What Causes Concrete Cancer and How to Prevent It

Concrete cancer is a serious issue that can cause structural damage to buildings and other structures. 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 and brittleness, which can be exacerbated by external factors such as chloride corrosion in salt water or extreme weather. Flat roofs are particularly prone to this problem, as are structures with inadequate initial construction.

Spalling, or the breaking off of concrete pieces, is a common symptom of concrete cancer. As the steel oxidizes, its cross-sectional area decreases, weakening the slab and increasing the risk of collapse. The alkalinity of freshly poured concrete helps protect the steel from corrosion, but over time this alkalinity can be reduced by water ingress through two main processes: carbonation and inadequate concrete coverage of the steel. Polymer-modified repair is often used to address this issue.

Waterproofing is the best way to prevent concrete cancer, as it prevents water from entering the porous concrete and corroding the steel inside. When it comes to treating concrete cancer, there is no fixed cost as it depends on the size of the surface that needs to be treated and the severity of the damage. The simplest solution is to repair any damaged areas rather than replacing the entire wall. It is important to seek professional advice from a reputable company like Freyssinet when dealing with concrete repairs.

Chipped concrete not only looks terrible but can also be dangerous, as pieces can fall and hit people underneath.

Sophia Harris
Sophia Harris

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