Operation: Room Retreat Reveal

Edit: This is an update on our previous entry about Joshua Randall and the renovation we were a part of.

renovation, Grout TechOperation: Room Retreat is a program hosted by WBRC Fox6 News in Birmingham, AL. General Manager Collin Gaston was disturbed to find that 20 American military veterans were committing suicide every day. Considering the entire United States records 121 suicides a day, the percentage that are veterans is alarming. Gaston and WBRC wanted to reach out and help make the lives of veterans and their families a little brighter and so was the beginning of Operation: Room Retreat.

WBRC partnered with Active Heroes to help make this program a success. Active Heroes is a non-profit organization that, according to their website, “support[s] all U.S. military service members, veterans, and their families through physical, educational, and emotional programs in an effort to eliminate suicide.”

People were asked to nominate a deserving veteran for a retreat makeover. Brandi Randall nominated her husband, Joshua, a seven-year Army veteran. Joshua and Brandi are the parents of three children and Brandi wanted to give Joshua a “man cave” where he could have some quiet time. Joshua served two tours of Afghanistan and his wife says he is a giving person who is always ready to help others.

beforerenovation, Nichols

With the help of several sponsors including Nichols/Grout Tech, Jasper Honda/Hyundai, Jack’s, Alloy Wheel Repair, Nichols Outfitters, Hill’s Carpet and Floor Covering, Window World of Central Alabama, Shipp Roofing, Andy OnCall, On Time Electric, eCO Credit Union, and Frank’s Furniture Warehouse. Joshua and his family were able to be the recipients of a quiet area where they can unwind.

We at Nichols/Grout Tech are proud to be a part of this program and seeing the appreciation of Joshua and his family made it all the better. Nichols/Grout Tech is dedicated to standing behind our veterans and we thank all veterans for their service and appreciate the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make.

If you are a veteran, or you know a veteran, that may need help with depression or suicidal thoughts, contact Active Heroes or other organizations like Jason’s Box. Please use the hashtag #ImStillHere in social media to let fellow veterans know that they aren’t alone when it comes to dealing with dark times. Let’s work together to give our veterans the support they need and deserve.

Alabama Sinkholes

Alabama Sinkholes and Nichols/Grout Tech

Alabama sinkholeSinkholes in our area are nothing new, but aside from being a nuisance, they can be extremely destructive. A sinkhole can quickly appear and, just as quickly, become large enough to damage property and endanger people. According to the Geological Survey of Alabama, sinkholes are the number cause of land subsidence. Subsidence is the sinking of soil, usually due to natural causes under the surface.

A large portion of Alabama is resting on a surface of limestone. Limestone is easily worn away by water, causing the formation of underground caves and sinkholes. There is a section of Northern Alabama, in Morgan County, that has an area peppered with sinkholes over four miles long. The largest sinkhole in the state is located in Shelby County. The Golly Hole near Calera, AL is over 100 yards in diameter and is over 120 feet deep. Fortunately, it occurred in a rural area and no one was injured and no property was damaged when it opened.

If a sinkhole opens near you, there are some steps you can take.

  1.  This is the most important step: Place barriers and other warning signs around the sinkhole. This is to protect others and to protect yourself against liability claims.
  2. Contact your insurance company.
  3. Contact Nichols/Grout Tech to inspect the sinkhole and determine the steps needed to repair the damage.
  4. If the sinkhole is impacting public property, roads, or the safety of others, you may need to contact your local government.

Taking these steps will help make sure that others are safe and that you are protected from any liability issues.

Nichols/Grout Tech Can Help With Your Sinkhole

In early 2016 a sinkhole developed within the driveway of a residence. Through geotechnical investigations, it was determined this was one of a number of sinkholes, which are likely connected to each other. Working directly with the homeowners, insurance company, geotechnical engineers, and utility contractors, our team of sinkhole experts at Nichols/Grout Tech remediated the primary sinkhole.

This was accomplished by removing soils in a circular pattern around the sinkhole, which had a total diameter of approximately 40 feet, with the soils removed for approximately 10 feet in depth. After removal, geogrid and filter fabric was placed at the bottom of the excavation, soils were replaced in 8-inch lifts and compacted to approximately 98%.

