Getting grout into a wall often seems to be difficult for masons.
But over the past 30 years or so, pumps have come into common use, making grouting of reinforced masonry walls much less burdensome. As both a lifting and placing device, pumps are indispensable for moving grout, although they are expensive and require a well-trained operator. Another recent option is the use of large grout buckets positioned with a telehandler or forklift.
The features you'll need in a pump are dictated by its intended use:
How much grout is needed-and what is the flow rate?
- How high and how far will the pump have to move grout? How close to the wall can the pump be positioned? How many stories high is the typical wall?
- Will the pump be used only for grout or also for concrete?
Bob Weatherton with The Concrete Pump Store states that there are four kinds of pumps for grout:
Progressive cavity pumps can handle only fine grout and are used for grouting around windows and doors and other small spaces.
- Mechanical ball-valve pumps are the workhorses of the masonry industry, and pumps with a 4-inch ball valve are the most popular.
- Hydraulic ball-valve pumps have fewer moving parts so they last longer and are much smoother than mechanical pumps, but they are also more expensive.
- Rock pumps with a swing-tube type valve must have a watertight seal on the valve to prevent grout from leaking through into the line and causing blockages.
- The masonry contractor should consider using a boom pump on a bigger job since you can fill all the walls without moving the pump.
- Smaller hoses are easier to handle, but too small a hose can reduce pumping capacity and the distance grout can be pumped.
- Always prime the line with a cement slurry before pumping.
- Wash out the pump.
- A pumping contractor will charge $60 to $80 per hour with a minimum of 2 to 4 hours plus travel and yardage.
Airplaco, Mayco, Morgen, OLINPUMP, Putzmeister, REED, Schwing, and Whiteman Conspray manufacture grout pumps. Some companies, such as Hydraulic Mudpumps, have special pumps that are lighter and much less expensive. A good grout pump will cost $19,000 to $35,000.
For low-lift grouting, with smaller quantities of grout needed, there is another option. Positioned by a telehandler, forklift, or crane, this simple hopper with an auger in the bottom has few moving parts, requires minimal training to operate, is nearly maintenance-free, and is about one-third the cost of a pump.
Two similar pieces of equipment on the market, Grout Hog by E-Z Grout and the Bradco Auger Bucket, meet a real need in the industry--a simple way to get grout into a masonry wall.
The article also includes points on pump safety and a list of pump manufacturers.