Brief talk with Scott Horn, CEO of ProChemical Soil Stabilization.
Table of Contents
Defining Soil Stabilization
- Explanation of soil stabilization and its importance in construction.
- Focus on North Texas and states with CH clay, high plasticity clay prone to swell and shrinkage.
Transcription: “So first of all, tell me about soil stabilization. What are the benefits, and who does it? Who is it best for? Soil stabilization is best for everybody in North Texas or any state that has CH clay, which is high plasticity clay with a high potential for swell and shrinkage due to water migration through rain or irrigation. Everybody’s a good candidate for it, as long as you understand the soil and what you’re going to build. The reason why we want it all comes down to a stable foundation.”
Benefits of Soil Stabilization
- Emphasizing stability as the key foundation for any construction project.
- Prevention of heaving and contraction in high plasticity clay.
Addressing issues like cracking, uneven settling, and structural damage.
Transcription: “Yes, stabilization is a keyword. The reason why you want to stabilize the ground prior to building or any kind of structure is if it’s CH clay, it has a high potential to swell with water migrating into the soil. When you stabilize the ground, especially from a chemical injection view, we change the polarity of the clay and stop it from heaving and contracting. It makes it act like sand more than anything else. Most heaving and contraction occur around the perimeter of your home or building, leading to cracking in concrete and issues with doors and windows.”
Who Benefits from Soil Stabilization?
- Suitable for everyone, from residential to commercial projects.
- Key factor: Understanding the soil and geotechnical report.
Transcription: “Soil stabilization is best for everybody in North Texas or any state that has CH clay, which is high plasticity clay with a high potential for swell and shrinkage due to water migration through rain or irrigation. Everybody’s a good candidate for it, as long as you understand the soil and what you’re going to build.”
Why Stabilize the Ground?
- Exploring the impact of CH clay’s potential to swell with water migration.
- Chemical injection as a method to modify soil polarity and prevent heaving and contracting.
Transcription: “The reason why you want to stabilize the ground prior to building or any kind of structure is if it’s CH clay, it has a high potential to swell with water migrating into the soil. When you stabilize the ground, especially from a chemical injection view, we change the polarity of the clay and stop it from heaving and contracting. It makes it act like sand more than anything else.”
ProChemical Soil Stabilization: A Closer Look
Introduction to ProChemical
- Brief history: Established in 1994.
- Initially started with hand injection, evolved into more efficient methods.
Transcription: “Tell me a little bit about ProChemical Soil Stabilization, your company, how you started, and how you got where you are. We started in [year] and began with hand injection without tractors, using machines that pumped about 30 gallons a minute. We started with machines that were pumping about 30 gallons a minute and doing hand injection. Hand injection is without a tractor, using one rod or one probe that’s 10 feet long. It has a tee on it, and then we’re pushing it in the ground manually.”
Evolution of Injection Methods
- Transition from manual hand injection to hydraulic injection system, machine-assisted methods.
- Utilizing tractors, hydraulic injection, and optimizing dilution ratios for effectiveness.
Transcription: “We started with hand injection without tractors, using machines that pumped about 30 gallons a minute. We did hand injection on 6-inch intervals. We looked at the geotech report, had our dilution ratio, and did it on 30-inch centers. We started at Alliance Airport doing Frontage roads and did a test road. Six months later, they called us back, and they noticed that the concrete trucks on the road we injected weren’t rutting like the part we didn’t inject. That’s how it started, and then we got into commercial. We’re always looking for improvement, but it’s hard to improve on one of the best stabilizers in the market.”
ProChemical Projects and Success Stories
- Case studies, such as Alliance Airport Frontage Roads, showcasing tangible benefits.
- Expansion into driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, commercial projects, and complete subdivisions.
Transcription: “We started doing driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, and then we got into commercial. Right now, we’re doing a complete subdivision in Midlothian, TX, and we’re also doing the streets.”
Types of Soil Stabilization Methods
- Explanation of the process: digging, layering, and watering.
- Highlighting its temporary nature and potential drawbacks.
Transcription: “Different types of soil stabilization methods include moisture conditioning, water injection, and chemical injection. Moisture conditioning is done all over the state. They dig it out based on geotech recommendations, usually 5 to 10 feet, put it back in 6-inch layers, and water it. It’s a good method, but it’s not permanent, in my opinion.”
- Comparing water injection to chemical injection.
- Emphasizing the limitations of water injection in achieving permanent stability.
Transcription: “Water injection is another method where they’re doing the same thing we do, but without chemical injection. They pump a lot of water into it to swell it up before building. However, the beauty of chemical injection is that you can’t put it back into the ground like nature did. When you dig it out, even if you’re putting it back with water and compacting it, it will never be the same as millions of years of natural compaction.”
- In-depth exploration of ProChemical’s approach.
- Permanence, minimal ground disturbance, and changing clay polarity for long-term stability.
Transcription: “Chemical injection is our approach. We’re not really disturbing the ground because we’re using probes and injecting it. The chemical changes the polarity of the clay, making it permanent. It doesn’t matter when water comes in or migrates, it won’t move your foundation. We’re always modifying how we inject it, the most economical way, and the best technology, whether it’s skid steer, tractor, or hand injection.”
Common Problems Solved by Soil Stabilization
Heave and Contraction
- How soil stabilization prevents heaving and contraction.
- Addressing issues like concrete cracking, uneven settling, and structural damage.