Once our repairs were completed, the sinkhole stopped growing and the surrounding area was stable and secure. Contact the sinkhole professionals at Nichols/Grout Tech if you have a sinkhole on your property. Even what appears to be a small hole can be hiding a much larger problem under the surface that can cause serious damage and injury. Call us today, we look forward to hearing from you and helping remedy your sinkhole situation.

Foundation Problems and Renters

condo, apartment, foundation repairFoundation Problem at Your Rental Property

Whether you are renting a house or living in an apartment complex or condominium you can do your part to keep you and your family (and fellow tenants) safe. Although having the building repaired isn’t your responsibility, you can report any damage you may see to your landlord and recommend that Nichols/Grout Tech take care of any repairs that may be needed. We will inspect the property and provide you with a quote on what needs to be done to restore the structural integrity of the building.

Warning Signs of Foundation Damage

When walking around your apartment, there are some things you can keep an eye out for when it comes to foundation damage. On the inside of your home or apartment, you may notice doors not closing properly or opening on their own. You may also find windows that stick or don’t stay open. Other things that you may notice is an uneven floor. A simple way to check this is to set a ball somewhere on the floor and see if it rolls without being touched. Wall cracks can happen just to the normal settling of the building, but if they appear to widen or run across joints, you may have foundation trouble.

Some things to look for outside of your home are signs like stairstep cracks in bricks or masonry, steps or chimneys pulling away from the foundation, and cracks in cement floors. Bowing or leaning walls in the basement are a sure sign that the foundation has been compromised and repairs need to be made as soon as possible.

Water in the basement or crawlspace are also signs that the foundation is damaged. Water needs only a small crack to enter your home. Pests, too, can enter through cracks smaller than a quarter of an inch. Leaks can occur from many sources, so you need to report any water that you may find to your landlord.

Foundation Repair

As we said earlier, it will be the landlord’s responsibility to take care of getting the foundation repaired, but you can suggest to them that they use an experienced, trustworthy, and affordable company like Nichols/Grout Tech. We will take care to make sure that your apartment or house is strong and secure once again.

We use helical piers, steel piers, and injection bored anchors to restore the strength and stability of the building’s foundation. The weight of the whole building and its occupants rest on the walls of the foundation, so it is important that repairs are made as soon as possible. The sooner we start, the easier it will be to fix the situation, saving time and money and keeping everyone safe.

Contact us today if you would like to learn more about we can help repair the foundation of your apartment, condo, or house. We will work with the landlord to make sure the job is done to their satisfaction and that the building is stable once again. We look forward to hearing from you.


Nichols/Grout Tech Works on Operation Room Retreat


Josh and Brandi Randall with our very own Steve Schoonover

Nichols/Grout Tech Works on Operation Room Retreat

We were so glad to be able to assist Josh and his family from Cordova with Operation Room Retreat! Josh was nominated by his wife. Josh was just discharged from the Army and we are so grateful to Josh for his service. Josh’s wife describes him as someone who would do anything for anybody and we hoped that in return we could help do something for him.

Operation Room Retreat helped build a room just for Josh in their home. Nichols was so excited to help out! We are grateful to WBRC Fox 6 for giving us the opportunity to be a part of something so special. The finished product of Josh’s “Man Cave” makeover will be unveiled live on Good Day Alabama on Dec. 9.

You can view the video below about this special below or read the story by CLICKING HERE.


Nichols / Grout Tech Attends SEAoAL 6th Annual State Conference and Expo

Nichols / Grout Tech Attends SEAoAL 6th Annual State Conference and Expo

Nichols / Grout Tech recently attended the SEAoAL 6th Annual State Conference and Expo in Birmingham, Alabama. This conference has a regular attendance of 50-75 people at each professional education seminar. The Expo provides structural engineers and other contractors with access to the latest structural products and gives them a position of influence in the engineering world.

With several morning and afternoon sessions, we were able to further our knowledge on many important aspects of our work. Some of the sessions included education on fire protection design, AWC Standards, wood building systems, special inspections and building codes, design tools and standards for engineers and architects, and more!

