The Causes of Unstable Soil - A Brief Overview

GCS on Feb 22, 2019 10:00:00 AM
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Unstable soil can be defined as soil that will not stay in place on its own, and therefore requires extra support. It should be noted that unstable soil can threaten the stability, security, and safety of infrastructure and can damage, degrade, and even destroy valuable structures, such as houses, buildings, bridges, and roads.
 
GCS Causes Unstable Soil Overview - BodyLet's look at the four main causes of unstable soil...
 

Erosion


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

Poor Compaction


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

Freeze/Thaw


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

Decomposition


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

How GCS Can Help

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

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Topics: Soil Stabilization, All Posts

The GCS Difference: Soil Imaging and Testing

GCS on Feb 18, 2019 4:53:52 PM

The GCS Difference: Soil Imaging and Testing

The GCS Difference_ Soil Imaging and Testing - blog (1)A couple of things that set us apart from other slab lifting contractors (aside from our highly skilled technicians and the top shelf lifting resin we use) are the soil imaging and testing services we offer. Why settle for guesswork about what's going on underneath your slab or structure when we can verify the facts for you before we do any lifting work? Here's how we do it...

Ground Penetrating Radar
Ground Consolidation Services will use the Deep Look GPR to remove all uncertainty and take the guesswork out of the diagnostic process.  This ground penetrating radar device takes images of soil and voids up to 30 feet deep.  We can show you before and after data, so you can see how the polyurethane resin has stabilized your soil.  A crystal clear understanding of the problem provides the best foundation for accurate, durable and lasting repairs.

Probe The Ground for Soil Density 
In addition, we have tools which allow us to probe the ground's soil density up to 40 feet deep.  Used separately or in combination with the Deep Look GPR system, our soil probing process provides additional valuable information about the conditions of the ground you depend on to support your valuable structures.

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Topics: All Posts, Deep Lift, Slab Lifting, Soil Testing

Coastal Soil Stabilization

GCS on Feb 15, 2019 1:56:25 PM

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coastal-blogHigh winds, heavy rain, tidal changes and large waves can play havoc with your beaches, shorelines and seawalls. GCS can help. We use Alchemy-Spetec soil stabilization resins that can stop erosion of unstable soils and sand. We can stabilize soil in the areas behind seawalls suffering from erosion and settling. We can also lift slabs and raise structures that sink due to erosion.

Don’t wait for potential problems to become worse or serious. Let us offer you lasting solutions with powerful polymers and painless procedures that will give you rapid results! Providing you with peace of mind for your soil stabilization problems is our specialty. Call 678-337-8374 now!

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Topics: All Posts, Soil Stabilization, Seawall Repair

Soil Stabilization for New Construction

GCS on Feb 13, 2019 5:11:31 PM

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soil-blogWe talk a lot about soil stabilization underneath existing structures, but what about new construction? Before construction can begin on any new structure, stable ground underneath is obviously an essential prerequisite.

Unstable soil can be defined as soil that will not stay in place on its own, and therefore requires extra support. It should be noted that unstable soil can threaten the stability, security, and safety of any potential new construction projects, such as buildings, bridges, and roads. There are a variety of factors that can cause unstable soil including erosion, poor compaction, freeze/thaw cycles and decomposition.

Soil can be stabilized with high strength polyurethane resins applied by skilled & experienced contractors. Once the bearing capacity of the soil has been increased, then the new construction can begin.

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Topics: All Posts, Soil Stabilization

Why Polyurethane is the Most Efficient Slab Lifting Material

GCS on Feb 11, 2019 5:07:59 PM

Why Polyurethane is the Most Efficient Slab Lifting Material

This video from our material supplier Alchemy-Spetec documents the raising of a driveway slab at a busy ATM drive-through. Customers’ cars were getting damaged when they suddenly dropped down onto the sunken section of the driveway. Needless to say, the property owner was highly motivated to resolve this liability in a timely yet reliable manner.

