Concrete cancer, also known as alkali-silica reaction (ASR), is a serious problem that can damage or destroy structures made of concrete. It occurs when steel reinforcement within a concrete slab begins to rust, causing the steel to expand and displace the surrounding concrete, making it brittle and prone to cracking. This blog explains what concrete cancer is, its causes and signs, examples of when it has caused damage, and how to prevent it. Concrete is porous, absorbing the acid created during the chipping process, which accelerates corrosion and exposes the internal steel structure to air and water.
This causes a weak acid to form, which corrodes the metal and begins to expand, crack, or leak. A structural engineer can accurately diagnose concrete cancer, but you may be able to determine if your building has been affected by looking for some telltale signs. These include cracks in the concrete, discoloration of the surface, or a powdery substance on the surface. Waterproofing is one of the remedies to stop concrete shedding and Projex Group supplies high-end PVC sheet membranes to achieve this.
If it's a case of chloride contamination in a building near the ocean, you may need specialized repair work to treat concrete cancer. This option removes the concrete around the rebar and cleans the steel, before applying both the steel primer and a polymer-modified material. Flat concrete roofs are an example of a building structure that is particularly vulnerable to leaks and water-driven concrete cancer if not properly waterproofed. You can learn how to repair concrete cancer yourself, but it is recommended that you entrust the work to an experienced professional.
Another preventive treatment for concrete cancer is to repair minor cracks and other damage to the concrete as soon as you notice them. You should also have the concrete sealed regularly to protect it against water damage and wear. Sometimes experts may recommend the use of additional reinforcing steel anodes before applying new concrete, or the steel could be replaced in severe cases. If you need help repairing, removing, or installing new concrete, compare quotes for concrete mixers near you. You can be assured of quality workmanship and a specialized solution that covers structural remediation of concrete, steel or wood.