cropped loading dock damage

Damaged Loading Dock Slab Solution: Polyurethane Grout

In Commercial Blog Posts by John Topa

For industrial and commercial Florida business owners who ship and receive freight out of their facility, a concrete loading dock is a key component in their daily operations. If you manage or own a facility with a loading dock, it’s important to understand the hazards of unstable concrete. Some of the warning signs include cracking, rocking, lifting or unlevel and sunken seams between slabs.

Failure to repair the damage can result in accidents, injuries, costly repairs, and downtime. If you see any of these warning signs, you should contact a soil remediation company immediately to lift and repair the damage with polyurethane grout. The risks of ignoring unstable concrete loading docks also include:

  • Personal property damage
  • Trip hazards
  • Damage to equipment, vehicles, and product
  • Employee injuries
  • Sudden slab collapse
  • Limitless liability issues
  • Increased insurance policies

Sunken concrete loading docks can be lifted back to their original state by utilizing polyurethane grouting that works in both wet and dry conditions. The expansion force of the polyurethane grout coupled with specialized pumps can create enough force to lift any structure back into place within one-eighth of an inch of accuracy.

What is Polyurethane Grout Lifting?

Polyurethane grout lifting is a process that involves the injection of polyurethane grout that expands and seals voids in the ground, which raises and re-levels the damaged sections of concrete slabs back to their original state. The polyurethane grout is injected adjacent or through a slab under low pressure where it then expands and fills the cracks and voids. There are different application methods with variations in expansion rate, flexibility, viscosity and reaction time with water.

Polyurethane grout can also be a single or multi-component, which can require a reactant when encountering water. Depending on the severity of your damaged loading dock, soil construction, water exposure, and lift rate, it’s important to use the correct polyurethane grout for each type of application. The best solution for selecting the right grout for your specific problem is to contact a soil remediation and foundation repair company and have them assess your loading dock situation.

What Causes Bearing Capacity Failure?

Concrete sinking and settling are quite common throughout the State of Florida. There are various reasons why this occurs, especially to heavy concrete structures such as loading docks. During the start of construction, if the soil wasn’t properly compacted or if water channels for the runoff were not installed? Sinking soil can cause the bearing capacity of the loading dock to fail. It can also naturally occur over time due to the natural settling of soil. No matter the cause, a sinking loading dock is a potential disaster waiting to happen.

How Does Polyurethane Grout Lift Concrete?

damaged loading dock

As mentioned above, polyurethane grout injection is a lifting and re-leveling application that fills voids and lifts concrete slabs. It’s also lightweight and a non-hazardous expanding solution for sinking and settling concrete loading docks. In most infrastructure cases of sinking or settling concrete, reinforcement of the ground is also required. Compaction grouting to the soil in deeper loose zones is usually necessary before the lifting of the concrete slabs can occur.

Once the soil has been stabilized, holes are then drilled through the foundation or slab in order for the grout to be injected, which lifts and raises the damaged sections of the concrete to the final grade. Once the surface has been re-leveled, the holes are filled with cement grout that finishes off the lifting process. This results in a densified sub-grade that ensures a stabilized and re-leveled loading dock.

Benefits of Polyurethane Grouting for Damaged Loading Docks

There are many benefits to polyurethane grouting when compared to other repair methods such as grinding, slab jacking or replacement. It has been used in infrastructure in commercial and industrial sectors for a lot of jobs such as stabilizing and lifting interior concrete floors, walkways, equipment slabs and is unquestionably the best method for repairing damaged concrete loading docks. Some of the other benefits also include:

Less Disruptive:
  • Polyurethane grouting is the fastest and quietest process for raising and stabilizing settled concrete slabs. Due to the small size of the drilled holes, drilling is quiet and efficient, and there’s virtually no sound with the injection process. The equipment is generally housed in a self-contained box truck, which is usually parked away from the job site.
  • When it comes to lifting and stabilizing concrete loading docks, polyurethane grouting is the cleanest method. Due to the fact, the injection equipment is connected to the structure or slab; therefore, there’s no loose material or debris in the work area. Mechanical seals are also engaged when the equipment is not in use, providing a cleaner repair site. Even the drilling is virtually dust-free due to the small size of the holes, which also eliminates mud and debris from being tracked into unwanted areas.
Immediate Use:
  • Unlike other repair methods, polyurethane grouting provides immediate use of vehicular traffic once the job is done, and it also supports foot traffic during the injection process. This includes box trucks and tractor-trailers as well as industrial equipment such as forklifts.
  • Polyurethane grouting is 12 times faster than slab jacking. Due to the simplicity of drilling holes and the injection process, crews are lifting damaged slabs shortly after arrival for standard repairs to loading docks.
  • Polyurethane grout is significantly lighter than other stabilization and lifting materials, which also reduces the amount of additional weight on underlying soils and the risk of resettlement.
  • Polyurethane grout is waterproof, and it can also be applied in water, which makes treated slabs completely undersealed. This is due in part to its accelerated curing rate; therefore, water stop or flow testing applications with active water flow is not a problem.

The Power of Polyurethane Grout

There are certain situations when polyurethane grout is the only solution that will correctly lift large and heavy sections of concrete. Its power can best be described in the following situations below:

Large Concrete Slabs

Large concrete slabs that are generally larger than 100sqft are quite common in industrial and commercial facilities. Polyurethane grout can travel under the entire section of a large concrete slab with just one or two drilled injection holes. This generates a stronger diffuse lifting force than standard grout. Low-density polyurethane grout also speeds up the job and reduces the chance of additional cracking during the lift.

Heavy Concrete Slabs

Heavy concrete slabs will require high-density polyurethane grout in order to lift and re-level them. It can easily spread under heavy and large sections of concrete, and it has a very strong expansion force. Additionally, it can easily lift structures such as bridge approaches, roadway slabs, machinery bases, rail crossings, and loading docks.

The Best Solution for Florida Business Owners

When you have a sinking or settling loading dock at a working facility, the potential for accidents and injuries can occur without warning. The best solution for Florida business owners with failing concrete loading docks is to contact a soil remediation company that has experience with polyurethane grout applications. Making other logistic arrangements can be a major headache and cost several thousands of dollars in lost company revenues. A soil remediation company can repair your loading dock in the shortest time possible and keep your business running on schedule.