Concrete Repair & Maintenance
Concrete repair is needed for many different reasons including repairing cracks in the foundation, repairing deteriorated sidewalks and driveways, and reconstructing damaged pavement. While some repairs can be done by local contractors, some require specialized equipment or even specialized people who are trained in this field. It is important to first determine what type of repair is needed before contacting any contractors. Some homeowners choose to do it themselves, but there are some risks involved including the risk of damaging the concrete, risking bacteria or mold, and not knowing what you are doing. There are some simple steps to take to ensure the process is safe and effective.
Homeowners should check all around the exterior of the foundation and look for any cracks or other signs of trouble. If the problem lies within the concrete itself, then the only option is to have it reinforced. Proper concrete repair should be able to address all cracks and other issues. If the outer surface of the structure is fine, then any repairs may only be required on the inside of the structure.
Before calling a contractor, homeowners should inspect the area where the crack or other issue is located. Small cracks may be easily fixed without any additional work. Larger cracks, however, will often require concrete repairs. Some home builders choose to fill in the crack with concrete, but this method is not always as effective as sealing the crack in place with a substance such as Portland cement. Homeowners can choose to fill the crack with a mixture of water and epoxy, which cures into a solid sealer that can be sanded down and painted over after it has cured completely. Other homeowners prefer to inject additional reinforcement into the area.
There are many ways in which repairs can be made to an existing concrete surface. Most people opt for simply repairing the cracks, but this does not address the entire problem. Walls should be repaired and replaced if cracked because concrete walls are actually weaker than reinforced steel walls. The area should be cleared of obstacles, such as trees so that the repairs can be done completely. When the walls are replaced, the existing concrete should be left in place. This is because new walling cannot be installed over old concrete, and old materials will need to be replaced.
Epoxy is a popular material for concrete repairs because it is non-reactive, which means that it will not attract other pests like mold. Epoxy can also be applied in a variety of textures, including wide, regular, and narrow grains. While regular grains are used for regular cracks, wide and narrow grains are used for small cracks and other decorative details. It is important to note that epoxy will not bond with wood, which is why it is used for interior and exterior decorations. The chemicals contained in epoxy are very powerful, so it is very important that it is properly stored when not in use.
Another form of concrete repair is called crack lining, which addresses cracks in building materials that are exposed to the elements. The most common application of crack lining is to waterproof buildings and dams. A dam is constructed with a concrete structure surrounding an inner layer of polystyrene or concrete. The outer layer is usually made of tar or gravel to provide additional structural strength.
After a large natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, the federal government may require that certain concrete structures are strengthened in preparation for future emergencies. One method that is commonly used is epoxy injection. A chemical is injected into the crack, creating a hard coating that will resist moisture and prevent further corrosion. This hard surface also makes it easier to clean, which is important in a variety of settings.
In cases where the concrete surface has become cracked but is not completely unsound, another technique called flash Floodlining can be used. This technique relies on the fact that water tends to expand and contract, and if there are any stagnant water masses in an area, they will eventually break through the concrete and create a permeable membrane. Through this new permeable layer, a thin waterproof film can be applied that will seal off the entire area from further water damage. Epoxy injection and flash Floodlining are generally reserved for unsound or deeply cracked concrete because their effectiveness is limited by the amount of time that the concrete can be wet.
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