Methodologies used to Repair Concrete Cancer

Issues arising from concrete cancer and spalling will generally affect the facade of a building or in more serious cases the structure of the building itself.

An engineer needs to assess a building for concrete cancer and spalling to determine the extent of the damage. Often concrete cancer and spalling will affect multiple parts of a building at the same time.

Once an engineer identifies that concrete cancer exists, they will recommend the most effective repair method. This will ensure the issues are repaired properly and that the building maintains its structural integrity.

Typically, a remedial engineer would follow this process:

  • Determine what is causing the concrete cancer.
  • Evaluate how severe the concrete cancer and/or spalling is.
  • Develop a process to repair and/or rebuild the concrete structure.
  • An engineer may seek quotes or tender submissions from capable remedial contractors.

The remedial contractors will:

  • Prepare and treat the existing steel reinforcement and concrete.
  • Apply waterproofing membranes and coatings.
  • Utilise formwork and repair products.
  • Allow for proper curing of the repairs.
  • Return the structure to its original including, textures, paints and protective coatings.
  • Document the location and details of the repaired areas.

Waterproofing plays an important role in preventing concrete cancer from recurring. We have more information about waterproofing issues and solutions here.

What technologies are used to repair Concrete Cancer?

Once the damage caused by concrete cancer is accurately assessed, any one of the following processes may be used to rectify the damage:

  • Polymer-modified, cement-based repair system.

Where concrete carbonation and low concrete cover have been identified as the issue, the engineer might recommend using a polymer modified repair system. This solution involves removing the concrete around the reinforcing bars and cleaning the steel, before applying both the steel primer and a polymer-modified material. An anti-carbonation protective coating may also be applied to the whole concrete surface. Sometimes the experts might recommend using additional reinforcing steel anodes before new concrete is applied, or the steel might be replaced in severe cases.

  • Electrochemical treatment.

If chloride contamination is the problem in buildings near the ocean, you might need to have specialist repair work done to treat the concrete cancer. This can include electrochemical treatment, such as cathodic protection.

  • Simple replacement.

If the damage from concrete cancer is moderate, you might be able to remove the damaged concrete, clean and replace the rusted, exposed steel, and fill in the cracks.

  • Specialist coatings and waterproofing.

Once the underlying steel and concrete have been repaired, you’ll need to cure it properly using specialist coatings. This is followed by the application of finishings, paints, and protective coatings as well as waterproofing.

It’s critical you get the right diagnosis to resolve the root cause of the issues leading to concrete cancer and spalling.

Andersal is a leading concrete repair contractor, call us for a quote on 1800 066 327 or email

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