Concrete cancer, also known as concrete shedding, is a serious problem that can affect the structural integrity of a building if left undiagnosed and untreated. It occurs when reinforcing steel inside concrete corrodes due to water and salt air absorption, causing cracks in the concrete and exposing the steel to further corrosion. Fortunately, there are several ways to identify and treat concrete cancer before it becomes a major issue. The first step in treating concrete cancer is to identify the cause.
Common causes include waterproofing membrane failure, gaps around the membrane, and carbonation of concrete and low concrete coverage. If you can see rust spots, see that the problem you've discovered seems larger than you initially thought, or you can see the steel itself, it will be a sign that the concrete has chipped and it's time for you to hire a professional to identify the cause and get to the task of rectifying the problem as soon as possible. Once the cause has been identified, there are several ways to treat concrete cancer. If the damage is moderate, you may be able to remove damaged concrete, clean and replace oxidized and exposed steel, and fill in cracks.
If the damage is more severe, a polymer-modified repair system may be necessary. This method starts by removing the concrete around the affected area and cleaning up the rusted steel. Then, a steel primer is applied and a polymer-modified material is placed on top. An anti-carbonation sealant is usually also placed over the entire surface of the concrete to reinforce its strength.
In addition to repairing damaged areas, it's important to take steps to prevent further damage. This may include applying protective coatings to make reinforcing bar resistant to corrosion or using an anti-carbonation coating or other specialized coating to strengthen and preserve the concrete. For near-ocean properties, site-specific electrochemical treatment may be necessary. 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. Concrete cancer is a serious problem that requires timely and professional identification and treatment in order to prevent further damage.
If you can see rust spots, see that the problem you've discovered seems larger than you initially thought, or you can see the steel itself, it will be a sign that it's time for you to hire a professional to identify the cause and get to work on rectifying the problem as soon as possible.