A report recently came out about an injured boy who was struck by a spalling concrete slab that fell from the ceiling of their housing board flat due to wear and tear. According to Syasha Danial Alissa, her son was shooting water at the ceiling of their 45-year-old apartment when the concrete fell on his back. Natural wear and tear happens to older buildings, such as the family’s home, as well as moisture-prone areas like the kitchen and bathroom, where humidity causes concrete to crumble.
It is concerning what happened to Syasha and her son, and it may also happen to you and your family if your home is not properly maintained. Thus, the HDB encourages homeowners to be on the lookout for signs of spalling concrete and to have them repaired as soon as possible. What are the signs that you need professional assistance? Here is a guide on all you need to know about spalling concrete so that you can keep an eye on your home.
As mentioned earlier, older buildings are often plagued by spalling concrete. What happens is that the steel bar, embedded in the ceiling slab, corrodes over time due to carbonation, a natural deterioration process. As carbon dioxide penetrates the concrete and interacts with water, it causes the steel bar to rust and expands in volume. As a result, the concrete surface of the ceiling peels, cracks, and eventually breaks off in a process called spalling or spalling concrete.
Bathrooms and kitchens, which have a high moisture content, are common places to experience this issue. Spalling concrete does not affect a building’s structural integrity if it is immediately addressed. If not, it may spread and weaken the building structure and may lead to severe damage to your home and or accidents. That being said, it is important to look for the warning signs and the causes of spalling concrete.
Spalling concrete slabs are usually caused by carbonation and extreme moisture. Nevertheless, a concrete surface can break off in various ways. Some of them are:
In order to detect spalling concrete slabs early, keep an eye out for flaking, chipping, or missing large chunks of concrete from the surface, as well as exposed coarse rocky concrete aggregate. Spalling, however, can be difficult to detect by physical signs alone. Chemical and physical processes within concrete cause concrete to spall. Mixing methods and environmental factors can also contribute to concrete spalling. For this reason, it is best to consult a professional if you see any of the visual signs mentioned above.
Even if you do not notice early signs of spalling concrete, take precautionary steps to avoid an incident. A few suggestions include:
Below are the steps on how to fix a case of spalling concrete in your home:
Even so, it is still advisable to seek professional assistance since this type of issue can be extremely challenging to fix and is considered dangerous. Because of this, there is a high risk of further damage to your house if it is not done correctly.
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