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RE: Freezer Slab

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From my experience the trick is to remove all of the frozen soil and then install the slab with the thermal break (which your clearly doing).  If you don’t get all the frozen matter out it’s going to turn to soup.  Not to great for the new slab or adjacent footings if that happens.  Did your boring indicate the depth of the ice lense?  They can get fairly deep.


The project I was involved with was too large for soil removal (Food warehouse: 25,000 sq. ft).  Instead we proposed removal of the slab during the spring, thawing, drying and monitoring during the summer, and slab installation in the fall.  Client never went through on it however.   Too bad, would have been interesting to monitor it’s performance.




-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Persing [mailto:jpersing(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 1:36 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Freezer Slab


Jim K,


All of the test pits had very fine sandy silt to about 6 to 8 feet deep.  The building is a supermarket and the freezer is only about 12' x 20'.  I guess what bothers me most is that this is such a usual configuration but such an unusual occurrence.


I had planned on putting 24" of granular fill below the new slab consisting of 2" of sand over a 10 mil vapor barrier over 4" of crushed gravel over 18" of non frost susceptible gravel.  Maybe the vapor barrier should go below the non frost susceptible gravel?  The slab will be the normal 4" concrete, 4" insulation and a 4" concrete "rat" slab for a total of 12".



-----Original Message-----
From: Kestner, James W. [mailto:jkestner(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 12:54 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Freezer Slab



I read a report one time that said that it has been observed that some silty soil can draw water up thru capillary action as far as 20 feet away. A freezer building or an ice skating rink that has been in continual operation for a long period of time can have large ice lenses form and heave the floor slab.


Ground water can, of course, fluctuate so the fact that there was no ground water in the test pit may or may not have any bearing. It could have been taken during a dry year or a dry season.


What kind of soil do you have? What kind of gradation does it have? How much material passes a number 200 sieve?


One possible solution is to dig out the ice lense and replace it with non-frost susceptible fill material, insulation and slab. What solution were you thinking of?


Jim K.

[Kestner, Jim]  -----Original Message-----
From: Jim Persing [mailto:jpersing(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 12:51 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Freezer Slab

I have been asked to make a recommendation for repair of a freezer slab that has risen about 6" from the edge to the middle - 10' +/-.


The freezer is kept at about -10 degrees F and has a floor consisting of 4" concrete over 3" rigid insulation over 4" of concrete.  The building is in a mild climate in the Pacific Northwest and is about 10 years old and the original soil report shows no ground water to the bottom of the test pits.  Somewhere water has intruded - broken water line?


As far as I can tell (and also from a core through the floor) the cause is from frost heaving.  I have done a little bit of work in Alaska and dealt with frost heaving but this is in reverse.  I think I know what to do but just wondered if anybody has dealt with this problem before and has recommendations on how to fix it.


Jim Persing, PE