We were able to set up our booth and display our products and services. It was awesome to see all the other vendors that came out and to get to know them as well. Below are some photos of the event. We are already looking forward to next time!img_1547 img_1552 img_1553 img_1548 img_1549 img_1550


Why Should I Waterproof My Basement?

Why Should I Waterproof My Basement?

Your basement may not seem like a very important part of your home. Maybe you only go down there to retrieve your Christmas decorations once a year. However, your basement acts as your foundation as well – and it’s state determines the structural integrity of your home.

Why You Need Basement Waterproofing

It is extremely vital for homeowners everywhere to get a sufficient waterproofing system installed in their basement. This may seem obvious for those living on a high water table or near the ocean – but foundation problems can happen to anyone. Homeowners in Georgia and Alabama suffer from structural problems and water damage because the dense soil is constantly shifting and settling. Water can enter your home through cracks in your foundation caused by water pressure or shifting soil. It can also seep through your basement walls and concrete floor.

No one wants water in their basement. Whether we have experienced it our not – we all know that it is a headache. With an efficient waterproofing system installed in your basement, you will avoid the following major problems:

1. Mold and mildew growth.Why should i waterproof my basement?

Did you know that 30-40% of the air that you breathe inside of your home originates from your basement? If there is mold, mildew, or dust mites in your basement because of water seepage, the air in your home can cause severe respiratory illnesses for you and your family. Mold and dust mites are among the leading causes for allergies and asthma!


waterproofing systems 2. Damage to personal belongings.

Water intrusion in your home can permanently damage your furniture, storage, and other important personal belongings. It can rust your appliances and destroy your drywall and carpeting as well. You can save money in the long run by waterproofing your home before water does it’s damage.



waterproofing contractor alabama3. Decrease in property value.

A wet basement is definitely not a plus from a real estate perspective. Research shows that an insufficiently waterproofed home that has experienced water damage can decrease in property value by 20%. Now think of it this way – by installing a basement waterproofing system – think of how much your property value would increase!


wet basement repair birmingham al4. Increased energy bill.

If you live in the South, you know that it costs a lot of money to heat and cool humid air. When water is entering your basement, the air in your basement becomes extremely humid. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save 15-18% on your energy bill by having a waterproofing system to keep your air dry and clean!


waterproofing company birmingham al5. Structural failure.

As mentioned before, water problems and foundation problems go hand in hand. Hydraulic pressure can create cracks in your foundation and cause it to become weak and settle into the ground. A failed foundation will cause countless problems throughout your entire home, including sloping floors, misaligned trim, doors that won’t shut, drywall cracks, ceiling stains, and more. By looking into basement waterproofing services, you can save yourself from all of these issues.


Looking for a Waterproofing Contractor in Alabama?

Nichol’s / Grout Tech is your number one foundation repair contractor in Birmingham, Alabama and beyond. We proudly serve residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal properties in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Southwest Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. To take a look at our complete service area, click here.

Our proven solutions will leave your home healthy, clean, and protected from water damage. We offer exterior and interior drainage, sump pump systems, surface drainage, and more. Our experts would be happy to give you an inspection and estimate to determine which waterproofing solution would work best for your specific needs and budget. Contact Nichols / Grout Tech today to get started.


5 Steps to a Happy & Healthy Crawl Space

5 Steps to a Happy & Healthy Crawl Space

crawl space repair birmingham

Many Alabama crawl spaces suffer from water intrusion and because of that, their home is introduced to mold, mildew, and other dangerous allergens. Since a majority of the air we breathe inside of our homes originates from our crawl space, it is important to keep it clean and healthy from the inside out. If your home is suffering from a wet and damaged crawl space, here are the steps you need to take to get it back to normal.

1. Seal it up

For many decades, building codes and conventional wisdom have prescribed ventilation with outside air as the primary method of moisture control in crawl spaces. However, ventilation with outside air only makes moisture problems worse. Cold or humidity from the outside will create a wet environment in your crawlspace, promoting mold and moisture. The first step in repairing your Alabama crawl space is to seal off all vents and doors that lead outside.

