ICRI Gulf South Chapter 2018 Spring Meeting


ICRI Gulf South Chapter 2018 Spring Meeting

The  ICRI Gulf South Chapter 2018 Spring Meeting is coming up on March 8, 2018. Come and join us to learn about “Concrete Repair in Wet Environments’. The Meeting will be held at the Pensacola Bay Center at 201 East Gregory Street, Pensacola, FL 32502. The ICRI meeting agenda goes as followed:

  • 7:30 AM – Breakfast and Registration
  • 8:30 AM – ICRI Business
  • 9:00 AM – Kyle Lloyd, Exec. VP, Sika, “Watertight Concrete and Joint Design for Durability”
  • 10:00 AM – Break
  • 10:30 AM – David E. Daniell & Will Anderson, Esq., Daniell, Upton and Perry P.C., “Legal Issues Involving Concrete Repair, Avoid the Lawyers”
  • 11:30 AM – Alex Doleac, Project Manager, Baldwin Co. Economic Development Alliance, Baldwin County Economic Update
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – Dave Tepke, PE SKA Consulting Engineers, “Corrosion of Reinforcing in Concrete: Mechanisms, Assessment, Mitigation & Repair”
  • 2:30 PM – Break
  • 3:00 PM – Tom Spencer, PE, Moffatt Nichol, “Waterfront Concrete Repair at Pearl Harbor”
  • 4:00 PM – Closing Comments / Open Forum
  • Register – Press Here to Register
  • Hotel – Pensacola Grand Hotel / Mention ICRI Gulf South for the Special $110 room rate

Nichols/Grout Tech is proud to be the Breakfast Sponsor for this event. The other sponsors include Coastal Construction Products as the Premier Sponsor and Sherman Industries, LLC as the Lunch Sponsor. Come and join us at this event to learn all about ‘Concrete Repair in Wet Environments’ and to get to network with some amazing people! For more information about this event and for speaker information, see below.

The Risks of Hiring a Non-Reputable Contractor


The Risks of Hiring a Non-Reputable Contractor

The one thing that cannot be stressed enough is to always hire a reputable contractor. Without doing the proper research when it comes to searching for foundation and waterproofing contractors in your area, you could wind up spending additional time and money fixing problems that should have been fixed from the beginning. Below is the perfect example.

Work from a non-reputable contractor

Job Well Done by “Competitor”

We got a call from a home that went through a complete remodel and a few additions about two years ago. These homeowners were currently experiencing settlement problems in the middle of their home. When we visited their home for an inspection to see what the problem was, we found duct tape surrounding the concrete column supporting their foundation. Duct tape. What we figured was that during the jacking process, they started to have a bit of movement in the column when setting the 4×4 onto the “shims” (wood shims should never be utilized in structural repairs). Thus, in their infinite wisdom, decided to duct tape it together in order to keep it from moving. Because yes, duct tape is an engineered product. This “foundation repair contractor” refused to return any of the homeowner’s phone calls, even though they offered them a lifetime warranty.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Tips When Hiring a Contractor

  •  “Cheap” is not always the best route. If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Contractors should be able to provide proof of training certifications from industry sources.
  • Do your research online to learn what the company’s reputation is. Look for as many reviews as you can.
  • Make sure the company can fully explain the foundation problem, solution, and process to you including what products they will be using.

Always Call the Professionals

Nichols/Grout Tech is the industry leading foundation repair, water management, and specialty grouting company in Birmingham, AL and throughout the Southeastern United States as well. Our team is compiled of hardworking, knowledgeable individuals who have the ability to help you find a solution for you and your business, no matter what the project size may be. If you are in need of a trustworthy, reputable foundation repair contractor, contact Nichols/Grout Tech today here. We are the foundation company that you can rely on. And a company that will never use duct tape to fix your foundation.


