If left untreated, concrete cracks can be a terrible problem. As a matter of fact, different factors can cause structural and non-structural foundation cracks. At first, these cracks can start very minimally . However, it could get worse, threatening the entire structural integrity of your building.
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Spalling concrete is a common issue for older buildings. It is largely caused by carbonation, a natural deterioration process. Hence, causing the steel bars embedded in the ceiling slab to corrode. Subsequently , cause the concrete cover to crack and bulge.
In reinforced structures, spalling concrete can cause problems in structural integrity if left untreated. Not to mention, spoiling the aesthetics of your property. However, with the right preventive measures and expert concrete spalling repair services, you won’t have to worry about the structural integrity of your buildings.
Most common causes of concrete spalling includes:
Building structures move all the time. These movement can be caused by defects, ground movement, decay of building material etc. If building structure unable to accommodate this movement, structure cracking is likely to occur. If untreated, it can affect integrity, safety and stability of the structure.
Generally, structural cracks are wider than 3 mm in width and usually easy to identify. As a matter of fact, they can take on many shapes and sizes i.e. horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or appear like a staircase in foundation blocks.
Often, structural cracks are accompanied by problems on the inside of your properties such as sloping floors and moving objects e.g. doors and windows that have difficulty closing.
Hence, Structural cracks must be addressed immediately. Whereas for non-structural cracks, they should be monitored and repaired, so that they don’t get worse.
Generally, Non-structural cracks do not pose an immediate threat to the structural integrity of the building. They often occur when concrete slab experience internally induced stress.
Many factors can cause non-structural cracks, such as temperature fluctuations, weather changes, moisture build-up, poor conditions at original construction, poor concrete mix, rapid curing, or changes in moisture due to the cycle of seasons. Also, factors such as foundations shifting, hydrostatic pressure, vegetation, or trees can also cause non-structural cracks. These cracks are often very thin hairline cracks that are usually less than 3mm in width.
With this in mind, it is advisable to monitor these non-structural cracks. In order to ensure what started as a cosmetic issue not to rapidly turn into a structural crack when water seeps into the foundation and erodes the concrete.
Epoxy injection is the process of injecting epoxy resin into cracks to restore and repair concrete back to its original state, with or without added reinforcement. The injected epoxy resin is actually stronger than the concrete and can restore the concrete strength.
Routing and Sealing of Cracks
Routing and sealing of cracks can be used in conditions requiring remedial repair and where structural repair is not necessary. This method involves enlarging the crack along its exposed face and filling and sealing it with a suitable joint sealant.
Filling of Cracks
Concrete cracks can be filled using masonry crack filler. Very small cracks, such as hairline cracks, can be repaired using concrete patching compound applied over the crack and then smoothed with a putty knife or trowel.
Remove the spalled concrete to expose the corroded steel bars. Next, remove the rust by using a wire brush and then coat the steel bars with anti-corrosion treatment. Patched back with a non-shrink repair mortar reinforced with fibre.