2. Eliminate the source

Does your crawl space consistently flood when it rains? If so, you will need to install a drainage system before moving forward. It is important to get rid of direct water sources to keep your crawlspace clean and dry and finish the repair process. Nichols/Grout Tech can install a sump pump and sump pit or a french drain tile system in your home to direct water away from your crawl space.

If you have water seeping through your foundation walls below the grade, we can install a polymer membrane coating and dimple board. This will stop soil moisture from coming in through the base of your foundation, and it will also work to direct any incoming water into your drainage system, whether that be a French Drain or sump pump.

3. Repair the damage

Crawl spaces that have been damaged by water will grow weak over time, and experience wood rot, sagging beams, and weak floor joists. We have certified installers that can repair your crawl space structure with crawl space jacks and other support systems. These steel piers will keep your crawl space strong for years to come.

4. Install a vapor barrier

crawl space repair montgomery, al

Nichols/Grout Tech offers crawl space vapor barriers to prevent soil moisture from entering your home. These barriers are made of puncture resistant 10-20 mil thick high tensile material. By installing the vapor barrier on the ground and up foundation walls, you will create a permanent vapor barrier against moisture, creating a healthier home environment. Our crawl space encapsulation services will transform your crawl space into a clean and usable storage space.

5. Purchase a dehumidifier

To ensure that your crawlspace remains dry for years to come, consider purchasing an energy efficient crawl space dehumidifier. These systems will get rid of debris from the air and keep your crawl space clear of mildew, mold, and dirt mites.

Certified Crawl Space Repair Specialist in Birmingham, ALcrawl space repair alabama

Call Nichols/Grout Tech for an estimate on crawl space repair today. We can take your damaged crawl space and completely transform it into a clean and healthy storage space for years to come.

We offer inspections to our customers in Alabama and surrounding states including Mississippi, Tennessee, Southwest Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle.

Not All Carbon Fiber Kits are Created Equal

Rhino Carbon Fiber Stands Above the Rest, and We Have Proof!

carbon fiber repair failure
At Nichols / Grout Tech, we choose to use Rhino Carbon Fiber for bowing wall repair. This is because the product is the best we have seen in the industry. Not all carbon fiber strips are made the same. As you can see in this picture, it is just a matter of time till some carbon fiber strips fail because they aren’t properly attached at the top and the bottom. This is just one example. If Rhino Carbon Fiber had been installed for this bowing wall, this problem could have been avoided. That is because of the bottom attachment that Rhino has patented.

Rhino Carbon Fiber connects to the bowing wall  in three ways. The top connection is directly connected to the foundation. The strap itself is adhered to the wall and can hold up to 50,000 lbs of pressure. It also pins into the footer at the very bottom. The image to the right shows a competitors carbon fiber that has clearly failed. If you watch the video below you will see the Rhino Carbon Fiber repair of this wall.


Rhino is the Leaderrhino-product-comparison

Check on the product comparison chart and video in this article. You can see for yourself just why Rhino Carbon Fiber is the right choice for your bowing wall repair. They truly are the best carbon fiber kit on the market today. If you have bowing or leaning walls in your basement or crawlspace, our team can help you determine if carbon fiber repairs are the right choice for your repair. We choose the best products available for these repairs. Check out more videos about Rhino Carbon Fiber on their YouTube Channel, or visit their website. Then give us a call to get started on carbon fiber repairs you can count on for a long term solution to your bowing or leaning walls.

How Does The Weather Affect My Alabama Foundation?

Spring Showers: How They Affect Your Alabama Foundation

With spring just around the corner, Alabama is about to experience a season of rainfall. Here in the south, we’ve already seen our fair share of bad weather this winter. Now, as the snow melts and the rain falls, Alabama homeowners must be aware of foundation issues that may occur.

When the soil around your home is over saturated by heavy rain or melted snow, it will expand and push against your foundation walls. This can cause your foundation to become uneven over time, and cause cracks as well. After the winter, it is likely that your foundation has formed small cracks due to high pressures from ice and frost.