Concrete Crack Repair Contractor in Alabama

Concrete Crack Repair Contractor in Alabama

Crack Repair Contractor in Alabama

Has this winter caused distress on your concrete? The change in temperatures and the harsh winter elements can damage concrete in a number of ways, eventually causing cracks. When this occurs, it is always best to contact a concrete crack repair contractor in Alabama as soon as you can. Waiting on these issues will only worsen them, causing you additional time and money in the future. While damaged concrete is never ideal, there are many solutions that will get your concrete looking as good as new.

Concrete Crack Repair Solutions

There are a number of concrete crack repair solutions that will solve any concrete damage that you may be dealing with. Some of these solutions include the following:

Epoxy Injection – Epoxy injection solutions help with a number of issues including protecting the rebar, stopping water leakage, and can weld cracks in the concrete back together. This method restores the concrete to its original strength and makes the concrete as good as new.

Cement Grouting – Cement grouting is the most common form of permeation grouting and is the injection under pressure grout. It uses cement-based grout and pumps it into a rock or soil formation in order to fill any voids or fractures in the formation. By using cement grouting, you will be able to repair fractures, improve stability, lift cement slabs, and more.

Polyurethane Epoxy InjectionPolyurethane Injection – Polyurethane injection solutions are similar to epoxy injections as they also protect the rebar, stop water leakage, and can weld cracks in the concrete back together. Depending on the specific situation, you may need to use polyurethane epoxy injection, which is often the only alternative to complete concrete replacement.

While these are just a few concrete crack solutions, they are all solutions that will ensure your concrete is free of cracks, stabilized, and looking its best. If you have any questions about these concrete repair solutions make sure to contact a concrete crack repair contractor in Alabama. Without using concrete crack solutions such as these, you could experience further issues such as water leakage, larger or additional cracks in the concrete, or weakening of the area surrounding the crack. This is why it is so important to routinely check the concrete on your property for any cracks or signs of possible cracking. By keeping up with this, you will save yourself the headache of cracks or any other concrete issues in your home or on your property.

If you are experiencing cracks in your concrete or believe you may have cracking issues in the near future, contact a concrete crack repair contractor in your area. Nichols/Grout Tech has a team of experts who specialize in foundation and structural repair. We are a well reputable concrete crack repair contractor in Alabama and work with only the highest quality materials. We have a team of hardworking individuals who always make sure the customer’s needs are of highest priority. If you have any questions about concrete crack repair or are interested in a free estimate, you can contact us here. Thank you for considering Nichols/Grout Tech your concrete crack repair contractor in Alabama!





Authorized Installers of Smart Vent®

Authorized Installers of Smart Vent®


Nichols/Grout Tech is proud to announce that we are now authorized installers of Smart Vents® line of products. Smart Vent® Foundation Flood Vents is what your home is in need of if you have experienced flood damage previously or are in a flood-prone location. Flood Vents protect buildings in flood-prone areas by preventing hydrostatic pressure, which is what destroys walls and foundations. Through installing Smart Vent® Foundation Flood Vents you will no longer need to worry about the chance of foundation failure when the next big storm hits.

Installers of Smart VentWhat Makes Smart Vent® so Smart?

Smart Vents® line of Flood Vents are designed to fully protect your home or building from hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is what builds up when the flood waters are surrounding your foundation walls. This pressure eventually causes the foundation to become destroyed. Smart Vent® Flood Vents avoid this hydrostatic pressure by using a mitigation technique, referred to as Wet Floodproofing. This technique allows floodwater to flow freely through an enclosure such as a garage or crawlspace.

How it works is when flood water rises around your foundation, the rising water will activate the internal floats on the Flood Vent. When the internal floats are activated, the door will unlatch and open, allowing water to flow through a 3-inch clearance. The 3-inch clearance will allow not only water but debris to flow through as well. A normal air vent will clog debris that passes through the water. Through these Smart Vents®, you will be able to equalize the flood water pressure around your home, which can ultimately save your foundation.