Sunken concrete slabs can be lifted back into place with two component polymer foam designed to work in wet or dry conditions. The expansion force of the foam coupled with the pressure of a specialized pump generate enough controlled force to lift virtually any structure back into position with 1/8" precision. Slab settlement can be restored at a fraction of the cost and time required for replacement.

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Topics: All Posts, Slab Lifting

OUR Best Practices Benefit YOUR Property

GCS on Feb 8, 2019 3:00:41 PM

OUR Best Practices Benefit YOUR Property

OUR Best Practices Benefit YOUR PropertyWhen choosing a polyurethane foam slab lifting contractor, it’s important to make sure they have a thorough understanding of industry best practices. There are a great number of details to be aware of, but they’ve become second nature to us over time. Why? Because we care about your property.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll divide the best practices of slab lifting into three sections:

  • Preparation
  • Lifting the Slab
  • Wrap Up
Preparation

Let’s start with the very basics. When we arrive on the site, we double-check location of buried utilities and other underground infrastructure. We always make sure we have a thorough understanding of the subterranean layout before we begin. Another essential preparatory step to evaluating a job site is to document the existing conditions of the site. Aside from lifting your slab, we want to do our best to leave it as it was before we arrived.

Polyurethane foam, once cured, is VERY difficult to remove. That a testament to its strength and binding qualities, but can be quite a pain if a careless contractor accidentally splatters some on your property. That's why we make sure to cover any critical property that can’t be moved out of the way. For example, if we’re lifting a warehouse slab next to heavy machinery that’s secured to the floor, we'll cover the machinery in plastic. 

Lifting the Slab

The first step in the slab lifting process is to make sure that the slab is liftable. In other words, we check the joints around the edges, where the slab connects to walls or other slabs. We make sure they’re clear and the slab isn’t fused to those other objects. In many cases, we may need to either saw cut some joints or clean them out with a sawzall or a trowel. 

Next, we'll set up a measuring device that accurately indicates when and by how much the slab lifts. Now it’s time to lay out the drill holes. Each slab is different, so we consider very carefully where stress points may occur under the slab as we inject the expansive foam. A gradual, measured approach is always best. 

Before we begin work on each section of the slab, we spray Spetec Surface Guard along joints and around the outside of drill holes to prevent foam from bonding to the concrete surface in case it ends up overflowing into those places. This is a critical step, since – as mentioned earlier - it’s very difficult to remove foam once it has cured. While injecting, we use longer shots to move the material out wide and fill voids, and use shorter controlled shots to get foam to cure right beneath drill hole area and lift.

While injecting polyurethane foam, we always maintain a 360 degree field of awareness. We never try to lift the entire slab from one drill point. Smaller injection amounts, spread across many drill points will lift the slab smoothly and gradually. 

Wrap Up

After leveling and/or stabilizing the slab, we trim all excess foam that has eased out from underneath the slab. We sweep up any cured foam bits, concrete dust, etc. Our goal is to leave every site in better shape than we found it!

When choosing slab lifting contractor, make sure they care enough to follow these industry best practices and you'll be one step ahead in your decision process!

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Topics: All Posts, Slab Lifting

Why Polyurethane Slab Lifting Is the Better Choice

GCS on Feb 6, 2019 4:55:00 PM

blog-a16On large projects, the first question any engineer will ask is “Does the solution fit the needs of the application?” When it comes to structural foams used for slab lifting repair projects, we can confidently answer “yes.”

Here's why...

Light Weight & Enduring Strength of Polyurethane Foam

Concrete, a mixture of cement, sand and aggregates, weighs on average 150 pounds per cubic foot, and high-density concrete can weigh in at 300 pounds or more. Any material used to serve as an elevating cushion of support between concrete and soil is literally caught between a rock and hard place – the concrete and the natural soil on which it rests.

By definition, structural foams need only be strong enough to heft sinking slabs back to level ground and durable enough to stop them from sinking again once cured. But polyurethane foams are actually one of the most resilient foundation repair solutions ever innovated.

