Cracks, chips, breaks or even flaking on concrete structures tend to be an eyesore. When left unchecked, these occurrences may give rise to other more serious concerns, and deteriorate a concrete slab’s surface. The end result of all this is usually an expensive replacement rather than simple repairs. This definitely means as a responsible homeowner, you will need to inspect your concrete installations, wall or slabs regularly for signs of damage.
What causes Cracking in Concrete?
When it comes to the exact causes of cracking in concrete, there is usually a variety of factors which can come into play. In the first place, cracking on concrete may be triggered by plastic shrinkage. When this construction material is still in its plastic condition, it is normally saturated with water. As the concrete loses its moisture content during the curing process, it will start to shrink. `This shrinkage exerts a lot of pressure on the concrete and causes it to drag across its granular subbase. This blocking of its movement then creates plenty of stress on the slab, which then pulls itself apart. Once this pressure surpasses a given threshold, the concrete will eventually crack in order to relieve the tension within it.
One of the key factors that give rise to plastic shrinkage is using concrete mixtures with too much water in them. To fight shrinkage crack, expansions joints are normally employed and placed at regular intervals on concrete. Their main function is to relieve pressure exerted on concrete which leads to cracking. On the other hand, cracking on concrete might be caused by ground movement as a result of freeze/thaw cycles. Over the course of these cycles, the frozen ground can be raised a couple of inches upwards, before settling. When the ground thaws, should the slab be restricted in its movement with the soil, it will eventually crack. Heaving can as well be triggered by planting trees in close proximity to concrete structures whose roots may lift it up and cause it to crack. Cracks can also be caused by overloading the slab. The same is true for premature drying of concrete whereby the slab loses its moisture content too fast.
What causes Chipping and Breaking in Concrete?
On the other hand, chipping is part of a process where the surface of concrete chips, peels or even breaks. Otherwise known as spalling, this occurrence is usually attributable to numerous underlying problems. Some of the most prevalent include freeze/thaw cycles, poor finishing methods, wrong curing, bad concrete mixes and even deicing salts.
How is Cracking in Concrete Fixed?
Cracking in concrete can be resolved in a number of different ways. First of all, there are epoxy injections that are suitable for cracks of a width as narrow as 0.002”. This concrete repair method involves making entry points and venting points at close intervals along cracks in concrete, sealing the exposed surfaces and ultimately injecting the epoxy under pressure. To achieve success, epoxy injections tend to necessitate plenty of skill, and this sort of process cannot be performed using DIY techniques. So, it is highly advisable to enlist the services of an experienced Concrete Contractor Kent WA professional if you choose to take this route. Alternatively, cracks on concrete may be resolved by a method known as routing and sealing. This technique is ideal when structural repair of the concrete isn’t required. Essentially, it entails widening the cracks along their exposed surfaces and eventually filling them up with a joint sealant. Routing and sealing cracks is usually effective when applied to flat horizontal surfaces including concrete floors and pavements. This method is especially efficacious in repairing fine pattern cracking or bigger isolated cracks.
Conversely, cracks on concrete slabs may be addressed using a repair process referred to as stitching. Stitching involves the contractor drilling holes into either side of cracks and then grouting in U-shaped metal units. These units come complete with shortened legs that span the crack. Stitching is normally prescribed in situations where tensile strength needs to be re-established across huge cracks. Cracks on concrete may be repaired utilizing bonded overlays. Overlays can be used on cracks triggered by a one-time occurrence that doesn’t entirely penetrate the slab. On the other hand, surface treatments might be utilized to repair fine cracking or sealing concrete surfaces. These treatments are particularly effectual when it comes to fixing surfaces that have not experienced substantial wear and tear.
How is Spalling on Concrete Repaired?
The repair of spalling in concrete tends to be influenced by a number of factors. This may include the extent of damage, the sort of concrete installation been repaired or even its location. There are diverse repair materials that are used to fix spalling whose application depends on the size of the affected concrete. In the event the spalling depth is no more than 1/3 of the slab’s thickness, the concrete will effortlessly receive the surface repair. The repair process commences with patching up the affected area making use of the right admixture. Typically, the most suitable patching material is Portland cement-based or an epoxy. Damages on driveways, walkways together with other horizontal surfaces can be fixed using cementitious overlays.