the wall and inserting injection ports at an angle to intersect the crack inside the wall. Next, they inject polyurethane grout directly into the center of the crack through the ports. The resin rapidly reacts with water to form a flexible watertight seal. 

This process also protects the rebar inside the wall. Water intrusion through the cracks can lead to rebar corrosion and concrete spalling. Rusting rebar can expand six to ten times the original volume of the steel. This creates internal pressure on the concrete. While concrete is very strong in compression, it has a low tensile strength, and the expanding rebar will cause it to crack. When polyurethane resin is injected under pressure, it can encapsulate rebar and slow down the corrosion process.

Crack Injection Case Studies

Want more information on polyurethane crack injection?

Download an Info-Packed Leak Seal Methodology Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Polyurethane Curtain Grouting Case Studies

Posted by David Park on Sep 27, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Curtain Grouting Case Studies

Body - Curtain Grouting Case StudiesThe Curtain Grouting Process

There are negative-side leak seal solutions, in which contractors apply surface treatments to the face of a wall to stop leaks. However, this is merely a band-aid approach. The water pressure coming through the cracks from behind the wall can still blow this band-aid repair right off. Contractors using positive-side solutions like curtain grouting can stop multiple leaks in a structure at one time.

In this process, holes are drilled through a structure in a diamond pattern. Next, expansive leak seal grout is injected through the structure, sealing leaks and filling soil voids on the other side. The grout quickly reacts with the water and cures to form a curtain wall made of a resin/soil mixture that seals the leak permanently. This is a positive-side waterproofing solution applied from the negative side.

Curtain Grouting Case Studies

Want more information on polyurethane curtain grouting?

Download an Info-Packed Curtain Wall Grouting Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Polyurethane Concrete Repair Presentations for Engineers

Posted by David Park on Sep 15, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Banner - Polyurethane Concrete Repair Presentations for Engineers

Body - Polyurethane Concrete Repair Presentations for EngineerAlchemy-Spetec offers one-hour CE/PDH accredited presentations on polyurethane concrete repair. Presentation topics offered include Leak Seal, Geotech, and Seawall Repair. Here is a detailed overview... 

Leak Seal Presentation

The Specialty Waterproofing with Chemical Grouts presentation covers sealing leaks in structures with the use of polyurethane chemical grout injection materials and techniques. 

  • Chemical Grouting Primer
    • History
    • Safety
    • Characteristics
  • Utilization & Applications
    • Identifying Applications
    • Selecting a Chemical Grout
    • Epoxy & Hydraulic Cement
  • Installation Techniques
    • Crack and Joint Injection
    • Curtain Grouting
    • Oakum Soakum
    • Equipment Overview

Alchemy-Spetec's one-hour CE/PDH accredited Leak Seal presentation is perfect for engineers looking for information on innovative and proven leak seal repair methods for sealing leaks in structures, inflow/infiltration mitigation, and more.

Geotech Presentation

The Geotechnical Applications for Polyurethane presentation explains three types of concrete leveling and soil stabilization materials and applications. 

  • Single Component Polyurethane Grout Applications
  • Two-Component Polyurethane Grout Applications
  • Acrylic Grout Applications

Alchemy-Spetec's one-hour CE/PDH accredited Geotech presentation is perfect for engineers looking for information on innovative and proven geotechnical repair methods for lifting concrete, soil stabilization, excavation support, controlling erosion, and more. 

Seawall Repair Network Presentation

The Seawall Stabilization and Preservation through Permeation Presentation explains and demonstrates how Seawall Repair Network contractors use polyurethane injection resin and surface-applied preservation solutions to stabilize and preserve seawalls and bulkheads. (Seawall Repair Network is a division of Alchemy-Spetec.)

  • The Causes of Seawall Failure
  • Stabilizing a Seawall
  • Preserving a Seawall
  • Stabilization & Preservation Through Permeation

Alchemy-Spetec's one-hour CE/PDH accredited Seawall Repair Network presentation is ideal for engineers who are interested in designing superior seawall/bulkhead rehabilitation and preservation solutions. This type of environmentally friendly permanent soil stabilization and seawall preservation can be applied to all types of waterfront infrastructure.

Want info on scheduling a presentation?

Request a Concrete Repair Presentation

Topics: Repair Seawalls, All Posts, Lift Slabs, Seal Leaks, Business Tips, Engineer Resources