Sonotube® Meet Your Match Ceme Tube®

Sonotube® Meet your match, Ceme-Tube®.
by Shelley Hawes

While laying footings in wet land for his cabin in northern Minnesota, Jim Bradac was troubled by the complications of pouring concrete into traditional cardboard Sonotubes®. The material quickly became flimsy, and pouring had to be done immediately after placement to properly set. Bradac had to believe there was an alternative, something as simple as waterproof forms must certainly be available. It only made sense.

After careful patent research, Bradac discovered there was really no product available to pour concrete into that was manufactured out of plastic. “I can literally say this is the first to replace traditional cardboard forming tubes.” With a background in the stainless steel commercial restaurant equipment sales for over sixteen years, he set a side a lot of time and money to invest in research and development of a simple product that would solve his problem. If a guy trying to lay footings for his cabin was having these frustrations, certainly the construction industry at large would benefit as well.

Great Showing at World of Concrete
“This is a pretty simple invention.” After spending about $30,000 of his own money on a mold, Bradac made a prototype and took it out to World of Concrete. Not officially even in business yet, and with no inventory of product to fill orders, he wanted to see what kind of response the Ceme-Tube® would generate. From show opening to close, the Ceme-Tube® attracted a crowd at his booth at all times. “The whole idea of the show was to see how well they’d be received. Contractors were all over them,” Bradac says with a smile.

Bradac came up with the idea in 2004, and is now setting up distribution throughout the USA. Locally, there are several distributors in Wisconsin and Minn, with Farrell Equipment contractor supply in Eau Claire, La Crosse and Wausau, being one. Cemstone, Brock White and Advanced Shoring also carries the Ceme-Tube® line and Bradac hopes to soon see them prominently displayed in showrooms throughout the country.

Impervious to Moisture, Ceme-Tube® can be filled Anytime
What makes Ceme-Tube® unique is not just its durability, but it can be installed, completely backfilled and filled with concrete at any later date. Impervious to moisture, it can be installed in wet ground conditions and maintain its form.

The standard Ceme-Tube® is made from HDPE plastic and is available in 8”, 10”, 12”, 18”, 24” and 30” diameters and 4 foot in length. The integral collar end allows for stacking piers up to 20’ in one pour. (The 30” only stacks to 12’) Once desired length is installed, excess is easily cut with common power tools. The Ceme-Tube® can be stripped using any type cutting or grinding wheel, and needs to only be cut 90% through, as scoring with a utility knife the tube will split open, trouble free.

The Ceme-Tube® works well with manufactured footings like Bigfoot and is exceptional for underwater dock installation. Optional domed top caps are available to keep out rain and dirt and prevent accidents with children and animals.

Pour in Place Bollards
Ceme-Tube® also makes the Pour in Place Bollard. It is 8” in diameter, and 4’ in length. Upon filling with re-bar and concrete, the installation is complete. A highly visible, reflective caution yellow color is molded throughout the plastic, not just surface applied, and is also available in custom colors. The outside is smooth and seamless and once finished, the Bollard Ceme-Tube® provides a maintenance free, aesthetically pleasing product. Concrete or asphalt will not adhere to its sides which eliminates friction frost heaving, and the cost is a quarter the price of a steel pipe that still requires regular maintenance painting.

The Light Pole Ceme-Tube®
As if the tubes and Bollards aren’t exciting enough, The Light Pole Ceme-Tube® steals the show! Designed to produce a base for parking lot light poles, these specially designed 18”, 24”, and 30” diameter models are also manufactured in reflective caution yellow, which contains strong UV inhibitors to protect from fading. Visually appealing and minimizing installation labor, the top perimeter has an integral radius which transitions the sides of the Ceme-Tube® to the top surface smoothly. A 17” diameter hole is provided on the top to facilitate pouring, finishing and light pole installation.

The smooth seamless walls of the finished light pole base are extremely heavy to resist dents and chips from vehicle contact. There are no visible air pockets in the concrete, they never require painting and are also available in custom colors. For more information visit www.cemetube.com or call 715.377.2133. Ceme-Tube® are currently available through Cemstone and Farrell Equipment 800.533.0909. Mention you learned of Ceme-Tube® in Construction Guide, so they know where you found them!