Rated on density and compressive potency, the strength-to-weight ratio of lifting foams is staggering. Successful applications include airport runway and railway bed repair projects – in other words, structural polyurethane slab lifting foams like the products we use are heavy-duty enough to support the lift-off and landing of a 747 or the constant travel of a freight train.

Cost-Effective Option

Demo and rebuild or rethink and repair – these are, generally speaking, the two available resolution options when shifting soils give way under structural foundations and existing slab work. When possible, remediation repairs for settling concrete require far fewer resources than reconstruction.

Traditional mud jacking, which requires hydraulic pressure to inject mud into the void or weak soil beneath the slab, can’t hold a candle to the power of expanding, high-density polyurethane foam. Lifting foams are injected in bursts and rapidly expand 15-25 times or more the original volume, filling voids or strengthening soil in the affected space and creating comprehensive support. These stronger-than-bedrock polymers also subdue the kinds of stress points that mud jacking applications can create, eventually causing cracking and a second round of expensive repair work.

Another contrast with traditional mudjacking materials is the fact that polyurethane does not shrink or wash out over time, saving property owners the extra cost of re-treating the problem at a later date.

Rapid Delivery

Slab lifting foams don’t just save money, they save time. Because of their expansion properties, they can be applied quickly to lift slabs, and curing doesn’t require the same amount of time as other solution applications, such as mudjacking with cement slurry. That means a seasoned slab lifting technician can deliver project completion – with drive-on capability – in a much more efficient manner. Depending on contingencies and project timelines, that savings alone can be worth its weight in gold to potential customers.

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Topics: All Posts, Slab Lifting

How We Prevent Polyurethane from Staining Your Concrete

GCS on Feb 4, 2019 5:15:36 PM

How We Prevent Polyurethane from Staining Your Concrete

How We Prevent Polyurethane from Staining Your ConcreteWe have pumped, shot, spilled, splashed, sprayed, poured and injected polyurethane foam into every imaginable type of concrete structure known to man. 99.9% of it has ended up where it was supposed to go.

But there are those rare occasions when a small amount may end up ON the concrete we are trying to fix. Luckily that's NOT a problem at all, because we use Spetec Surface Guard to prevent staining from polyurethane resins!

Spetec Surface Guard is a concentrated product that we mix with 3-5 parts water. It can be sprayed onto concrete, wood, metal, or plastic and creates a barrier layer that prevents polyurethane foam from sticking to and staining the surface.

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Topics: All Posts, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization

Soil Grouting - Polyurethane vs. Water

GCS on Feb 1, 2019 4:01:52 PM

Soil Grouting - Polyurethane vs. Water

blog-14Not all two-component polyurethane lifting and stabilizing foams are specifically designed for wet environments.  In most situations when a contractor is injecting polyurethane foam into the ground underneath your structure, there is a high probability that the soil is going to be wet.  You need to be confident that the foam will react and retain the desired properties in these wet environments.  If the foam your contractor is using is not specifically designed for wet environments, then you may be getting cheated out of the best possible results.

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

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

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Topics: All Posts, Slab Lifting, Soil Stabilization

Slab Jacking with Polyurethane Foam - Overview

GCS on Jan 31, 2019 8:54:59 AM

Slab Jacking with Polyurethane Foam - Overview

blog-13In countless regions around the world, many structures we build start settling or sinking sooner or later. Sometimes they sink very gradually with the evidence and damage showing up after a long period of time. In other cases, entire homes and roadway sections are swallowed up in minutes. These situations create serious problems for property owners and property managers.

Concrete Lifting is Often the Solution

Certainly, if your house or building has disappeared into a sinkhole, you will need a lot more than slab jacking. But if the issue is uneven concrete slabs, settling foundations, roadways, railways, or sidewalks, then these solutions may be for you. 

Raising Concrete: Technology + Experience = Knowledge to Share

Ground Consolidation Services uses high strength polyurethane lifting foams for slab jacking and structure lifting. In addition to that, our staff has extensive experience fixing problems just like the one on your property. For immediate assistance, call us at 678-337-8374.

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Topics: All Posts, Slab Lifting