A Primer on Permeation Grouting

Any type of grouting can be complicated. Variables like the scope of the problem, desired outcomes, physical properties of the material to be grouted, structural issues, access restrictions, budget and time constraints, etc. mean that dozens of different mix designs and injection plans should be considered before settling on a “best” solution.

But that’s OK. In fact, having lots of options is a very good thing—as long as you have the help of a qualified contractor.

You should never have to worry about exactly how your contractor arrived at that best solution. After all, developing a comprehensive approach—including a suitable mix design—is a large part of how we grouting contractors earn our keep. You should, however, have a good foundation of understanding.

At Rembco, we believe that helping you to develop that foundation of understanding is another part of how we provide you with the best possible service.

Pressure Grouting

“Pressure grouting” is a term that is frequently used to describe permeation of a formation, but since all grouting is done under pressure, “pressure grouting” is confusing. “We prefer the term permeation grouting” says Rembco General Superintendent, Tim Adkins. “That’s a specific term that means we’re using a thin, fluid grout to fill the spaces between particles. With permeation grouting, we improve the properties in a variety of formations like granular soil, sand, gravel, weathered rock, or even fractured concrete. We’re not filling large voids or displacing loose soils like we do with compaction grouting. Permeation grout soaks-in without altering the structural makeup of the formation being grouted.”

There’s a Grout for That

For permeation grouting, there is a remarkable assortment of grouts available—from cementitious, to resinous, to chemical. A chemical grout, such as polyacrylamide renders a soil impermeable to water, so it is ideal for containing groundwater.

Epoxy grouts and polyurethane grouts are excellent for repairing damaged or cracked concrete. Both bond tightly to the material being treated, but each serves a different purpose. Polyurethane is used to seal leaks in joints or cracks—even very fine cracks. Combining the best properties of rubber and plastic, polyurethane grouts are effective even when movement or vibration is present. Similarly, epoxy based grouts begin as a thin liquid that readily penetrates cracks and joints. As epoxy cures, however, it takes on very different properties. Within hours, epoxies become extremely strong and rigid, returning structural strength to the material being treated.

Considering the variety of additives that can be prescribed, either alone or in combination, the number of options in designing a grout mix is almost limitless. To apply the best solution, your geotechnical contractor must be well versed in the properties of grouts and additives as well as the strengths, limitations and costs of each.

Special Delivery

Geotechnical contractors must also know how to select the best injection methods for a particular job. One project might require a heavy drill rig and high-rate batch plants, while a more subtle job calls for hand drills and small metering pumps. Sleeve-port pipes (tubes with holes at regular intervals) allow for a predictable and controlled dispersion of grout. And downhole packers are used to isolate particular zones in a formation when two or more zones require distinct treatments. (See an animated demonstration of a downhole packer at http://rembco.com/pressure_grouting.html.

All this may seem a bit baffling, but don’t worry. Rembco has been designing and performing permeation grouting for more than 25 years. Whether you want to prevent water flow, stabilize granular material, encapsulate contaminated material, improve the physical properties of rock, or simply increase the bearing capacity of a soil, Rembco has a grout for that. And we know how to deliver it in an efficient, effective and economical way.

Whether you’re facing a geotechnical problem at your construction site or need help with a structural failure at an existing facility, the skillful advancement of just the right grout may be the answer. For a complete evaluation, call Mike Bivens at 865-671-2925 or email him here.


About Rembco

Rembco is a geotechnical contractor that specializes in foundation support, soil stabilization and specialty grouting. Rembco offers micropiles, minipiles, soil nailing, rock anchors, pressure grouting, compaction grouting, compaction piles, chemical grouting, sinkhole repair, soil anchors and more. Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, Rembco has been providing geotechnical services (ground improvement, rock slide stabilization, excavation shoring, sinkhole remediation, hazardous material encapsulation, and underground liquid migration control) for over 30 years, serving clients throughout the nation.

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