Concrete Cancer: How Common is it and How to Prevent it

Concrete cancer, also known as concrete corrosion, is one of the most destructive problems that can affect a building. Common signs of this issue include cracking, crumbling, or flaking of concrete, rust spots or bubbles on concrete or cement plaster, and leaks in the ceiling and walls. According to Ron Caruana, founder and project manager, there are six main causes of concrete cancer: poor waterproofing, formation of saltwater chlorides in buildings near the sea, construction defects, weather, poor quality concrete and insufficient concrete cover, and ground movement under construction that causes cracks. Structures exposed to any or all of these factors are at a higher risk of developing cancer. Concrete cancer is generally more prevalent in buildings that are more than 10 years old.

However, younger buildings are not immune to this issue. If your building is more than 10 years old, you should be aware of the signs. The process of treating concrete cancer usually begins with the removal of concrete contaminated with chloride. This can be done through waterblasting or the use of electric hammers, chisels, concrete saws and other similar tools. After removing chloride, the reinforcing bar is made resistant to corrosion by applying protective coatings.

To strengthen protection against chloride contamination, a surface treatment in the form of a cathodic system is applied. If the problem is systemic, large-scale removal and replacement may be necessary. The best way to prevent concrete cancer is to waterproof the concrete. This will help protect it from carbonation and stop small cracks from spreading. Repairing and filling small cracks will also help minimize the risk of recurrence.

If you need help repairing or installing new concrete, compare quotes for concrete mixers near you. Verification of specific cancer requires experts with experience and training to identify the specific cancer and repair it. Repairing severely damaged concrete can cost thousands of dollars, so it may not be cost-effective compared to replacing it. This option removes the concrete around the rebar and cleans the steel before applying both the steel primer and a polymer-modified material. Once the underlying steel and concrete have been repaired, you will need to allow it to cure properly; at this stage, specialized coatings can be used. Concrete cancer can occur at any time, so it's important to watch for telltale signs that your building may be affected.

If chloride pollution is the problem in buildings near the ocean, you may need specialized repair work to treat concrete cancer. Regardless of whether the damage is severe or moderate, waterproofing and integral sealing after repair are important to minimize the risk of cancer recurrence in concrete.

Sophia Harris
Sophia Harris

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