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French Drain

clock September 17, 2010 12:57 by author blogadmin
Keeping your foundation safe and dry is important. The invention of the french drain helps prevent ground water from entering your basement.

French drains, a form of subsurface drain, utilizes a buried perforated pipe installed in a gravel bed with a geo-textile fabric envelope lining the trench. Water from the surrounding soil enters the gravel bed, flows into the drain pipe and utilizes gravity to flow towards the discharge point.

The three most frequently used type of french drain pipe systems for residential and commercial applications are smooth sewer and drain pipe, corrugated plastic pipe and poly drain pipe. Smooth wall sewer and drain pipe is rigid and manufactured from PVC or Polyethylene. Due to its rigid nature it is easier to maintain a continuous slope in critical areas by spanning over uneven trenches. Corrugated pipe is manufactured from high density polyethylene and is available in 10' - 250' rolls. Since corrugated pipe is flexible, it can follow contours of the ground and wrap around corners without couplings or elbows. Poly drain pipe (EZ-Flow) is a self contained french drain system that combines corrugated pipe with a poly aggregate wrapped in geo-fabric. This system eliminates the need for gravel sepaate geo-textile cloth.

Each of the above mentioned drain pipe systems have perforations or slits to allow water in and directing this water down stream to a discharge point. Discharge points can be grates, drywells or popup emitters. French drains are the most common method for evacuating excess ground water which has infiltrated into the soil. If the gravel is run to the top of the trench you can also direct surface water down through the aggregate to the pipe system preventing water in unwanted areas such as near foundations or across patios and sidewalks.

A well designed and installed french drain system can prevent foundation repairs and basement flooding. By stopping surface and ground water from coming into contact with foundation components, basements will stay dry and foundations will remain more stable. Understanding water flow and pipe capacities are key components to a well designed french drain system. Many foundation repair and basement waterproofing contractors have been trained to diagnose and solve ground water issues, but it is always advisable to consult with a professional engineer when dealing with foundation issues.

Mudjacking is bit of a misnomer

clock September 8, 2010 11:50 by author blogadmin
Mudjacking is the process of lifting concrete slabs that have sunken, generally due to dry weather periods.


The following article is from by Alan Goforth

Mudjacking is bit of a misnomer, but the hot summer means KC homeowners may see more of it

Though homeowners are finally getting a break as summer nears its end, they might be in for an unpleasant surprise when they take a closer look at their driveways, sidewalks or patios.

“We are looking at a lot more work than we usually do,” said Rob Kramer, owner of KC Pro, a foundation repair company in Kansas City. “Although we do repair work year-round, we generally see more business when it’s dry and the soils have drawn down.”

The always-changing climate in the Kansas City area is tough on concrete, said Perry Hochkammer, owner of Black-Jack Grout Pumps in Rockford, Ill., and president of the American Pressure Grouting and Mudjacking Association.

“Parts of the country with cycles of freezing and thawing always see the most problems,” he said.

A cost-effective solution to settling concrete is a simple process with an interesting name — mudjacking. Workers drill 2-inch to 5-inch holes into slabs of concrete that have settled and pump in a mixture that can include topsoil, lime ash and portland cement. This mixture both fills the voids and raises the slab to its original level. After the surface is leveled, the drill holes are filled with concrete.

The term “mudjacking” may be a bit misleading, said Dennis Morgan, owner of Pro Foundation Technology Inc., which has locations in Raytown and Columbia. The company was founded in 1978 and has been doing mudjacking since 1990.

“We should use a different term than mudjacking, but that is what most people recognize,” he said. “It should be slab jacking. We don’t use mud anymore but a mixture of lime and portland cement.”

The term made sense when the process was developed nearly four decades ago, Hochkammer said.

“Workers initially used hot asphalt and then switched to a black topsoil blend,” he said. “Over the years, organic material such as topsoil and mud begin to break down. Now we use more stable materials such as lime ash and portland cement.”

KC Pro uses a slurry of pulverized topsoil and portland cement, said Kramer, who has 17 years of repair experience. The slurry is thickened as needed. Pro Foundation Technology also has been working with a high-density polyurethane on projects for the Missouri and Kansas transportation departments.

“Polyurethane does the same thing but lasts longer,” Morgan said. “It’s very light and doesn’t burden the soil as much. Some homeowners also are starting to use it, although it costs a little more. Smaller holes are required, which is an advantage if you are working on a nice patio, for example.”

The slow economy has helped the mudjacking business, with customers finding it more economical to repair than replace damaged concrete.

“Typically, when the economy is faltering, mudjacking is a good alternative to replacement for municipalities and homeowners on tight budgets,” Hochkammer said. “Mudjacking to raise concrete costs about one-fourth as much as replacement.”

Kramer agrees.

“The economy has not affected our business very much,” he said. “The average cost of a project is $600 to $700, which is much easier to come up with than $5,000 to $6,000 for replacement.”

As with any type of project, the bigger the problem, the higher the cost.

But, Kramer said, “The smaller the pieces of concrete, the more difficult it is to use mudjacking. We can lift the bigger pieces, but the smaller ones will fall out. People need to contact us before the concrete begins breaking into small pieces.”

Indications of sinking concrete are hard to miss.

“The most common sign that most people see is a speed bump as they pull into their garage,” Morgan said.

It pays to shop around.

Hochkammer said: “The best place to go is the Better Business Bureau. Companies should provide at least three references. My association ( also can help if you have trouble finding a good local company.”

As summer winds down, local mudjacking businesses urge homeowners to keep a close eye on concrete surfaces.

“We will have a lot of calls after this hot weather,” Morgan said.

“The Kansas City area is good for business.”


Carbon Fiber for Foundation Repair

clock September 6, 2010 18:35 by author blogadmin
Carbon fiber is now a legitimate foundation repair method. Used for bowing and cracked basement walls, carbon fiber supplies all of the strength required for a permanent repair.


We have all heard about the strength and unique properties of carbon fiber. It is used in many high tech applications such as car racing, mountain bikes, fishing poles, golf clubs and baseball bats. What do all of these things have in common - the need to produce high strength and light weight in a small package. As carbon fiber materials have evolved and become more price competitive, new applications and opportunities have evolved into our mainstream lives. One of these applications is in our homes as a foundation repair method for bowing and cracked basement walls.

Using its thin profile and tremendous strength carbon fiber, when applied to basement walls, can reinforce problem foundations. Over 20 years of Large-Scale Testing for applications that include repair and strengthening of concrete, masonry, steel, and wood structures support carbon fiber systems. In each of these tests, carbon fiber was shown to out-perform steel alternative repairs. Carbon fiber products never corrode like steel and offer greater tensile strengths without the obstructions or adversely effecting the look of your basement wall.

As with all products in the foundation repair business, it all comes down to precise application of the products more than the individual products themselves. Carbon fiber materials must be installed correctly and by approved foundation repair contractors to provide their full benefit. Just because a contractor offers a product does not mean that this person has been properly trained in its application. Understanding this and hiring a qualified structural repair contractor is the first step in getting your foundation walls repaired correctly.



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