Concrete surface damage is not a condition any homeowner or business owner would like to see, but whether due to mistakes made during the initial installation or wear and tear over time, concrete, one of the strongest building materials, can eventually degrade. Following are five common reasons for concrete surface damage and an explanation on how and why the problem may arise so you can attempt to prevent the issue in the future. |
Improper Installation or Curing Process
Concrete can last for decades without any issues, but it’s dependent upon on a professional, precise installation, which starts with the concrete mix. If the mix of aggregate and water is unbalanced, the slab may dry faster than expected, before it has had the chance to fully fortify, creating plastic shrinkage cracks along the surface known as crazing.
Blisters also can form on the surface if the finishing process takes place too soon. Sealing the concrete early can trap escaping air and water.
Concrete is strong, but when too heavy a load is placed on the slab, it can crack under the pressure, especially if the load is unbalanced. Heavy-duty commercial vehicles also can crack the edges and imprint tire tracks onto the surface with repeated use.
Extreme temperatures and the presence of moisture can have a negative effect on concrete. It’s permeable, meaning water is absorbed into its surface, and during winter months, when snow melts, the slab absorbs the excess. When the temperature drops, the newly absorbed water freezes and expands, putting pressure on the solid aggregate surrounding it. This pressure can weaken a slab’s surface and cause scaling. The cycle continues with each rise and drop in temperature.
If the natural freeze/thaw cycle was not damaging enough, scattering deicing chemicals onto the slab only causes the process to happen more often, raising the chance of surface scaling.
Concrete that is exposed to harsh acidic chemicals in a production environment can degrade, as a result. In addition, when the steel bars inside begin to corrode, it leads to cracking and spalling of the surrounding concrete.
Structural Support Loss
In some cases, natural disasters can wash out soil and remove the stable underlayment for the slab all at once. In other cases, soil erosion happens slowly over time, and the pressure builds within the slab until it finally shifts, cracks and sinks. If the soil was not solidly packed down before installation, settlement can also lead to cracking.
Even the most drastic concrete surface problems can be repaired using modern tools, even if the damage reaches to the innermost areas of the slab. Slabjacking is a method that involves drilling holes and injecting a grout mixture to stabilize cracked and sinking surfaces. Surfaces that are blistered, crazed or deteriorating can also be restored with professional concrete finishing.
Depend on a professional to assess the condition of your structure and provide experienced advice on the best course of action for all concrete surface damage repairs.
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