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Digging Deeper: Understanding the Impact of Soil Conditions on Deep Injection with Polyurethane Foam

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Look – foundation repair isn’t cheap. We get it. Looking for a more affordable foundation repair method that works effectively is probably something you’ve searched long and hard for. And you may have heard about Polyurethane foam as a more affordable foundation repair method.

It’s worked for some. But that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. The circumstances for Polyurethane foam on its own have to work in your favor as both a reliable solution and something that doesn’t clean out your wallet. Soil conditions will affect how your foundation repair process will go.

Different soils do different things, especially when involving deep injection with Polyurethane foam.

Dalinghaus Construction has done over 2,300 foundation repair projects since 2015, many involving deep injection with Polyurethane foam. Since we work in areas of Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, we’ve experienced how polyurethane meshes with different types of soil. Our expertise can help point you in the right direction.

What is deep injection?

You do deep injection when you have to fill a whole lotta voids, fissures, and microvoids at different layers, especially when stabilizing your foundation.

The soil densification provides additional support for your home or business when there seems to be more air in the ground than you’re comfortable with. Think of a cake that has huge gaps in the sponge. It doesn’t come out well.

Deep injection for foundation repair fills the gaps in the soil using Polyurethane foam.

What is Polyurethane foam? 

You have a water-resistant and environmentally safe mixture of an injectable polyol and isocyanate resin that rapidly expands into a hardened foam when combined. Polyurethane foam cures in 15 minutes, is way lighter than concrete (3-5 pounds per cubic foot), and can be as hard as concrete to help support your home or business.

Again, the stuff is environmentally safe. The soil under your home or business won’t be at risk of toxic radiation that’ll give you a third arm. The stuff is so safe that it’s used for pacemakers implanted in your body.

Name a category. You can probably find out how Polyurethane fits in there. Don’t worry about any dangers of Polyurethane foam.

What does polyurethane foam have to do with deep injection? 

It’s simple. You use polyurethane foam to provide additional support for your residential or commercial property. It’s gotta go straight into the soil to do the job.

Deep injection with Polyurethane foam is an overall better alternative compared to mud jacking.

Mudjacking is messy and gets everywhere. What doesn’t help is the process where slurry (concrete) is injected into the soil. Concrete takes forever to cure and is significantly heavier than Polyurethane foam, weighing around 140 pounds per cubic foot – which can exacerbate your already existing foundation problems.

What are the best soil conditions for using polyurethane foam?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a solid answer since each foundation repair project is designed for the need of your home or business. Different areas face different soil conditions, whether the types on your property are loam, sand, clay, silt, etc.

The purpose of polyurethane foam is to permeate with the soil so it densifies. This is perfect with sandy soil.

What’s cool is if you grab a chunk of sand injected with Polyurethan foam, it’s one big mass.

If the soil doesn’t permeate as well it’s stuck in an area and causes expansion as it pushes soil out of the way, providing better lift than other soils. Highly expansive clay is soil that has trouble permeating. You can create layer upon layer upon layer to get lift with clay soil as you go more shallow while injecting Polyurethane foam.

The issue with this: it’s a good portion of the material is injected, meaning it can cost a good chunk of change, especially with it being $110 per square foot.

And if the clay soil has more moisture, the stuff can be sticky, adding additional friction that makes lifting a challenge.

You’ll want to go deeper into the cost of Polyurethane foam ranging from deep injection to void fill.

Void fill

If there’s one thing Polyurethane foam is excellent at it’s void fill. You’ll need it, especially if you’re already dealing with foundation settlement.

And the stuff will go through the path of least resistance, meaning if there are larger voids already being filled up, polyurethane will continue through the cracks and fill in micro voids. It’s one hell of a way to make sure the soil under your home or business is stable!

Whether the Polyurethane foam material creates one large mass or is moving between the soil, void fill is being done. The whole purpose is soil densification. The stuff is doing its job either way.

It depends on what you want to accomplish 

There are times when densifying the soil after a foundation lift is a financially better solution. It sometimes saves you money. Other times only densifying the soil with polyurethane is the ideal solution.

And sometimes the solution is based on what you can afford.

Either way, the soil is the factor depending on what you want to accomplish. You won’t receive a lot of lift with clay-dense soil. This is when densification is the ultimate goal.

You get better results densifying and lifting sandy, silty soil.

Sometimes along the coast where there are many clay soils, it may not be ideal to do deep injection without a galvanized steel Push pier or Helical pier underpinning.

Some environments have more moisture than expected, which affects the depth of your deep injection with polyurethane foam. It also can affect the type of Polyurethane used since the single component type is activated by moisture.

And some areas have cut-fill lots, which means the material being used under your property is imported to fill an area and build upward. But that’s why soil samples are a thing.

Again, it depends on the conditions and what you want to accomplish.

Even if Polyurethane won’t work for you, there’s another solution you can find after scheduling a free foundation inspection! 

You’ve learned about deep injection, deep injection with polyurethane, and the soil conditions used for Polyurethane foam. The stuff might not be the best solution for your foundation repair, which is why you’ll want to talk with a qualified and licensed foundation repair specialist that is willing to work with you and come up with a plan best suited for you.

You’ll want to schedule a FREE foundation inspection to figure out your foundation repair needs. Project Design Specialists like me will be at your door on a scheduled day to inspect your property for 60-90 minutes.

Real estate foundation inspections will be a $1,000 charge, which is credited toward your foundation repair.

For additional questions or to schedule an evaluation, call Dalinghaus Construction at (877)360-9277.

And learn more about the use of The depth you go for deep injection, and the cost of underpinning with deep injection.

WRITTEN BY

Tom Bartholomew

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