Cracks are one of the biggest problems for those who use concrete slabs and products. While cracks aren’t always an indication of structural insecurity, they can pose some serious safety problems.
It’s important to understand why concrete cracks so that you can easily prevent it and know how to fix them if you need to.
Why Concrete Cracks
There are many different reasons why concrete could develop cracks. Obvious examples would be ground movement like earthquakes or too much weight and pressure being put on the concrete.
One of the main issues can be caused at the initial pouring. Concrete naturally shrinks as it hardens, so concrete is poured on soil or around steel reinforcements to prevent that. Cracks can form from the combating pressure of the naturally shrinking concrete and its reinforcements.
Plastic Shrinkage Cracking (PSC) is another reason for cracking concrete. PSC occurs when the top surface layer dries out before the lower portions, resulting in concrete that is poorly set and unstable. This could be due to high temperatures, low humidity, or extremely windy conditions.
Job site mixing can also cause some issues. When you add the water at the site where you’re pouring the final concrete mix, you create weaker concrete and increase the likelihood of cracks.
How to Avoid Cracks in Concrete
Having a professionally mixed and cured concrete is essential to avoiding cracks for as long as possible. If you start out with a strong base of properly mixed concrete, there’s less room for error and less of a chance for cracking to develop.
Ready Mix Concrete Producer mixes the concrete at the plant and transports it to each job site needed. This produces a stronger final product that was measured and mixed carefully in a controlled environment.
Read more about Knight’s Redi-Mix Company that mixes and delivers industry strength concrete.
Control joints can also be used to prevent cracks. Also known as expansion joints, these absorb the pressure from the expansion and contraction that naturally takes place as concrete heats and cools. By controlling that pressure, expansion joints limit the random cracking that can take place.
What to Do If Your Concrete Cracks
Depending on where your concrete is when it cracks, there are multiple ways to repair it. If cracks appear in concrete flooring, it’s usually the product of water damage. After fixing the source of the damage, remove the flooring and seal the concrete if it’s salvageable. You’ll then be able to install new flooring over if needed.
For outdoor concrete, such as patios or other industrial buildings, epoxy sealing can help protect against some cracking. Epoxy sealers create a strong protective finish on the surface that can reduce the amount of abrasions and damage.
If proper installation techniques weren’t applied, you need to talk to your contractor for a warranty and consider a re-pour of your concrete.
Knight’s Companies is a concrete company in Columbia, SC dedicated to supplying top quality concrete for your commercial construction projects. If you’ve had a problem with your concrete in the past and need a trusted name in the business to pour new concrete, contact Knight’s Companies today.