Advantages of Smart Vent®

There are many advantages when it comes to Smart Vents® line of products, including the following:

  • ICC-ES Certified.
  • Compliant with FEMA and NFIP.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Made out of flood resistant stainless steel construction.
  • Recieve proper flood insurance rating with your Smart Vent® purchase.
  • Smart Vent® has 15+ years of experience in flood venting protection.
  • All Smart Vent® products are rodent resistant, unlike air vents.
  • Models available for every application.

Smart Vent® Foundation Flood VentsThrough installing Smart Vent® Foundation Flood Vents, you will no longer need to worry about foundation failure when flooding occurs in your area. If you are looking for the best solution for foundation flooding, Smart Vents® will provide the right products for you. If you are living in a flood-prone location and feel as though Smart Vents® would be a good option for you, give Nichols/Grout Tech a call today.

Nichols/Grout Tech, authorized installers of Smart Vent®, was established in 1981 and has held its reputation of a trusted contracting business in the Southeastern United States ever since. Due to our outstanding customer service and our high-quality workmanship, we have earned the reputation of being a premier concrete and foundation repair contractor in the industry. Our team is compiled of hardworking individuals who always have the customer as number one priority. If you are looking for a company who is knowledgeable in Smart Vent® Foundation Flood Vents, or other foundation repair services, give us a call today. Get an estimate by contacting us here. We look forward to being your authorized installers of Smart Vent®.



What Causes Water Problems in Alabama?

What Causes Water Problems in Alabama?

Water leaks into a basement or crawlspace through any opening it can find. This includes cracks in walls, floors, and the joints. Even the smallest openings water can get into when there is enough pressure built up. Water can even leak through the concrete itself. This is why basements and crawlspaces are notorious for being damp and humid.

Many people in Alabama experience water seepage in their basement. Why in Alabama? Alabama has shallow bedrock, seasonal high water tables, and massive clay subsoils. These circumstances cause a lot of basement and crawlspace water problems in Alabama homes. Sometimes the water issue is very apparent, sometimes it is not. This is why being knowledgeable of the signs is so important. Through knowing the signs of water issues you will be able to occasionally check your Alabama home and know right away if you need to contact the professionals. Check your basement or crawlspace for some of these signs:

  • Bowed walls
  • Foundation cracks
  • Water seepage
  • Water stains
  • Musty odors and mold

Water Problems AlabamaWaterproofing Solutions

Because Alabama basements and crawlspaces are prone to water damage, it is important to have a professional come and inspect your home and give you the solution to your wet basement or crawlspace repair needs. While many people think they can wait, or that they can fix it themselves, this is not the case when it comes to water issues. Not getting to the sole problem, or putting the issue off will only make matter worse, causing you more time and money in the long run. If you notice any of the signs above, contact a professional right away. The experts at Grout Tech can offer you several waterproofing solutions such as:

If your home is in need of a sealed waterproofing or water control system, you have come to the right place. The first step is to contact us. We will answer your questions and teach you about the sealed waterproofing solutions that will best fix your water problem. Your waterproofing contractor will give you a written proposal that details what can be done and the cost of the work. After you approve the proposal, we will seal your home against water quickly and permanently. Our team is compiled of hardworking, knowledgeable individuals who always have the customer as their number one priority. Our team ensures you quality service, a great warranty and the peace of mind in hiring the best.

Browse around this site and learn about the sealed waterproofing products and methods that can make your home safe and structurally sound. Whether you need a sump pump, interior waterproofing system or a sealed exterior water barrier, it is time to create a new living space within your home or a crawlspace free from moisture, humidity or standing water. Call Nichols / Grout Tech today to get started with your free quote.

Problems After Foundation Repair

Problems After Foundation Repair


foundation settlement, AlabamaMany people believe that, after foundation repairs are done, their home or business will be perfect. It is true that your office or home will be safer and more stable than it was before, but there may be new things that need to be taken care of. It is important to remember that foundation repairs keep your structure from collapsing, other problems are very minor, in comparison.

Foundation Repairs

Keep in mind that the reason that you need to have foundation repairs done in the first place is that your building’s foundation is damaged and weakened. Your home or business may be sinking unevenly or foundation walls are bowing or collapsing. If your office or house is settling unevenly, we will most likely use steel piers or helical piers to raise the foundation and give it a secure anchor in stable soil.