Transcription: “Soil stabilization solves heave and contraction, preventing concrete problems like cracking and foundation movement. It increases the load-bearing capacity of the soil, stopping all movement under your concrete. In areas with high plasticity soil, stabilization is crucial to prevent issues like cupping and warping around your perimeter.”
Increased Load-Bearing Capacity
- Explaining how stabilization enhances soil strength.
- Preventing movement under concrete, reducing the risk of structural damage.
Transcription: “Soil stabilization increases the load-bearing capacity of the soil, stopping all movement under your concrete. In areas with high plasticity soil, stabilization is crucial to prevent issues like cupping and warping around your perimeter.”
Longevity and Maintenance
- Evidence of success: University studies, competitor testimonials, and long-term project results.
- Examples of projects lasting seven years with minimal movement.
Transcription: “We’ve had a test done on it seven years later, and it came back fine. We’ve been in business for 30 years, and we just don’t have a lot of complaints. The injection process works, and it lasts. Maintenance-wise, you always want to make sure you’re maintaining the moisture around your foundation, especially if you have irrigation.”
- Emphasis on maintaining proper moisture levels.
- Importance of balanced sprinkler systems and effective guttering around structures.
Transcription: “Maintenance-wise, you always want to make sure you’re maintaining the moisture around your foundation, especially if you have irrigation. Proper guttering around your house is also critical. You don’t want any standing water around your house for long periods because it can lead to settlement issues, not necessarily heave issues.”
Our reach extends far beyond homes. We’ve tackled projects like race tracks, drag strips, runways, and even softball fields. Concentrating on CH clay with our product effectively swells the soil and enhances stability.
Highways & Lime Stabilization:
While we haven’t ventured into highways yet, we understand the common lime stabilization technique used for these large-scale projects. We’re constantly exploring new opportunities and are currently in discussions with counties to introduce our chemical injection alternative for stabilizing road bases.
The Scott Horn stresses the necessity of ongoing foundation maintenance, focusing on moisture control and guttering to prevent settlement issues.
- Emphasis on monitoring moisture levels and irrigation systems.
- Importance of proper guttering to avoid water pooling around the house.
“Heave is what we stop. It’s better to look at the moisture content around your house…just be cognizant of it.”
Scott shares ProChemical’s ongoing efforts to refine their stabilizer product for soil treatment. He talked about his commitment to constant improvement and the strategies they employ to ensure their stabilizer remains one of the best in the market.
- ProChemical Soil Stabilization is constantly evolving and refining their stabilizer formula to ensure top-notch quality.
- Their focus is not on changing the stabilizer itself, but rather on optimizing injection methods and technology for maximum effectiveness and cost-efficiency.
- The company conducts rigorous independent studies, including a University study, to validate the performance of their stabilizer blend.
“We’re constantly changing our stabilizer… we’re always striving to make it more economical for our customers.” – Scott Horn
Not stabilizing your home’s foundation can lead to costly repairs, but proactive measures like injection offer a cost-effective solution compared to extensive repairs.
- Not stabilizing your home’s foundation can lead to costly repairs, ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.
- Signs of foundation issues, such as cracks, shifting bricks, and doors not opening properly, indicate the need for immediate attention to prevent further damage.
“The cost of not doing stabilization is just a gamble…you can save money on the front end but if you do injection, you can probably get a lot of injection done for one house of repairs.” – Scott Horn
One of foremost challenges confronting the soil stabilization industry presently is cost containment amidst market inflation. Scott Horn talks about compelling strategic maneuvers in procurement and workforce management to uphold quality and competitiveness.
- Managing costs amid market inflation poses a significant hurdle.
- Strategic procurement practices, such as bulk purchasing and cost-effective equipment acquisition, are indispensable.
- Maintaining a skilled workforce and ensuring the quality of materials remain paramount.
“Our primary challenge right now is cost because everything is so inflated… We need quality equipment too… Our aim is to deliver an economical and permanent solution for our clients in soil stabilization.” – Scott Horn
ProChemical Soil Stabilization operates primarily in North Texas, extending to East Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arizona, particularly Maricopa County. They are also currently involved in projects in Mississippi. One of the challenges they face is the lack of awareness about chemical injection in certain areas, despite its proven effectiveness over several decades.
- ProChemical focuses on North Texas, East Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Arizona, including Maricopa County. We’re also starting to work in Jackson, MS.
- Overcoming awareness obstacles in regions where chemical injection is not well-known.
“People just don’t know about it. We started this back in 1994, and nobody really knew anything about it. Then it’s just been word of mouth, and you take the longevity that we’ve been in this business, and we don’t have anything that’s moving.”
Scott Horn outlines ProChemical’s vision for the future, emphasizing growth, innovation, and industry advocacy.
- ProChemical aims to expand its soil stabilization services globally, promoting the effectiveness of chemical injection.
- We’re committed to setting new industry standards and collaborating with competitors to advance soil stabilization practices.
- ProChemical Soil Stabilization seeks to drive innovation and elevate the entire soil stabilization sector through continuous improvement and advocacy.
“Our plan for the future is to grow and provide soil stabilization to everyone who needs it. We want to push this industry forward, advocating for the effectiveness of chemical injection and setting new standards for soil stabilization practices.”
- Reiterating the significance of soil stabilization for a stable foundation.
- Encouraging awareness and adoption of chemical injection for long-term construction success.
Transcription: “In conclusion, the benefits of soil stabilization are immense. It all starts with a stable foundation, and we’re here to advocate for the benefits of chemical injection in soil stabilization. Whether it’s residential or commercial, understanding your soil and adopting these methods can ensure long-term construction success.”