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 Post subject: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 12, 2019, 1:30 pm 
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I have a dozen engines I'm keeping after the Big Cleanup. They collectively take up a lot of space.

During the rearrangement of stuff I put the new lathe, all the toolboxes, the welders, and the cleaning tank down the middle, back to back, as a sort of "center island". There's enough space between them to put a rack, four engines long, three engines high, in between the toolboxes, which aren't as deep as some of the other stuff. I made sure my shop crane had enough reach to lift an engine onto the top shelf, started drawing up a shelf, and wondered...

I had the slab poured around 1985. I took out a huge tree and had the stump ground before having the slab poured. Off on the other side of the lot was another tree which I had removed and ground. There's a persistent low spot there now, and an occasional sinkhole. I figured termites had eaten the underground part and there's a big hole there now.

Best as I can remember, the other stump was... right about where I want to put the engine rack. Which will be very heavy when loaded.

I went online and found there are people with ground-penetrating radar that can look through a slab and see if there are any voids. Cool. I start looking them up; they won't even talk to me; I have to request for an "engineer" to "come on-site and evaluate my needs". Then they'll be happy to help me with my new apartment building, mall, or nuclear site...

Uh. I figured if I couldn't look through the slab I could make some holes and probe through it with a rod. So I bought a hammer drill and a long 1/2" bit that's supposed to be able to cut through rebar, welded a T-handle onto a piece of sharpened steel rod, and proceeded to drill.

The DeWalt "rotary drill" is freakin' awesome. It has a spring-loaded handle with about 1/2" of travel. You only put about five pounds of pressure on it, keeping it between the two stops; not enough or too much pressure and the drill slows down. So just stand the drill up, put a hand on it to keep it from falling over, and pull the trigger... it takes about 30 seconds to punch a hole through 8" concrete. The drill slows down a bit when it hits rebar, but it will make it through; add another 10 seconds for that. In 30 holes I hit rebar five or six times. I paid for double rebar and watched them wire it up. I paid for 8 inches of concrete and watched them make the forms, but they did the actual pour while I was at work. Looks like I got the 8 inches I paid for, though.

Good news: there's no void where the tree was.

Bad news: the whole front length of the shop has air under it.

At one time there was a road across the back of the lot. The tarmac had been scraped off and sod put over the roadbed. The ditch had been filled in, but had subsided somewhat. The back half of the shop is over the roadbed, I can feel gravel down there with the probe.

The concrete people put something they called "Donnafill" over the ditch area. That has apparently sunk. The neighbor's yards to the left and right are still level, so I'm not sure what is going on there...

Eight inches of concrete and double rebar don't seem to be having any trouble holding the front wall and roof load, but I need to fix it before I continue. "It's only money..."

Supposedly the people who can do something about this are called "slabjackers" or "mudjackers." They drill a hole in the slab, install a fitting, and pump concrete in to fill the void and raise the slab back up into position. So I start looking for one of those... they seem to be nonexistent in my immediate area; everyone I can find uses some kind of expanding foam instead.

I'm sure the foam will work; what I'm going to be wondering about is how they know when to stop. The concrete guys pump until they get the results they want, then stop. Other than guessing the volume needed beforehand, I don't see how the foam guys know when to stop. After they stop pumping, the foam is still going to keep on expanding...


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 12, 2019, 2:12 pm 
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Donnafill is apparently a business concern in your area, they supply fill materials. Best I can tell, the product with that name is a mix of finely ground granitic rock. Sand, in other words...

You can DIY it with some portland cement and a home-built grout pump. Not concrete, which has rock (aggregate) in it, but pure portland cement only. You can buy the stuff at any of the home supply places, Home Beepo or Slowe's. It's about the consistency of flour. Portland like that has a low tensile strength, but it's pretty good in compression.

I built a grout pump with a bilge pump from West Marine, the manual kind that looks like it uses a parking brake handle for the pump lever, bolted it to the lid of a 5-gallon bucket with the intake plumbed in PVC down almost to the bottom of the pump and the outlet attached to a hose connector.

Mix the portland up nice and thick. The guidelines for grouting well casing in Florida says 6 gallons of water for each 94 lb bag of portland. That might be too thick for "hand pumping" but you can experiment with the mix a bit. You also want it a little bit thin so that it will flow into the various nooks and crannies under the slab.

