Have you ever noticed cracking and bubbling of concrete in buildings? You spot one blemish, then you see it all. Rust stains leak out of the concrete, compromising the steel reinforcements. It grows and spreads quickly, like a disease.
In the world of building construction solutions, this is what we call Concrete Cancer.
Once concrete is affected, it needs to be treated, and fast. If you think of steel structures as bodies, you get a sense of the danger level. Damage to steel is caused by exposure to air and moisture within the structure. If left untreated, it not only looks visually unappealing, but creates the threat of untreated concrete sections falling from the structure. This causes property damage and threatens lives in and around the area.
The link between steel reinforcement and concrete.
Steel reinforcement can be damaged by insufficient concrete cover, inferior quality concrete, inadequate preparation, and active soil movement. There must be adequate cover between the steel and concrete surface, to prevent the transfer of moisture. After all, concrete is a porous material.
As for the quality of the concrete, it needs to be monitored and controlled, so salt and moisture can’t get to the steel bars.
Residential renovation Adelaide experts will tell you, environmental factors should be considered, too. For example, higher quality concrete should be used in coastal regions to reduce the likelihood of steel corrosion.
Work with a professional to ensure adequate preparation of reinforcing the steel and waterproofing the concrete. This reduces damage and minimise the acidity of the soil, which leads to concrete cracks.
The quality of the metal you choose is an important deciding factor, as it needs to be a compatible material that won’t create voids in the concrete (leading to water seepage).
Structural engineers will also be able to offer a level of understanding about safety for your Adelaide home.
During the design phase, the quality of the concrete needs to be given attention. This step is to avoid cracking when loads are imposed and premature deterioration. By investing in premium materials, you can avoid water penetration and visible damage.
If Concrete Cancer isn’t treated early, it can lead to sudden failure and major structural problems. Like every ‘illness’, the quicker it’s treated, the better. Better still, follow the philosophy of our residential structural engineers; do it right the first time.
If you’ve noticed any visual issues with your concrete, get in touch with us. Talk to our Adelaide team today on 0405 950 053 or book a free 20-minute consultation.