Concrete cancer, also known as concrete chipping, is a serious problem that can affect the structural integrity of a building. It occurs when steel reinforcement inside a concrete slab begins to rust, causing it to expand and displace the surrounding concrete, leading to cracking and crumbling. Common signs of concrete cancer include cracking, crumbling, or flaking of concrete, rust spots or bubbles on concrete or cement plaster, and leaks in the ceiling and walls. If you suspect that your building may have concrete cancer, there are some telltale signs to look out for.
One of the first indicators is the presence of ferrous stains on the concrete surface. If the steel rusts inside the concrete, rusty water can purge the steel to the surface, leaving brown spots on the surface. If corrosion has advanced to the point where the steel is expanding, it will usually begin to cause the concrete to crack or break. In addition to visible cracking, other signs of concrete cancer include internal wall leaks, expanding walls, concrete bubbling, and rust spots.
If you're buying a property, it's important to have a professional inspection done to determine if there is any evidence of concrete cancer. Fortunately, there are ways to treat and repair concrete cancer. Polymer-modified cement mortar has been widely used as a repair mortar due to its high strength, good durability and good bonding properties to old concrete constructions. High-quality waterproofing membranes such as Wolfin or Cosmofin can also be used to seal new horizontal concrete surfaces.
If chloride pollution is the problem in buildings near the ocean, you may need specialized repair work to treat concrete cancer. Effective Building & Consultancy has more than 20 years of experience repairing Sydney houses and buildings against concrete chipping or concrete cancer. Common causes of concrete cancer include saltwater chlorides, poor waterproofing, construction defects, and concrete that is left unmaintained for an extended period of time. Too much or too little wate
r), or working too much on the concrete when it is laid can also contribute to the problem. It's important to take steps to prevent concrete cancer from occurring in the first place.
Steps must be taken to properly waterproof an area before fresh concrete can be laid, especially in areas with high rainfall like Brisbane. Consider high-quality options such as Wolfin or Cosmofin waterproofing membranes to seal new horizontal concrete surfaces. Unfortunately, it can take many years before the particular cancer becomes truly obvious and, by then, the damage can be extensive. If you suspect that your building may have concrete cancer, it's important to have a professional inspection done as soon as possible in order to determine if there is any evidence of this type of damage.