It is usually wise to identify the root cause of a problem so that the remedy you implement can have a lasting effect. Many homeowners repair the concrete on their properties without taking time to investigate why that problem occurred. Consequently, the repair may not produce lasting results. This article discusses some common causes of problems in concrete structures. Use this information to select the best repair option for the defect in your concrete.
Several mechanical factors can cause defects in concrete. For example, a concrete floor can crack if it is overloaded. Explosions, vibrations and settlement are also mechanical causes of concrete defects. A lasting solution should address the root cause of the problem. For example, it would be futile to continue overloading the concrete floor after patching the cracks that developed earlier on. More cracks will develop unless you stop overloading that floor.
Chemical factors refer to those things that react with the concrete structure to the extent that the chemical composition of that structure is altered. For example, biological matter (like algae) can secrete enzymes that react with the concrete and cause it to start flaking. Aggressive agents, such as road salts, can also react chemically with the concrete and cause defects to develop.
Appropriate repair techniques in this case should target halting these reactions so that the concrete remains stable. For instance, any exposed rebar inside a concrete column should have an anti-corrosion coating applied so that saltwater is prevented from causing rust to push against the concrete surrounding that rebar.
Physical causes of concrete defects are factors that alter the physical dimensions of concrete without altering its chemical composition. For instance, low temperatures can cause the concrete to shrink in size. That shrinkage can then cause the concrete to crack. Similarly, water can cause concrete to expand to the point of cracking once that water freezes and expands inside the pores found in the concrete.
The repair method that is selected should address that root cause so that additional damage isn't caused. For example, one should seal a concrete floor so that moisture ingress is halted in order to avert future damage due to freeze/thaw effects of moisture in concrete pores.
As you can see, ample attention needs to be invested in isolating the actual cause of a concrete defect before any attempt is made to repair that concrete. Only then will you see lasting results. Consult concrete contractors for help in case you are unsure about the most appropriate repair technique for your concrete structure.