02/07/2006

Concrete: Understanding When and Why Repairs are Necessary

Fundamental understanding of concrete factors provides the foundation for recognizing when your facility is need of repair

 

What Should Maintenance Personnel Look For?
Visual inspection is how most concrete deterioration is noticed. A host of preventive measures can increase the life of your facility and the time between repairs.

-Waterproof your structure. If this is done before you see problems, you will minimize the possibility of severe problems. It only costs about $5 per square foot to waterproof a concrete deck, but it will cost upwards of $75 per square foot to repair severely deteriorated concrete.

-Regular visual inspections help identify small problems before they become large. Look for rust stains on slab edges indicating corrosion, cracks on the top of decks that could allow for water intrusion, peeling paint or coatings, and failed sealants.

-Other items to examine include loose or delaminated tile or decking, lumps under the carpet, loose grout at handrail post pocket, leaks around doors or windows, wet interior carpet adjacent to exterior walls, damp or musty odors, and damp or wet drywall adjacent to exterior walls or openings.

 

In today’s lexicon, the word “concrete” has come to symbolize strength and the image of being set in stone. Yet, for all its seeming permanence, concrete has come under attack from both natural and manmade forces since the time it was first formed and poured. The relative rate of degradation resulting from these assaults depends on a wide variety of factors of which only some are controllable. Fundamental understanding of these factors provides the foundation for recognizing when your facility is need of repair.

Concrete Facts
There are any number of variables that can affect the strength and integrity of concrete. For example, concrete made with too much water, or water with impurities or chemical compounds beyond certain thresholds, will impact its durability. In addition, the relative size and coarseness of the aggregates in the concrete play a role in the size and thickness of the structural components in which they are to be used. Also, proper curing is critical to the integrity and strength of concrete.

Additionally, man-made forces affect degradation and are often controllable. These fall into two general categories: deterioration in structures built more than 40 years ago when the marketplace was less knowledgeable about concrete, and degradation due to obvious design deficiencies or neglect. For instance, if chemicals or some other mildly aggressive agents spilled onto a concrete surface and were not properly cleaned up, they could cause degradation or exacerbate an already-existing problem. High-pressure or high-temperature venting and physical forces such as flexing, overloading, or repeated impact are other potential contributors to the deterioration process.

Foremost among all causes of concrete degradation is the internal damage caused by the corrosion of the embedded reinforcing steel. In addition to deterioration of the steel itself, the corrosion affects the concrete surrounding it, which results in cracking, delamination, and spalling. Since virtually all of the concrete found in structures is steel-reinforced, this is a widespread problem.

Unfortunately, the manner in which concrete deterioration manifests itself typically does not indicate the true depth, complexity, or severity of a problem. The first small crack in its protective lining invites intrusion by moisture or corrosive agents. Eventually and inevitably, the outward symptoms of scaling, cracking, and spalling gradually begin to appear in buildings.

Creating a Successful Repair
Concrete repair integrates new materials with existing materials to form a composite structure that can withstand environmental conditions and operational processes, while at the same time provide extended service life. The need for concrete repair is typically first witnessed by maintenance personnel. Cracking or spalling may be visually apparent and an engineer should be consulted to diagnose the problem. A typical team for a repair project includes the owner, a specialty repair contractor, the consulting engineer, and a material representative.

A range of advanced solutions, far beyond the simple concrete patch, can be utilized to implement an effective concrete repair program. Basic understanding of these options - surface repair, protection, stabilization, strengthening, and waterproofing - will allow selection of the best program for your facility. A concrete repair specialist also can help determine both the underlying cause of the problem and the optimal solution.

Peter Emmons is president at Hanover, MD-based Structural Group (www.structural.net).

 

Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
comments powered by Disqus

Related Products

Furniture
Interiors
Roofing

Sponsored Links