Did you know Concrete can have cancer too?
During construction, reinforcement of concrete is made by using bars of steel. However, as time goes by, this steel is exposed to water and air. By the nature of science, this results in corrosion. The steel expands and causes the concrete surrounding to crack and become brittle. The cracks allow greater ongoing exposure to moisture for the steel and accelerates this issue further.
Like any cancer, it has its symptoms. You don’t need a type of medicine or construction related degree to spot that something isn’t right. The indication of a cancer concern can be observed through:
- Concrete crumbling or flaking
- The appearance of rust stains
- Leaks emerging from concrete
- Concrete render Bubbling
Concrete Cancer is commonly caused by:
- Using poorly treated reinforcing steel that reacts easily
- Close proximity between the end of the reinforcing material and the surface where water can easily seep through
- Close proximity between incompatible metals that causes a reaction involving water to occur
- Fractures due to bearing weight or general wear-and-tear in concrete that allow water into the slab
- Environmental factors such as concrete being near the ocean (speeding up corrosion), the natural movement of earth underground and condensation of the water on concrete is due to the cold weather
Looking ugly would hardly be considered a crime. However, concrete cancer can have potential health hazards. The cracking of concrete weakens its strength and the risk of it falling is a danger to both properties and people.
Concrete cancer should be treated immediately, as the longer the problem persist, the more complex the treatment. The damaged concrete is required to be taken away, removing any loose material. A new steel would replace the rusted one and new concrete will then be poured until the new steel is securely reinforced. Waterproof membranes can then be coated onto the new concreted for extra protection.
But you know what they say, prevention is better than cure!
Instead of spending a massive amount of money, time, resources and effort curing concrete cancer, the more cost-efficient option would be to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
Some prevention tips include:
- Waterproofing: Using effective waterproofing membranes can reduce water leakage in the long-term, regardless of the weather conditions.
- Suitable reinforcement material: Using a corrosion-resistant material for construction reinforcement, such as Aspros Spacers. These spacers are more suitable to maintain reinforcement in the suitable position or ensure given distance apart between walls before and during concreting as it has the best bond that prevents concrete cancer. This material’s unique rough sides produces an unrivalled bond rather than cold joints with placed cement that are formed from normal moulded product. This would decrease moisture penetrating the structure.
- Concrete painting: Using chloride resistance paint designed to lower the risk of corrosion through the exposure of salt water.
- Perform regular check-ups: Maintaining the concrete or buildings by sealing the concrete on a regular basis to protect against water damage and general wear and tear.