Concrete cancer, also known as concrete spalling or concrete deterioration, is a serious structural problem that can cause significant damage to buildings and other structures. It is caused by corrosion of the steel reinforcement bars due to carbonation of the concrete, chloride ion entry, or poor workmanship during construction. If left untreated, it can lead to further cracking and chipping of the concrete, as well as structural degradation. Fortunately, there are ways to diagnose and treat concrete cancer.
The first step is to identify the cause of the problem. This can be done by inspecting the structure for signs of corrosion, such as rusting steel reinforcement bars or chipping and cracking of the concrete. If these signs are present, it is important to call a concrete repair service immediately to diagnose and treat the problem. Once the cause has been identified, there are several treatments that can be used to cure concrete cancer.
The most common treatment involves sawing off the perimeter of the repair area to eliminate the edges of the affected area, then chiseling away the concrete around the reinforcing steel. This is usually followed by applying protective coatings to make the reinforcing bar resistant to corrosion. In cases where carbonation of concrete does not cover steel properly, a polymer-modified repair may be used. This involves removing the concrete around the affected area and cleaning up the rusted steel, then applying a steel primer and a polymer-modified material on top.
An anti-carbonation sealant is usually also placed over the entire surface of the concrete to reinforce its strength. In cases where damage is moderate, it may be possible to remove damaged concrete, clean and replace oxidized and exposed steel, and fill in cracks. In more severe cases, additional reinforcing steel anodes may be recommended before applying new concrete, or the steel may need to be replaced entirely. Once the underlying steel and concrete have been repaired, it is important to allow it to cure properly before applying specialized coatings. To prevent further damage from occurring, it is important to maintain your building or structure with waterproofing coatings and inspect it regularly for imperfections. If you suspect that concrete cancer is developing, call a professional immediately for diagnosis and treatment.