Concrete Damage: Causes

As specialised industrial flooring contractors, we think it’s fair to say that we know a lot about flooring. For example, we know that concrete is considered one of the toughest materials, which is the main reason it is used for many industrial and commercial purposes. However, we also know that this doesn’t mean that concrete is indestructible; it is vulnerable to damage. Concrete is excellent, but that does not mean that it’s perfect.

Damage and defects can happen for a number of reasons, especially if you are not taking care of your concrete. For many people, they simply don’t know what causes concrete damage and therefore are unable to put preventative measures in place. That is why we have decided to use our knowledge to offer some information about the causes of concrete damages and how it can be avoided.

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Mechanical Damage

There are several ways that concrete can be damaged by mechanical factors. The first is as a consequence of overloading.

When concrete is designed, there is an estimated load calculated, taken from the building codes. This means that the strength of the concrete, the size, and the shape are taken into consideration, and therefore any extra pressure on the concrete can cause cracks to appear.

Cracking can also appear when concrete is handled incorrectly, or through a hard impact that may cause vibrations within. Vibrations in a concrete structure can happen for numerous reasons. This could be through the movement of heavy vehicles nearby, or the movement of heavy equipment. Whatever the reason, vibrations in a structure cause bonds in the concrete to loosen and therefore start to crack.

The final potential mechanical damage of concrete is one that isn’t as likely but is still a risk nonetheless; factors such as explosions and earthquakes, which can result in severe damage to your concrete structures.

Chemical Damage

One of the main reasons for chemical damage in concrete is through an alkali-aggregate reaction, which is basically a chemical reaction that happens within a concrete mix. The science behind this is that aggregates in the concrete can react with alkalis and therefore cause an expansion. The stress from the concrete expanding creates internal tensile forces, which is how concrete starts to crack from the inside.

Broken Concrete background

 

Damage to concrete can also be caused by a direct chemical assault or through exposure to constant attacks by bacteria.

Physical Damage

There are a number of ways that physical damage happens to concrete.

One of the main reasons is through freeze-thaw action. Deterioration occurs through over-saturation, which is a result of over 90% of its pores being filled with water. It is when this water freezes that problems occur, as frozen water occupies almost 9% more volume. When there is no room for this expansion, stress is put on the concrete. This can be continued in a cycle that repeats throughout successive winters, resulting in a loss of concrete surface over time.

You can try and prevent this by making sure that your concrete is air-entrained. You can do this through adding a surface active agent into the concrete mix. This will cause a number of small air bubbles to appear in the hardened concrete, which are responsible for relieving pressure that has built up due to expansion.

Other physical damage is caused by erosion, abrasion and wear.

plasterer concrete worker at wall of house construction

 

Hopefully you are now more aware of the causes and problems that can occur with concrete and how they can be prevented. However, as industrial flooring specialists, we work closely with concrete flooring and therefore we are aware that sometimes damage is unavoidable. This is why we offer floor repairing services, providing a cost-effective alternative to floor reconstruction. If you have any questions about this service, or anything else that we provide, then please do not hesitate to call us. You can contact us on 01226 382864, and a member of our helpful staff will be happy to help.

 

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