I'm guessing you have drilled multiple holes in the slab across that front side of the shop. Start at one end, work your way to the other. Pump grout into one drill hole until it pressures up on you, move to the next. You may find you have to go around more than once.

Clean the pump up really well afterwards. Let the grout sit overnight and then go around one more time the next day. That should take care of it. Good luck!

:cheers:
JDK


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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 13, 2019, 12:01 am 
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TRX wrote:
Supposedly the people who can do something about this are called "slabjackers" or "mudjackers." They drill a hole in the slab, install a fitting, and pump concrete in to fill the void and raise the slab back up into position.

Way back when I had hair (mid 1980's) the father in law had a low 'v' in the center of his front drive to the garage, about 60 ft long. Guy comes in, bored 3" holes in the middle each side of the "v" all along the 60 ft and mud jacked the driveway level. Unbelievable!
Sounds like JD knows what he's talking about here, good to know this kind of stuff (me I would just be runnin' round the yard nekid an screamin), thats what this site is all about.
:cheers:

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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 13, 2019, 8:08 am 
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horchoha wrote:
[Sounds like JD knows what he's talking about here, good to know this kind of stuff (me I would just be runnin' round the yard nekid an screamin), thats what this site is all about.
Well, I'm at least fakin' it good... And PLEASE, no nekid an screamin pictures! PLEASE!

One thing that I didn't make plain, I now realize, is that TRX says that the slab is not cracked and is in position. The pumping I'm talking about would fill the void under the solid slab. It would not lift/move the slab. That would require a LOT of pressure, as in using a motorized pump and sealed fittings in the holes.

Once upon a time I kind of accidentally created a void under a parking lot at a business. (Long story, details later if you insist...) They regularly rolled medium duty trucks loaded with Coca-Cola products through there. I mixed up literally dozens of bags of portland and pumped them into the holes we had made in the pavement. Nobody ever called and screamed at me because a Coke truck fell into the abyss, so I guess it worked.

In the well drilling business, portland slurry (plus or minus bentonite clay powder) is the "go to" stuff for sealing, filling, plugging up "stuff." We use portland by the pallet to plug bore holes after we pull the sediment samples out and to grout in surface casing in permanent wells. A couple of relatives of that pictured grout pump are on rigs out somewhere in GA or FL today.

Grout-fully yours-
JDK

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"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 13, 2019, 9:53 am 
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GonzoRacer wrote:
And PLEASE, no nekid an screamin pictures! PLEASE!


You know they're out there, so if you want to keep them off the forum, it's probably gonna cost you! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 13, 2019, 11:12 am 
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GonzoRacer wrote:
One thing that I didn't make plain, I now realize, is that TRX says that the slab is not cracked and is in position.


It *does* have a crack, lengthwise, in the middle right across the edge of the solid roadbed. But that crack happened just a few years after it was poured, before I built the shop on it.

I don't really know if it has tilted or not; they said they would slope the slab to drain out the doors if it got wet, and I do have enough slope to make it annoying to level machinery, but it hasn't increased any; I leveled the old mill in 1994, and it was still level last year when I got rid of it.

So I'm not really sure if the crack is relevant... it's concrete, I figured concrete just does that.


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The pumping I'm talking about would fill the void under the solid slab. It would not lift/move the slab. That would require a LOT of pressure, as in using a motorized pump and sealed fittings in the holes.


The tilt, if any, is in the "can live with it" range. I just don't want it to break off and fall into the void...

I don't get around so good, so I'm going to pay someone to fix it if I can afford to. Otherwise, when you get a free moment could you look up that pump for me? West Marine has a buttload of pumps.


Quote:
Donnafill


As I remember it looked like gray flour and it made little puffs when people walked through it. With my luck it all washed away...


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 13, 2019, 11:19 am 
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when you get a free moment could you look up that pump for me?
Sure thing, Bro... Hope it helps. Here ya go-

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/bosworth--guzzler-manual-bilge-pumps-400-and-500--P011_330_003_003?recordNum=2

:cheers:
JDK

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"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 14, 2019, 9:05 am 
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It says it's a diaphragm pump. Do you have to take it completely apart to clean it, or can you pump enough water through to do it?


