What is Concrete Cancer and How to Prevent it

Concrete cancer, also known as concrete deterioration, is a serious issue that can affect the structural integrity of buildings and other structures. It occurs when steel reinforcement within a concrete slab begins to rust due to exposure to air and water. As the steel oxidizes, it expands and displaces the surrounding concrete, causing it to become brittle and crack. This process can be accelerated by the acid created during the chipping process.

Once concrete cancer has been identified, it is important to take preventive steps to prevent it from happening again. Waterproofing concrete is essential to prevent water from corroding steel beams. Consider high-quality waterproofing options, such as Wolfin or Cosmofin waterproofing membranes to seal new horizontal concrete surfaces. This minimizes the risk of future water damage and prevents harsh chemicals that contaminate the concrete from entering through the pores.

In addition, reinforcing concrete buildings with steel bars and mesh can help give a structure strength, but this combination of materials can also lead to the development of cancer in concrete, especially in buildings with inadequate waterproofing or construction defects. Poor waterproofing or lack of waterproofing can undo all repair work in a building. To identify concrete cancer, look for visible signs such as crumbling concrete, internal wall leaks, expanding walls, bubbling concrete, and rust spots. If you suspect that your building or other structure may have concrete cancer, it is important to seek the professional opinion of a reputable company like Freyssinet.

Once corrosion has been identified, steps must be taken to properly waterproof the area before fresh concrete can be laid. This is especially important in areas with high rainfall like Brisbane. The only sure way to distinguish between concrete cancer and something less of a concern is to organize a professional inspection. For situations where concrete carbonation and low concrete coverage are the problem, the engineer might recommend the use of a polymer-modified repair system.

This solution consists of removing the concrete around the reinforcing bars and cleaning the steel, before applying both the steel primer and a polymer-modified material. To prevent future issues with concrete cancer, it is important to take preventive steps such as waterproofing new horizontal surfaces with high-quality materials like Wolfin or Cosmofin membranes. Plastering the concrete is not enough to hide the oxidized steel, as the oxidation process will continue underneath, causing further displacement of the concrete and possibly requiring replacement of the reinforcing steel entirely.

Sophia Harris
Sophia Harris

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