As versatile and durable as concrete is as a construction material, it is susceptible to issues through poor specification, placement (specifically compaction and curing), general wear and tear and corrosion. Exterior concrete structures which are exposed to the elements are at an even more significant risk especially in coastal areas where sulphates are present in the air. Superficial signs of damage can be deceiving. For example, hairline cracks can appear less of an issue on the surface where in actual fact they are penetrating through the entirety of the concrete structure and are transmitting water and chlorides into the concrete. Therefore, there may be more of an issue than meets the eye. That’s why when you notice signs of concrete damage, it’s best practice to arrange for a specialist to assess the concrete. Particularly for larger structures and public areas, damaged concrete that’s unstable poses a serious risk.

Our team of specialists are best positioned to carry out a host of services to protect, restore and reinforce concrete structures both residential and commercial. We also carry out concrete inspections on-site to give an accurate picture of the condition of the concrete at the property.

The only question is when the damage is cause for concern and what can be done to address the issue. This blog goes into the signs of concrete damage to look out for, when to contact a concrete specialist and how accredited contractors repair and prevent further damage.


What’s the main cause of concrete damage?


The main causes of damage to concrete are those caused by corrosion such as Carbonation and reinforcement corrosion. The similarity in both of these is that they cannot occur without the presence of water and therefore if you can keep moisture out of concrete you are giving it the best chance to perform to its highest level.

If left untreated these issues can lead to spalling, which is when parts of the concrete structure come away and fall off.

Which signs of damage are caused by corrosion in the concrete?

Not all structural damage is down to concrete being the issue. There could be a greater issue causing signs of structural damage, such as movement in the ground. These signs will potentially mean that concrete repairs are necessary and so will need the attention of an expert to carry out an inspection on site.


1- Spalling concrete


Spalling concrete

Being exposed to the elements over time does have an impact on concrete. If you notice spalling concrete on exterior and interior walls, this is a cause to get in contact with a specialist to inspect the damage.


2- Cracks in walls


Cracks in walls

Cracks in walls and slabs if not treated can lead to significant problems further down the line. All the methods of corrosion in concrete require the presence of water. A crack allows direct access for water into the concrete and potentially even to the steel reinforcement. This would significantly increase the speed at which the concrete would deteriorate, reducing the design life of the structure.


3- Leaking Basements


Leaking Basement

Any sign of moisture or damp in a basement will need to be addressed as water is not concrete’s friend when it comes to longevity and strength. If water is breaching the exterior walls, there could be cracks or damage that aren’t visible where water is getting into the property. Damp floors in a basement or ground floor especially suggests that there are issues with the waterproofing and the concrete structure will need repairing and potentially coating to provide a habitable basement environment.


What to do if you have structural damage at your property?


The longer structural damage is left, it can spread and become a much more significant issue. Patching up cracks in the wall and sealing them over doesn’t always address the cause of the damage. The best thing to do if you have noticed signs of structural damage is to arrange for a structural survey with an engineer who covers a more holistic survey. These inspections go into great depth, assessing the property’s foundations as well as the building’s walls, supports, ceilings and rooflines. A structural engineer will give a holistic assessment and a general review. However, a concrete specific inspection will go into greater detail about the level of damage in the property’s concrete, what measure of repair work is needed and whether or not the concrete will need to be replaced or the structure receiving extra support.

Arranging for a structural survey is always recommended when selling and buying a property. You can search for a registered structural engineer to carry out a structural survey here.


Can you fix damaged concrete yourself?


The tools and materials needed to seal up cracks and joints in concrete structures are readily available at good building merchants around the country. However, DIY concrete repairs aren’t always as straight-forward as injecting an epoxy resin into a crack. Since it’s not an exact science, you would have a far better chance of achieving success in the hands of an experienced professional. On top of this most concrete repairs will come with a warranty of a minimum of 10 years to provide the client with peace of mind.


Arrange a site visit with Concrete Remedial Systems


If failing and damaged concrete is a major issue at your property or premises, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We have over 30 years’ experience in repairing, protecting and inspecting concrete structures. We assess and quote concrete repairs and restorations on an individual basis. Our friendly and experienced team are on hand to answer any questions you have and advise how best to resolve your concrete issues.

Simply give us a call on 01293 447881 or drop us a line using our contact form.

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