Concrete is a versatile, durable material that works well in many commercial construction projects. You can count on concrete to last for decades and to require little maintenance over the years. Despite this, there could be some issues with your concrete that you might run into. Knowing when your concrete should be repaired or replaced can help you make better decisions for the long term.
When to Repair Your Concrete
There can be several circumstances that may cause you to need to repair your concrete. One of the most common problems with concrete is concrete spalling. This happens when water migrates beneath the surface of the concrete and freezes during the winter. Since water expands when it freezes, it can end up breaking up the top of the concrete, resulting in a spotty, uneven surface.
When this happens, it is a relatively easy fix, and there is certainly no need to replace your concrete at this point. To resurface the concrete, break up the surface with an acid wash or grinder and apply a polymer-modified overlay to create the new surface.
Another fairly common occurrence with concrete is cracking. Concrete tends to slightly change in density with changing temperatures, which can cause cracks to form. Similar to spalling, fixing cracks is a relatively easy fix, depending on the size and severity. Unless your concrete placement was very poorly done, any instances of cracking will likely be few and far in between. Any cracks smaller than a quarter of an inch in width can typically be repaired by pouring liquid crack filler.
When to Replace Concrete
Sometimes concrete gets installed improperly, leaving it susceptible to wear and tear that it should normally be able to withstand. This can lead to concrete breaking up over time as water migrates beneath the surface, allowing the freeze-thaw cycle takes its toll on the concrete slab. Without proper placement or reinforcement, concrete can also be vulnerable to damage as it is subject to hard impacts or heavy weight over time.
When cracks extend to extreme lengths and reach widths of more than a quarter of an inch, a simple repair is insufficient. Damage from freezing or general wear can also cause concrete to simply appear broken up rather than a solid piece like it should be. Concrete that is decades old can get to this point, so if you know your concrete is old and it is filled with cracks and missing chunks, replacement is your best bet. Simply repairing the concrete would lead to a weaker structure, defeating the purpose of using concrete in the first place.
How to Avoid Needing Replacement or Repairs
Avoiding excess maintenance or concrete replacement starts with ordering the right concrete. Know what elements and stresses your concrete will need to handle and order a custom ready-mix from Knight’s Redi-Mix division.
You should also reinforce your concrete with welded wire or with fiber reinforcements to help prevent cracking and to prevent wear over time. Finishing off your concrete with a seal to prevent water from migrating underneath the surface will also work wonders for your concrete and can help you get a long life out of your commercial concrete, with little need for maintenance.