This process involves lowering piers into the soil underneath the home until they reach stronger and more stable earth. Once this is achieved, the building is anchored to the piers and the structure is raised to the correct level. In some instances, the entire dwelling has sunk equally, but other times, only one side or a corner has sunk. Our process will make sure that your home or business is level, stable, and secure.

New Cracks After Foundation Repairs

Many times after a structure is lifted, the owner may discover new cracks that weren’t there before. This can be expected on occasion. Cracks may show up in walls or ceilings because the building had been “leaning” before the repair, but now it is straightened out. There is some movement to be expected when the dwelling is lifted. The cracks aren’t serious or signs of structural damage. They can be patched up and painted over and look good as new.

If you did repairs to doors, windows, or trim prior to the foundation repair, you can also expect to have some alignment problems. The repairs were made while the building was crooked and now it is straight, so things may not line up like they had before. You may notice that there are gaps in between doors and their frames or windows may be difficult to open or won’t stay open.

You may also notice floors buckling if tile or hardwood had been laid prior to the foundation repair. Hard flooring materials may pop up or be damaged as they are less forgiving than other materials. Depending on what material your ceiling is made of, you may see some damage, also. Check your attic framing after foundation repair and make sure that it is in good condition. The whole structure was pushing and leaning in one direction, putting stress on different parts of the building. Now that it is straightened, the stressors are pulling in different directions and may cause cracks and other damage.

Foundation Repair is Important, Other Damage is Superficial

Keep in mind that your house or business has been settling over years and then was straightened out in a matter of minutes. Don’t put off having foundation repairs done just because you don’t want to have to patch a crack or replace some flooring. It is vital that you keep your foundation stable, keeping your family safe and secure. If you’d like to learn more about foundation repair and the things that need to be done before and after, give us a call. We’d like to talk to you and make sure all your concerns are addressed before undertaking foundation repairs to your business or home.

foundation repair, Birmingham

Underwater Main Line Pipe Filling Job

Underwater Main Line Pipe Filling Job

Here is a really unique project from a few years ago we wanted to share:

Nichols / Grout Tech was contacted to perform pipe filling of an underwater main line with cement-based grout, at the BWWB water reservoir facility on US 280 in Mountain Brook/Vestavia Hills. A diving company was employed to build the underwater bulkheads, as well as take the hose down to the injection ports. As seen in the photos concrete trucks ( a total of five) poured the mix into the hopper of a Nichols Concrete Equipment Company boom pump truck. The boom pumped into our single tub mixer/pump, which in turn pumped the mix through the hose and into the pipe. The usage of our single tub mixer/pump allowed for us to have greater control over the pumping pressures at the injection point of the pipe.

Another large and difficult project successfully completed by the team at Grout Tech! When all the others in town said it couldn’t be done, our team provided a build/design proposal to do what they thought impossible.

Nichols/Grout Tech: The ones the pros call when they can’t do the job.

pipe filling of an underwater main line with cement-based grout

ICRI: New board member – Our Steve Schoonover

Steve Schoonover is now an ICRI board member!

Nichols/Grout Tech is pleased to announce that our very own Steve Schoonover has been elected to the ICRI Board of Directors.

Steve is a member of the Gulf South Chapter of ICRI. ICRI is the International Concrete Repair Institute. ICRI formed to “improve the quality of concrete restoration, repair, and protection through education of, and communication among, the members and those who use their services.” (icri.org) Steve is known for always looking for the best ways to improve what we do here at Nichols/Grout Tech and now he will be sharing his passion and expertise with the board at ICRI. Congratulations Steve!

No Leak is Too Big!

No Leak is too Big!


water leak, BASF, Coastal Construction ProductsNichols/Grout Tech was recently called in to assist with a massive water infiltration at a major processing plant. Water was coming in at around 75 gallons a minute. We used BASF MasterRoc MP 355 1K and with the assistance of Ed Paradis (BASF), and Tim Fitzgerald and Yon Hammel of Coastal Construction Products, we were able to stop the water and let the processing plant get back to business.

