Concrete will be susceptible to some wear and tear over the course of its life—this is not avoidable. While concrete is among the most reliable and durable building materials you’ll find, that doesn’t mean it’ll last forever without maintenance. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure the long-term strength and integrity of any concrete structures or pavement you have on your property.
With this in mind, here are some steps you can take to keep your concrete from deteriorating in Seattle, WA:
- Reinforcement: Many concrete applications benefit from the use of steel reinforcement to make the structure stronger and more secure. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that steel can be susceptible to rust and corrosion, especially in cooler climates. The more that corrosion spreads, the more problems you’re going to have, so you must also prevent the deterioration of your steel reinforcement through proper installation—there should always be at least an inch and a half to two inches of concrete on top of those reinforcements.
- Cement aggregate: There are some conditions in which an alkali-silica reaction will create a sort of gel that expands in the concrete, resulting in the formation of cracks and holes. This is most noticeable when you start to see the formation of “map cracking,” and the presence of white or gray gel-like deposits forming in the concrete. Fortunately, there are ways you can minimize this reaction. You can test the cement aggregate for the limit of the alkalinity of the cement, as well as for expansion and petrographic characteristics. You can add low-alkali fly ash or slag to the cement, which will also reduce its alkalinity.
- Sulfate tests: Concrete also becomes vulnerable to cracks when it’s exposed to water that has an elevated content of dissolved sulfates. Sulfate-containing water can get into the concrete, ultimately crystallizing and expanding once there. The sulfate salts can also cause the cement paste to soften or dissolve to the point where it completely erodes away. You can prevent this from occurring by making sure you test the sulfate content of the water before you start mixing, and then limit the water-to-cement ratio as much as possible for your application.
- Delamination: Delamination related to the finish can occur if water or air gets trapped just below the surface of the concrete. When water builds up below the concrete’s surface, it raises the water-to-cement ratio in the area, which results in decreased concrete strength in that particular spot. Air bubbles could also be elongated or connected together during the finishing process, which can result in weakened areas at the surface of the concrete. This is an especially common problem with concrete floors that have a hard steel-trowel finish, as you’d find in factories, warehouses, retail stores and other commercial and industrial buildings.
For more information about how to keep your concrete from deteriorating in Seattle, WA, contact the team at Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. today. We look forward to assisting you soon!