Concrete Cancer: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Concrete cancer, also known as specific cancer, is a serious problem that can cause extensive and costly property damage. It occurs when steel reinforcement inside a concrete slab begins to rust, expand and displace the surrounding concrete, causing it to become brittle and crack. This process is compounded by exposure, corrosion and further degradation, making the condition worsen over time. Six common causes of concrete cancer are 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.

Once steel begins to rust, it expands and deforms, often breaking or blowing concrete parts off the slab. This is known as “spalling” and increases the exposure of the steel, compounding the problem. Flat concrete roofs are particularly vulnerable to leaks and water-driven concrete cancer if they are not properly waterproofed. As time goes on, you may begin to notice that your building or other structure is starting to show signs of wear and tear.

This is when it's important to seek the professional opinion of an expert qualified for the rectification of the particular cancer. When it comes to concrete repairs, be sure to seek the professional opinion of a reputable company like Freyssinet. Today, builders or building specifiers (such as engineers or architects) occasionally take additional steps to further reduce the risk of specific cancer developing in the future. Consider high-quality options, such as Wolfin or Cosmofin waterproofing membranes, to seal new horizontal concrete surfaces. 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 is especially important for concrete in exposed areas, as water entering the concrete through the cracks will cause the problem to worsen quickly. While the problem may initially seem like an aesthetic or cosmetic concern, it is possible to correct the particular cancer in some cases. It is not necessary to be a structural engineer to identify the specific cancer but it is recommended to obtain the professional opinion of an expert qualified for its rectification. Once concrete carbonation and low concrete coverage have been identified as the problem, the engineer may recommend the use of a polymer-modified repair system. When it comes to preventing concrete cancer from occurring in the first place, proper waterproofing is key. Make sure that your building or other structure is properly sealed with high-quality materials like Wolfin or Cosmofin waterproofing membranes.

Additionally, be sure to inspect your property at the first sign of concrete cancer.

Sophia Harris
Sophia Harris

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