This was a big problem and we had to get the water stopped as fast as we could, so the processing plant could be operational again.

See the footage below of this big project that we were proud to help with!


Wall Braces and Why We Don’t Like Them

Wall Braces and Why We Don’t Like Them

We’ve talked before about how the application of wall braces is a not very good repair solution. Here’s a story about a real-life run in with a wall brace repair and the disastrous results that we were asked to look at in the Birmingham area.

The picture below was taken about a year before this homeowner’s wall collapsed.

wall brace failure

About one year later, this is what happened. The collapsed wall was the result of the “repair” by another contractor.

foundation wall collapse

The homeowner hired another company and the contractor suggested they install the squared steel tubes that you see next to the foundation. In addition, the contractor painted the walls with an “interior waterproofing” paint. Paint will do nothing to stabilize the wall against hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is caused by the soil on the outside of the foundation getting oversaturated. The soil and water mixture pushes against the wall with extreme force.

It’s difficult to see in the photograph, but buried in the rubble, is a squared steel brace. This brace failed because the wall collapsed from the top, ripping the brace out of the wooden floor joist that it was secured to. According to the owner, the company that installed this “repair” said it would be at least three months before they could have anyone available to look at the damage. A lifetime warranty is worthless if the company doesn’t offer the customer service to back it. The homeowner then turned to Nichols/Grout Tech to take a look at the problems.

Repairs Done Right by Nichols/Grout Tech

It was easy to see that this mess couldn’t wait three months to be repaired. First, the floor would need to be strengthened with floor jacks. Our structural engineer determined how many floor supports we would need and the best place to put them.

The next step would be to clear the soil away from the exterior to alleviate the pressure against the foundation wall. This would reduce the chances of another wall collapse.

Next, we had our structural engineer design the correction. Seems simple, but if the original contractor had used a structural engineer licensed in the State of Alabama, this whole mess could’ve been avoided. If, for whatever reason, you don’t choose Nichols/Grout Tech, always ask the engineer if he is a licensed structural engineer before hiring them. Make sure they answer the question directly, stating that they are a structural engineer. There are a lot of bait and switch scams out there.

Lesson NOT Learned

Nichols/Grout Tech offered to do the repairs, including removing the squared steel tubes that remained. The homeowner decided to go with another company (the third one) for the repairs. The said they went with them because the other company said they could fix the wall, provide a lifetime warranty, and would leave the support beams.

The repair by this company was to rebuild the wall and fill it with concrete. This is better than the previous repair, but not the best solution. In addition, we wonder if the homeowner was told the lifetime warranty only applied to the rebuilt wall and that in Alabama and over 40 other states, a “lifetime” warranty is only good for seven years.

We wish this homeowner the best and hope that they don’t have any further problems. If they do, we’re here to offer our help again.

Steel Wall Braces Are Not A Good Option

Most reliable foundation contractors know that steel braces are not a good solution and have discarded their use as a viable option. There are several reasons why they are a poor choice for foundation repair:

1. Steel wall braces are a passive system. The braces don’t hold the wall until the wall leans even more. You can see how this is not an effective solution since the goal of the repair is to prevent the wall from moving at all.

2. The movement that is allowed is usually drastic. Even after the steel wall braces are installed, we have seen up to 2″ of movement in the concrete blocks.

Rhino Carbon Fiber3. We have two better solutions for leaning walls. One is carbon fiber straps, the second one is helical tiebacks. If the wall has less than one inch of lean, we prefer to install Rhino carbon fiber straps. Rhino has an unprecedented ZERO failure rate on their strips when they are installed correctly.

Trust Your Contractor

As much as we enjoy foundation repair, we really only want to do a job once, so we do it right the first time. We’ll make the best recommendations for repairing the damage and from keeping it from occurring again. And, most importantly, we use a licensed structural engineer, ensuring that the solution will be 100% effective.