Getting below the surface on what’s damaging your concrete
Outside of a traumatic event like a heavy object falling on your concrete slab, the cause of the cracks, uneven settling or lifting you’re seeing likely traces back to its installation.
Surface damage to concrete is commonly linked to a poor finishing job at the time of pouring, an excess amount of water in the original mix or a weak sub-base.
This time of year in parts of the country, we sometimes point to chemicals and de-icers as culprits causing the cracks, but that’s largely an unfair accusation. It’s not the de-icer that actually causes the concrete to fail, but it can certainly expose a deficiency in the concrete mix and worsen the problem.
Salt and chemicals react with moisture to change the temperature and melt the ice. The de-icer chemicals then infuse with the water, lay on the concrete surface and are absorbed into the tiny, porous cracks in the concrete – or the larger, untreated cracks in your concrete’s surface if those exist. This reaction is commonly known as “freeze-and-thaw cycles.”
If concrete is mixed correctly, poured correctly and sealed well, it will be virtually unaffected by water and debris penetration. So as you watch it worsen from season to season, you must determine when to intervene and how best to do so.
Resurface, don’t replace
To prevent small cracks from becoming larger ones, and to create a stronger barrier against freeze-and-thaw cycle damage, consider installing a sealed, epoxy-resin overlay to the surface of your concrete. Many times this can be done in place of tearing out the slab and replacing it.
Epoxy-based systems can be 2-3 times stronger than conventional concrete, they’re able to seal the surface to prevent water and other substances from penetrating it, and they can considerably extend the life of your concrete slab.
Installing an epoxy overlay is a specialty service that Simon Surfaces can perform expertly at your facility. Visit www.simonsurfaces.com or call Rich Serignese, General Manager of Simon Surfaces, at 800.423.7714 ext. 1191 to learn more or request an estimate.