Reasons for Concrete Cracks

Reasons for Concrete Cracks

As a building ages, occasional maintenance and surveillance is required to ensure that the structural integrity of the building is maintained – this is standard practice and most buildings will require at least minor remedial efforts during their lifetimes as a result of damage, age, or change of use.

For clients concerned with the structural integrity of their building, Andersal provides a thorough preliminary assessment but also make use of specialist structural engineering consultants and testing where it is required.

We are experienced in concrete strengthening procedures such as carbon fibre reinforcement, and can propose and discuss alternative, cost-effective solutions with clients, consulting engineers and supplier experts. At Andersal, we know when to economise and, most importantly, when not to compromise on structural soundness.

THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF PREMATURE DETERIORATION ARE:

Poor placement of steel in the concrete: If poor workmanship is observed during the initial stages of forming reinforced concrete or if materials of poor quality are used, this may result in inadequate cover around the reinforcement, causing the reinforcement to commence the corrosion process, which, in turn, leads to the concrete cracking. Cracked concrete leads to water ingress and subsequent exposure and contamination with chlorides, which eventually ends in premature concrete deterioration. When repairing structure issues that have to do with the poor placement of steel, Andersal will either remove, treat, replace or retie the reinforcement and apply a suitably designed concrete mix that will prevent against future spalling.

Failed waterproofing: Concrete cancer is becoming an increasingly common problem in buildings and other structures that have not been sufficiently waterproofed due to cost-cutting exercises or just general degradation, resulting in water ingress. If inadequate waterproofing is done during the construction stage of the structure, the structure will likely require continual maintenance during its lifetime to ensure that the extent of the damage is not too much that it is unsalvageable and the structure loses value. One of the early symptoms of concrete cancer as a result of insufficient waterproofing include the presence of calcium stalactites beneath the slab and visible rust from the slab – if you see this, you should contact Andersal to professionally assess the damage and the extent of the repair required.

Unrealistically low, fixed-price quotations leading to failed repairs: This can encourage some contractors to carry out only partial repairs. Less ethical contractors will fail to mention or fix hidden, latent damage discovered during the repair process. Unethical contractors can reduce expense by using less reinforcement, by not tying or welding reinforcement or by using lower grade concrete mix. They may not remove all contaminated concrete or sufficient steel, do not prime the steel bars or do not cure the specialised repair mortars. Sometimes only superficial surface patching is attempted. This merely hides the problem for a more expensive repair later.

Andersal design for a long-term solution for a structure that will only require minimal maintenance in the future, using water repellents such as silanes, surface conditioners such as Dry Tread, buried anode protection for steel reinforcement, rust inhibitors and many other techniques to extend the life of the concrete where this is financially advantageous for you.

Professional repairs can have a disproportionate impact on asset value. It is important to select a capable contractor who provides sound advice and competence.