Concrete cancer is a grave building problem that causes the weakening of concrete structures. Although properties with concrete cancer can be repaired, the process can be costly if the damage is extensive. The best alternative, therefore, is to know what causes the problem so that you can steer clear of it. Below, discover the 4 main factors that can bring about concrete cancer to your building. Using poorly treated steel during construction Steel is primarily used in construction rebar due to its strength and durability. However, when structural steel is not well treated before installation, its levels of durability and strength are insufficient. This makes the rebar highly susceptible to moisture damage. Once the rebar gets into contact with moisture, it tends to rust quickly. Upon rusting, the rebar expands and applies pressure on the concrete. These expansion forces then cause cracking and formation concrete spalling, actions that further accelerate the rusting process. Poor waterproofing of concrete during construction Waterproofing is vital in concrete structures. Proper waterproofing can be attained through use of waterproofing membranes, use of waterproofing cement, and application of silicone during remedial repairs. When waterproofing is not carried out sufficiently, or when your concrete structure is situated in an area where moisture penetration is an issue, concrete cancer can develop due to corrosion of the metal reinforcement, even where the rebar metal has been treated before installation. Steel reinforcement being too close to the edges In some cases, concrete cancer arises due to the incorrect placement of the internal metal rebar, or more specifically, when the rebar is situated too close to the concrete edges. When this happens, chances of moisture seeping into the concrete and reaching the rebar are very high. With every incident of rain, snow or cleaning, moisture gets to the rebar and corrosion develops. Spalling in such scenarios also occurs at higher rate because concrete on the outer edges spalls easier. High exposure to humidity and salt Properties located on beachfronts are at a more increased risk of getting concrete cancer compared to those located away from the beaches. This is because the coastline atmosphere has high levels of humidity and salt. While the former attribute causes rusting in concrete rebar, salt causes chemical reactions with cement, causing a drop in concrete alkalinity. This reduces the ability of the concrete to halt rusting and thus accelerates concrete cancer. If you’re building or renovating, ask your builder to check into the above issues to avoid falling victim to the plague that is concrete...Read More »
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