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 14, 2019, 3:58 pm 
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Got the first guy out for a quote just a moment ago. Despite confident assurances from various people that I could get it done for $400-$600, the quote was $2,400.

Ouch.


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 14, 2019, 4:09 pm 
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TRX wrote:
It says it's a diaphragm pump. Do you have to take it completely apart to clean it, or can you pump enough water through to do it?
If you ask my drill crews, they will say you don't have to take it apart. If you ask me... Yes, you pretty much do. :mrgreen: It's not a big job to take it apart, especially if you have a screwdriver bit for your drill.

In your situation, where there would be a hose and water pressure available right after each use, you might not have to dismantle the thing. At a drill site, where there might not be water/hose immediately available and the pump might sit for a couple of hours before getting cleaned, different story. A good flushing with lots of water (your arm will get tired.) and it might just be OK. There are two "flapper" valves inside the thing. A little bit of cement caked on one of them and she won't work. Again, YMMV.

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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 14, 2019, 6:11 pm 
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Throwing up some numbers:

The void area is about 10 x 35 feet. The ground seems to be about 3" below the slab. That comes out to 88 cubic feet.

1 94# bag of Portland cement is one cubic foot and costs $11.20+tax. So we're looking at up to 88 bags, roughly a thousand bucks with tax. Ten bags is 940 pounds, so we're talking several loads with a half-ton pickup. 88 bags is just shy of 8,800 pounds.

The local Horror Fright has a cement mixer for $210+tax. Marine pump + shipping, $100. 20 feet of 1-1/4 reinforced hose from Lowes, rated to 125 PSI, $65.

I have a spare 2HP motor and can weld up a crank setup for the pump. Hose clamps, metal, wossnames, SWAG $1,500 for a DIY.

Depending on how mobile I am, that might take a week or so.


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 15, 2019, 6:27 am 
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I though this topic was going to be about the German Coastguard, (i.e., vat ru sinking about?).

Good stuff JD. I learned something new today!

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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 17, 2019, 10:38 am 
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Mud jacking has been around for quite a while. Now I see a similar process that uses polyurethane foam which is reportedly much lower cost. It, like mud jacking, will stabilize concrete but neither will stabilize the base material. If the base material is not settled, future problems can reoccur.

JD, I wish I had known you 15-20 yrs ago when the foundation of my attached garage (and a corner of the house) had settled as much as 9 inches in one corner in the garage. Numerous architectural firms, a city building inspector and soil borings to 8-10 ft could not find the reason. At that time the soil boring analysis alone was $1,000! $17,000 later I had 20-something steel pilings installed and a new foyer/garage floor poured

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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 17, 2019, 12:50 pm 
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I have a spare 2HP motor and can weld up a crank setup for the pump.
Keep her throttled back so the pump works slowly. Too fast on the pump and it'll just suck all the liquid out of the bucket... Ask me how I know... :BH:

Chuck- That sounds like a nightmare! Steel pilings makes me think there was some serious sub-grade failure, possibly due to poor compaction to begin with. Or the place was built on a swamp... Hard to say... Even harder to pay for... :(
Quote:
At that time the soil boring analysis alone was $1,000!
Been a few years. Our minimum mobilization is $500 and minimum on-site rate is $1200. :mrgreen:

I recently looked at a weird problem in a neighborhood in Tallahassee for a friend. A long, narrow, irregularly shaped "tunnel" had opened up a hole to the surface. The hole at the surface was only about a foot square. The "tunnel" below it was about 12" diameter and more than a shovel-handle either way in length. Some digging (literally) and a few phone calls later, our best guess was that the original grading of the neighborhood had buried a tree trunk in the fill. Tree had since rotted away (I found some traces of bark.) and the resultant "tunnel" had stoped itself up to the surface. It wasn't under her house, fortunately.

I offered to help the home owner grout it up. She chose to use a pro, another friend of mine that runs a foundation service with all the requisite pumps and such. Don't know what she paid.

Peace, Love and "Dirt" --
JDK

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"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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 Post subject: Re: "I'm sinking"
PostPosted: June 17, 2019, 2:39 pm 
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Do I really need a pump? I have a bunch of vent holes already; I've been wondering if I couldn't just cut a big 3 or 4 inch hole and pour it full right out of the cement mixer.


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