What are the signs your concrete needs repair? More importantly, why and how did this damage occur in the first place? When you learn about the properties of concrete, the risk factors for damage and the environments that contribute to an early breakdown of the material, you can better plan and prevent the need for expensive repairs.
Concrete is composed of an aggregate material and water. Water expands by 9 percent when it freezes. This expansion puts pressure on the cavities within the concrete. Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing lead to cracks, crumbling and early disintegration. The use of deicing chemical products on these surfaces further aggravates this issue. A common ingredient in many deicing products is sodium chloride. Salt absorbs moisture, leaving the material more susceptible to damage when the freeze/thaw cycle begins again.
When concrete is used for driveways or warehouse floors, it is exposed to vehicle traffic nearly every day. Consistent use causes any material to wear out, including concrete. In a commercial setting, the addition of sand, gravel and other aggregates that may coat the surface during production processes can further exacerbate abrasion.
Shrinkage and Thermal Cracking
When concrete is initially poured, the curing process involves water evaporation from the original liquid mix. If the water content in the mix is too high, the extra evaporation can cause pressure, creating shrinkage stress cracks. In some cases, these types of cracks are unavoidable and must be managed with control joints. Thermal cracking can also occur when the material is exposed to high temperatures. Concrete will expand when hot and contract when cool, which can also create stress cracks.
Overload or High Impact
Concrete has two advantages over other types of building materials: It is durable and cost-effective. However, sometimes a heavy load is simply too much for it to handle. Overload damage can occur if the concrete is not allowed to fully harden before use. In the cases of driveways and surfaces that bear traffic, this type of damage usually occurs at the edges of the concrete and starts with slight crumbling and cracking. High-impact cracks might occur due to an accident on a construction site like falling machinery, or natural disasters such as an earthquake.
To last for years to come, concrete must be poured on a compact, firm soil surface. If soil washout or settling occurs after installation, the concrete may sink unevenly or the slabs may curl at the edges. This problem indicates an issue in the structural integrity of the concrete, but can be solved through slab jacking and other specialized repair services.
Contact Lift-Up Concrete for attentive expertise from a team of professionals when either residential or commercial concrete needs repair.