If you’ve ever noticed that sometimes in a building, the concrete surfaces, i.e. the walls, begin to either peel off, pop out or become loose into flakes, then you have definitely witnessed concrete spalling. Concrete spalling repair is usually needed whenever there is excess water entering the concrete. Spalling takes place in concrete, because of excessive moisture. For example, when rain falls excessively on a building and gets absorbed into the concrete, there’s a higher chance that the building will begin to crack and peel off from the inside. This could continue until it gets noticeable externally, which could eventually result in the entire damage of the structure.
Places with high moisture levels, flood plains or persistent rainfall pose serious threats to the structure present in those areas. Water is uncontrollable and its movement into the concrete of buildings over time would definitely lead to the deterioration of the buildings.
However, regular water is not the only cause of concrete spalling. Moisture with high salt content, also, has the possibility of causing spalling. Chloride, which is a notable chemical in salt, is known to damage the strength of the steel used in supporting concrete. It also causes it to rust, which could lead to extreme damages. The more steel gets exposed to air and moisture, the more corroding takes place at a terrifyingly high rate. Also, a major factor that you should be concerned about is how excessive moisture affects the strength of steel. Thus, without proper concrete spalling repair, the weight of concrete on the steel becomes too much, because its strength has been compromised.
Concrete spalling is a problem that is most common in older buildings as a result of a lack of maintenance. Individuals or corporate bodies with buildings that have spanned over decades need to be exposed to spalling, what exactly it is, its dangers and how to identify and treat it in order to keep the building’s strength unaffected.
There are notable signs to watch out for that indicates spalling;
Trenched or cracked surfaces
Surfaces on concrete walls or buildings that are cracked or trenched are one proof your building might experience spalling soon. These cracks and trenches are caused by the moisture effect or the stress of the steel used to support the concrete as it expands. We have different kinds of cracks; it could be structured or unstructured cracks. When soil moisture or temperature changes, this could result in cracks in the walls. These cracks if not properly addressed and repaired, they could be signs leading to spalling.
Discoloration of walls
This discoloration is caused when particles present in air accumulates on the walls. It causes a non-uniformity in the color of the concrete walls. When moisture invades the concrete composition of a building and changes it, discoloration is possible. They are like watermarks on concrete walls caused by excess moisture. When discoloration is noticed in walls, it shouldn’t be taken for granted and should be fixed as quickly as possible. Condensation could also cause discoloration of concrete walls when moist air gets in contact with a surface that’s cold, discoloration could occur.
Stratified layers on concrete
Stratified layers are horizontal lines that could be found on concrete sometimes. It is also caused as a result of moisture content in the concrete composition. Strata occur in wet concrete compared to concrete that’s dried or of medium moisture. When concrete is too wet, it has tendencies of separating into different horizontal layers with the materials of low weight moving upwards and the one of more weight moving downwards. Stratified lates have the tendency of affecting the lasting strength of the concrete. The presence of layers on concrete isn’t always something to wave off as it could be an indication of spalling on the concrete.
Effects of spalling on concrete
It represents a potential hazard
The spalled concrete could fall and hit a person. It could lead to loss of lives, severe injuries or rupture of vital organs of the human involved. Concrete that is spalled poses a potential threat to the health and wealth of people and it is not safe or advisable to reside long in a building that has concrete spalled without finding possible remedies to it.
Spalling reduces the strength of the concrete and makes it too weak to carry as much load as it would with its original strength. Corrosion of the steel that supports the concrete would make the weight of the concrete too much for the steel, this would lead to weakness of the concrete.
The building becomes unattractive
When a structure deteriorates and the concrete composition is left to diminish, the building would become less attractive and people would stay away. Its value would also reduce because people would consider the risk involved and wouldn’t want to be seen around it let alone inside.
How to fix concrete spalling
Concrete spalling repair is essential to improve your building and further increase its life span. After figuring out the possible reasons spalling occurred in your building, fixing it is the next thing to focus on
Resurfacing the concrete
In 9 cases of 10, resurfacing the concrete properly fixes the problem of spalling. That is like creating a stronger overlay of concrete on the spalled one. It would strengthen the building structure and cover up cracks or previous signs of spalling.
A new flooring system
Sometimes, a new flooring system might be the permanent solution to spalling for a long time i.e replacement of the existing concrete for a new one. This is possible when the part of the concrete that is spalled in a building is not so much that it would demand to pull down the whole building. In some cases, pulling down the whole building to restructure all over is essential.
Addressing the signs of spalling
One of the best ways to fix concrete spalling is by addressing it when the possible signs of spalling are still noticeable. Signs like cracks in the walls or discoloration can be fixed before it eventually becomes something serious that would require a new flooring system.
Hence, you should definitely call on a professional to ensure your concrete spalling repair is done properly.