The body corporate on this site understands the importance of identifying signs of concrete deterioration as well as the importance of being proactive in getting the situation assessed and repaired before it got worse. If the spalling concrete had been left untreated, sections of concrete could in the future break loose and fall off the balcony’s edge, potentially hurting someone or other property.
The challenge is that the small signs of concrete cancer one can see often hide more extensive damage than is apparent on the surface.
Unfortunately, the problem is likely to be much more extensive than symptoms on the concrete surface suggest. As steel rusts, it can expand up to eight times its original size, causing the surrounding concrete to break away. Once established, the rusting will spread along the reinforcing in each direction. It is impossible to know the full extent of the damage until all unsound concrete is chiselled away.
Concrete cancer is influenced by several factors, such as proximity to the coast and a built-up environment; degree of steel reinforcement covered by concrete; the presence of differential metals; coating system quality and density; inadequate waterproofing; building defects cracking; joint and penetration detailing; and preventative maintenance.
One of the most common places to find corrosion of reinforcement steel is in columns and beams due to a lack of concrete covers to protect the steel and/or poor-quality concrete. Concrete cancer is also common in basements, underground car parks, and flat concrete roofs and balconies.
The main cause of premature deterioration, premature ageing, and durability issues in concrete is corrosion of reinforcing steel or other embedded metals. Concrete cancer can happen in many areas of a concrete structure, so it is a good idea to regularly look out for tell-tale signs so that it can be remedied before it gets severe and becomes a serious problem and starts affecting the strength and structural integrity of the building.
As soon as possible, cracks and holes should be adequately sealed to prevent spalling. Cracks can be repaired by injecting epoxy or polyurethane resins into cracks in order to fill them. A protective coating, a penetrative concrete sealer, or a waterproof membrane will protect against moisture, salts, and chemical attacks.
Our extensive experience on major civil projects has afforded Waterstop Solutions opportunities to design with industry-leading engineers and tackle some of the most complex concrete repair challenges imaginable in the built environment. Using this knowledge, we can provide you with a range of options to best meet your project criteria.
The typical method of concrete cancer repair follows a process of:
After the concrete cancer has been repaired, preventative measures must be taken to prevent recurrence. It is recommended to implement a maintenance program customized for the environment the building is exposed to, including dedicated inspections. Regular maintenance checks will help identify any problems in the earliest stages, which will also contribute to enhancing the service life and reducing the life cycle cost of concrete structures.
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