Tools of the Trade
Grout Grunt Saves Time, Money for Low-lift Grouting
In the past, it was not uncommon to lay a masonry wall up to 10 feet or higher, followed by grout. As a contractor, your most highly paid employees are your foreman and bricklayers. Thus, we strive daily to keep them as effective as possible, which, in turn, means more units on the wall at the end of the day.
History has shown that contractors always have two areas of work ready. When bricklayers reached a certain height on a wall, they would then move to the next wall, while laborers would fall back to grout what was previously laid. Again, bricklayers are always working. Contractors were more prone to increase the walls’ pour height, justifying the use of a grout pump or other mechanical method of grout placement. We’ve heard from many contractors, over time, that as long as they had four yards to grout, the pump or other means of mechanical placement was the way to go.
More and more, architects and engineers are specifying low-lift grouting and reduced pour heights, thus limiting our options of how we effectively place grout. Unfortunately, mechanical methods used in the past are not cost-effective anymore. For instance, if you are laying an 80-foot-long wall with re-bar 32 inches on center, and the specs call for a maximum pour height of four feet, this means each time you grout, you need about one cubic yard of material.
The challenge becomes placing this effectively. Is it worth getting the pump dirty for one yard? Is it worth moving four to five bricklayers to another wall after only laying six courses of block and moving the mortar? Due to lower and restricted pour heights on projects, mechanical means of placement are almost becoming obsolete. Our pump has not left the yard in two years.
The solution to reduced pour heights is placing grout by hand and not leaving the wall. Therefore, put away your buckets, and put away your shovels. The solution is the Grout Grunt. Everyone stays on the scaffold and works as a team. For instance, say you have four masons and two laborers. Two masons and two labors would grout, and the other two masons would be jointing the last two courses of the wall or building a lead at each end of the wall. Everyone stays on the scaffold and stays productive, and the wall keeps growing.
There’s no more jumping to this wall or the next, with labors scrambling to have areas ready. We have been using this method and have found it to be quite productive. Lay block for about one to 1 1/2 hours, and grout for half an hour. You will see that keeping your men in one spot for the whole day is most efficient. By the end of the day, you will be pleased with the results.
Steven Agazzi, BSCE, ICC-SMSI, works with Agazzi Development & Management, LLC.
- 51March 2011 Mixers, Pumps and Delivery Systems Core Filling With a Masonry Grout Pump Batching onsite with a masonry grout pump By Todd Ferguson Mason contractors can accomplish structural reinforcement core filling requirements by pumping grout or mortar with a masonry grout pump. Using a masonry grout pump can be beneficial to the mason contractor…
- 47March 2009 Mixers, Pumps & Delivery Systems Mix It, Pump It, Deliver It Photo courtesy of EZ Grout Corp. An inside look at what’s new and improved in mixers, pumps and delivery systems By Brett Martin Masonry contractors looking to improve the way they mix, pump or deliver mortar or grout will find a range…
- 32The Grout Grabber Company Milwaukee The Grout Grabber Co. has developed the Grout Grabber, a tool that removes grout rapidly without damaging tile or creating a lot of dust. The Grout Grabber gives you the flexibility and the power of a custom tool at an affordable price. The tool removes sanded grout with ease and…