This spring, be on the lookout for the beginning signs of foundation damage and contact a professional as soon as you notice them. Foundation failure can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair, so it’s important to have your foundation inspected and repaired before the damage gets dangerous – both for your home and for your wallet. When inspecting your home, look for the following signs:foundation repair hoover alabama

  • Wall cracks
  • Sloping floors
  • Misaligned trim
  • Windows that stick
  • Doors that won’t shut
  • Foundation crumbling
  • Cracked ceilings
  • Dark stains

Also, be sure to check your basement for flooding. If you have noticed water stains, musty odors, peeling paint, or rust in your basement, it is most likely the result of water seepage. If water is seeping into your basement, you definitely have a foundation problem.

Foundation Repair Solutions in Birmingham, Alabama

The most important thing you can do to keep your foundation safe and healthy is to prevent water from reaching your home. The first thing you can do to achieve this is to have your gutters regularly cleaned out. If your gutters are full of leaves, branches, and debris, water will collect and overflow straight onto your Alabama foundation. It is also important to extend your downspouts to be at least 10 feet away from your home, so that water is efficiently directed away from your foundation. Do this with your sump pump drains as well.

Here at Nichol’s/Grout Tech, we have many years of experience when it comes to foundation repair. No matter what issues you are experiencing, we can give you the best solution for your specific needs and budget. We can use helical piers to permanently stabilize your Alabama foundation and reverse the damage that has been done. Give us a call today for your free quote!

Why Grout Tech is a Foundation Repair Specialist for all of Alabama

Why Choose Grout Tech for AL Foundation Repair?

Nichols / Grout Tech is your number one source for foundation repair. With over 28 years of experience in foundation repair and 30 in concrete grouting, we offer tested solutions to take care of issues in your home. We also offer repair solutions to a wide range of states. Our service area stretches across all of Alabama and other areas: Mississippi, Southwest Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, and Tennessee.

Professional Affiliations and Products in Alabama

Not only are we professionals, but we are affiliated with some of the highest ranking professional organizations in the industry:

  • Deep Foundations Institute
  • International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI)
  • My Foundation Repairs
  • Structural Engineers Association (SEA) Alabama

We also offer a range of new technology, such as carbon fiber repair. Rhino carbon fiber strips are a highly effective solution used to support shifting foundations. These strips are just one of the many new innovations in today’s foundation repair industry. Other advanced technology products that we use include underpinning piers from the leading brand, Earth Contact Products (ECP).

Versatile Foundation Repair from Nichols / Grout Tech

If all of these benefits are not reason enough to choose Grout Tech, consider the many options we offer for repairs. We offer concrete grouting as well as underpinning solutions. This allows us to lift foundations with steel piers and fill voids with slabjacking. We even offer waterproofing services. Our most popular expert solutions include:

  • Grout Tech of AlabamaUnderpinning: We use helical piers and steel push piers to support foundations. These piers are installed from underground to offer lift and stabilization.
  • Basement Wall Repair: Another kind of foundation repair involves stabilizing shifted foundations. For this, we use helical tiebacks and carbon fiber strips. These solutions straighten bowing and leaning foundation walls.
  • Void Filling: Injecting polyurethane grout can help raise and repair sinking foundations. We also offer specialty grouting services like pipe grouting, probe grouting, and chemical grouting.
  • Sinkhole Repair: We use our specialized void filling techniques to fill in sinkholes under your Alabama home or in your yard. Why Choose Nichols / Grout Tech in ALThis can help prevent sinking and settling foundations.
  • Waterproofing: Keeping your home protected from water entry is important. That is why we offer solutions like interior drainage, exterior drainage, surface drainage, and sump pumps.
  • Concrete Repair: If your concrete foundation is too severely damaged, we can replace the slab. We use our concrete repair services to fix pools, driveways, and other kinds of concrete slabs.
  • Crawlspace Repair: Using vapor barriers to keep moisture out of your crawlspace can prevent a multitude of issues. From mold growth to foundation deterioration, our crawlspace repair services can help keep issues from popping up in your home.

The wide range of services that we provide is just one of the reasons to choose Grout Tech for foundation repair across Alabama. Our team is experienced and can get you the most reliable products to ensure that the repairs last. Call us today to get an inspection and estimate scheduled!