Water: Concrete’s Best Friend and Worst Enemy

Your area has been experiencing a lot of rain lately, and it could be taking a toll on your concrete. Concrete and water have an interesting relationship; concrete needs water to be installed, but water can also cause significant damage to concrete. So, what do you do after water damages your concrete? How do you prevent further damage? Read on to find out more about the relationship between concrete and water and how we can help you repair the H2O induced concrete damage.

Poured Concrete Wouldn’t Exist Without Water

Concrete is made up of a combination of ingredients, all of which have a variety of functions and mainly depend on the mixing process. Most properties of concrete include coarse aggregates, fine aggregates (sand), and water while other ingredients of concrete can also include admixtures, pigments, fibers, polymers, and reinforcement. All of the ingredients used in concrete fulfill individual tasks and contribute to the modification and hardening process of concrete.

Often times, creating concrete can appear to be a simple task, but, in reality, it is not and requires paying careful attention to the scientific formula and proportions of the mixture.

How Does Water Negatively Effect Concrete?

A common mistake that is made in the process of mixing concrete is adding too much water to the already wet mixture. While water makes the concrete easier to mold during the installation process, water also makes the concrete weaker, more permeable, and less durable after it hardens, effectively compromising its solidity. As the water is absorbed, surface erosion occurs, and the concrete eventually softens, cracks, shifts, and crumbles. Depending on the location of where the concrete was laid, the concrete could also become susceptible to corrosion, chloride, sulfate, alkali-aggregate reaction (AAR), as well as freeze or thaw.

What Causes the Damage?

Whether it is sidewalks, ramps, parking lots, or garages, concrete has proven itself as an element that can perform reliably for years. However, while water is used to make concrete, it has also proven to be the main cause of concrete damage and water damage, whether it be from heavy rain or seasonal snowfall, can eventually create a larger problem that is much more costly if not addressed. As a property manager, business owner, or individual homeowner, dealing with unexpected property repairs can be a hassle and one more issue on your plate, but by developing inspection guidelines focused on the common causes of concrete damage and combining them with effective repair procedures, you can extend the lifespan and performance of your property’s concrete while also minimizing potential hazards.

What Can be Done to Repair Water Damaged Concrete?

So, what happens if you start to notice your concrete is damaged?

Hire a Contractor

Water expands by nine percent when it freezes, and this can cause spalling and cracking in concrete walkways, floors, walls, and roofs. A cracked walkway, parking-lot surface, or garage floor can cause instability. Performing thorough inspections before cold weather arrives can detect small problems that can be repaired quickly and prevent further water damage. Hiring a reliable and efficient contractor for bigger repairs can help make certain that you are employing the best resources available to handle these repairs.

A concrete engineer uses non-destructive evaluation such as ground-penetrating radar, infrared thermography, and impact-echo technology, to discover problems in your concrete. Trying to repair concrete yourself can actually cause more damage in the long run. Concrete can be finicky and is notoriously hard to work with. If you want the job done right the first time we suggest you bring in a professional. Experienced pros know the challenges that come with concrete repairs and are proactive to address these challenges before they occur.

Establish funds dedicated to fixing unexpected repairs

If you are a property manager, you probably already have this step under control as it is your duty to fix any property repair. But, in the case of a damaged sidewalk, you can’t exactly leave that damaged for too long. Setting up a reserve account dedicated to emergency repairs is a sure way to make sure you have enough money to pay for any repairs, no matter how costly. This will also ensure that you can get repairs taken care of as quickly as possible.

If you are in a residential home, you should have a fund set up for home repairs and a portion of that savings can go towards concrete maintenance and repair should any problems arise.

How to Prevent Concrete From Becoming Water Damaged

Perform regularly scheduled, preventative maintenance

Preventive maintenance is the best way to minimize unexpected repairs on your property. While planning scheduled maintenance may cost money up front, it will save even more and reduce the total cost of a bigger repair in the future. For concrete work, patching a depression or flaked area can help improve the concrete’s bond and keep it in place. Another method for fixing major repairs is using a chemical bonder to increase the concrete’s strength.

Hire a Reputable Concrete Company in the First Place

The truth is, some companies show up, pour your concrete, smooth it out a little and leave. You probably hired them because they gave you a great deal, but you will lose all of that money save on initial installation on future repairs. A low-quality concrete job will be way more susceptible to water damage and cracking so to prevent a ton of future repairs; we suggest choosing a company that performs high-quality work and doesn’t cut corners when performing your concrete installation.

K&E Flatwork is Here to Help

If you start to notice your concrete displaying signs of water damage, hiring experienced concrete repair technicians can help free up time in your schedule to handle more pressing issues. By staying prepared and performing regularly scheduled maintenance to your concrete can help keep your property in great shape.

Contact us to get a free estimate for your concrete project.