Concrete cancer, also known as concrete corrosion, is a serious problem that can cause structural damage to buildings if left untreated. It occurs when steel reinforcement inside a concrete slab begins to rust, causing it to expand and displace the surrounding concrete. This leads to cracking, crumbling, and flaking of the concrete, as well as rust spots or bubbles on the surface. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent and treat concrete cancer.
The best way to prevent concrete cancer is to invest in high-quality waterproofing membranes such as Wolfin or Cosmofin. These membranes seal new horizontal concrete surfaces and minimize the risk of water damage. Additionally, chemical water repellents such as Resistain can be applied to the concrete surface itself for extra protection. It's also important to keep an eye on your structures for signs of standing water problems.
Common signs of concrete cancer include cracking or crumbling of concrete, rust spots seeping out of concrete, bubbles in concrete plaster, and leaks in the ceiling or internal walls. If you spot any of these signs, it's important to take action right away. In some cases, it may be possible to repair the particular cancer by removing rusted steel and welding new steel in its place. The new steel should be reinforced with additional thickness and coated with waterproofing membranes for greater protection.
If it's a case of chloride contamination in a building near the ocean, you may need specialized repair work to treat concrete cancer. Finally, builders are constantly exploring solutions that completely prevent concrete cancer, including replacing internal reinforcements with a material that is resistant to corrosion, such as bamboo. By taking preventive steps and keeping an eye out for signs of corrosion, you can help protect your building from the costly effects of concrete cancer.
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