Before making any repairs to concrete, it’s imperative to understand exactly what caused the damage. The damage could be a result of exposure to freeze/thaw cycles, traffic, or other issues.
There are significant issues that can cause minimal to extensive damage or cracking. The reinforcing steel might have corroded, due to rust. Disintegration of the concrete might be a result of the freeze/thaw cycles or from the salt used in de-icing. This type of problem produces scaling, which if left untreated, can eventually lead to the concrete’s complete destruction.
Depending on the moisture content of the concrete when it was poured, it can easily develop shrinkage cracks during the drying process. Additionally, delamination or blistering can result from prematurely sealing the surface of the concrete. It is easy for the concrete to develop cracks due to structural loads. This is often a result of inadequate steel, or no steel, or when the load it carries is too heavy.
Concrete can often be repaired if it does not pose any potential danger due to collapse. The evaluation process will determine whether the damage is widespread or local. It will also determine how deep the problem is and if it is still occurring. It may require more extensive testing to properly evaluate the issue.
There are specific concrete repair systems that can be utilized to fix the problem. Depending on the type of concrete issue, there are a variety of materials available. It is essential to first decide whether the repair will be simply covering up a concrete issue, or if the fix will bond an opened crack together. Some materials are designed to work quickly, while others are simple standard concrete repairs that will take up to 28 days to fully cure.
Repairing Foundations and Basement Walls
If repairing a foundation or basement wall, the concrete repair can be made using low-pressure crack injection. This highly effective system works much like applying caulk into an open crack. These polyurethane foams and epoxies ensure that the large crack can be filled completely for a waterproof solution to the problem.
Extensive Rebar Corrosion Repair
If there is damage to the internal rebar because of corrosion, there are effective proactive solutions to troubleshoot the problem. The corrosion was caused by an electrochemical reaction that can be stopped using an electrical system. Described as cathodic protection, the technique uses a sacrificial piece of metal that is directly connected to the concrete’s reinforcement metal. This will redirect electrochemical reaction currents from the internal reinforcing steel. The solution is often used in balconies and bridges created with concrete. There are even solutions for leveling and raising concrete when driveways, walkways, patios and pool decks have become uneven due to heaving or other reasons.
Many times, choosing the best material requires making compromises between the available choices, and the costs involved. Determining exactly what characteristics of the available materials will work best for the specific type of repair requires the knowledge of an experienced contractor, or discussing options with the material manufacturer.