Concrete Repair and Structural Deterioration

When a major structural repair is required, a professional engineer experienced in concrete construction should be obtained to design the repair.

Concrete Repair

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Most repair materials used today are polymer-modified concrete. These products have improved early-age and long-term performance compared to conventional brittle concrete materials.

Concrete cracks are inevitable and can be quite a bother. Some cracks may be more serious than others, but all of them will diminish the strength of a structure and leave it open to further damage. It is important to recognize these problems and take steps to correct them at the earliest opportunity.

The most common concrete repair is to fill these cracks with a cement-based patching compound, usually mixed with water. It is essential that the crack is completely clean of any dirt, debris, or loose material before this process begins.

If the crack is on a surface that is subject to movement, it may be necessary to saw cut the sides of the crack and re-pour the concrete, or at least use a flexible sealant to prevent future cracking and movement. This is especially true for large fresh cracks on a new concrete pour.

Smaller cracks can often be repaired by using a concrete patching compound that is mixed with water and troweled into the crack. It is then brushed and textured to blend with the surrounding concrete.

It is important to note that cracks are caused by a wide variety of issues and should be analyzed and assessed before making any repairs. It is easy to see a cracking structure and to recognize that it is a problem, but determining the cause of the cracking (such as improper design, poor construction techniques, stripping/storage, drying shrinkage) requires a thorough inspection and analysis.

It is also important to keep in mind that filling a crack with any kind of repair material is only a temporary solution. If the cracks are causing movement, then more permanent solutions such as resurfacing or reinforcing the existing concrete must be considered.


Water damage to concrete can be quite significant, causing not only surface-level cracks but also structural issues and mold growth. It can be very difficult to identify these problems until they have gotten out of control. As such, it is important to pay attention to any changes in your property, particularly when the cause is something as common and seemingly insignificant as a leaky water line.

There are a few different ways to check for a leak in concrete. One is to simply observe the surface for any signs of dampness. If you spot any cracks or discoloration that appear wet, this is a good indication that there is water ingress and it should be repaired. Another way to detect a leak is to see if you have an increase in your water bill. Even a small change in your bill can indicate that there is water leaking through the concrete.

You can also look for any areas that feel unusually warm to the touch. This could indicate a hot water leak from a ruptured pipe in the slab. Another thing to keep an eye out for is any signs of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments and if they are starting to grow, it is likely due to a leak somewhere.

If you suspect that there is a leak under your concrete, there are professional services available to help. Plumbers have access to a variety of tools that allow them to locate the source of a leak under concrete and shut off the water supply so that the line can be repaired or replaced. They may also be able to offer remediation of any mold that has grown as a result of the leak.

One option for repairing a leak in concrete is to use a paste that is applied directly to the leaking area. This can be a simple solution for a single leak that is easy to access. However, it isn’t a long-term solution as the paste doesn’t provide an impermeable barrier to water. A better solution is to use a hydraulic cement such as Kryton’s Krystol Plug. This cement uses crystalline technology to react when it meets water and fills any voids in the concrete. This will prevent further water ingress and stop the cracks from getting worse.

Structural Deterioration

Concrete structures are designed to provide a specific load-bearing capacity. However, as the structure ages the ability to support these loads can degrade. Structural deterioration is usually characterized by cracking and the loss of strength. It may be difficult to determine the severity of the damage. However, floor or wall movement, significant settlement, joint displacement and extensive undermining are indicators of major structural problems. These issues should be inspected by a professional engineer to determine the extent of the problem and appropriate repairs.

The repair of a concrete structure must consider both the deteriorated sections and the overall structural condition. It is also important to understand what caused the deterioration. Failure to rectify the cause can lead to future deterioration and costly repairs.

A good inspection starts with a visual examination of the structure. This will include the location of the cracks and the depth of the deterioration. It is also important to identify the type of cracking, whether it is simple or complex. This information can help determine the cause of the deterioration and help to prevent it in the future.

In some cases the best solution to a concrete deterioration problem is the replacement of the defective concrete. This can be achieved with conventional concrete placement methods. However, the new concrete must be well bonded to the existing concrete. To achieve this a bond coat of equal parts of sand and cement must be applied prior to concrete placement. In addition, the new concrete should be placed in a manner that will not interfere with the existing reinforcing steel.

It is important to note that the concrete must be thoroughly cured after it is replaced. A good cure will ensure that the new concrete will have a high strength and long life. The use of chemical curing agents can accelerate the cure of new concrete. However, the use of such chemicals can also have a negative impact on the durability of the repaired concrete.

Increased repair activity due to durability failures causes escalating environmental damage through natural resource depletion, pollution, noise and user inconvenience. It is essential that engineers design repair systems that meet specified performance levels while reducing these impacts.

Repair Options

The type of concrete repair method used depends on the cause and severity of cracks. The choice of a repair procedure also depends on whether the cracking indicates a structural problem that raises concerns about the load-carrying capacity or safety of the structure. If not, cracks may be related to intrinsic volume changes of the concrete such as drying shrinkage or thermal expansion and contraction and can be considered minor in nature.

Some cracks are easy to fix using a filler or a repair epoxy. This method involves routing the crack to enlarge the opening and then injecting the repair material into the crack. This is a quick and inexpensive method of repair. However, the method is not very effective at preventing future problems because it doesn’t address the root cause of the cracking.

If the cracking is caused by freeze-thaw damage, strain from slab settling or trauma from heavy equipment and vehicles, the best option is to replace the damaged section of concrete. A skilled contractor can assess the problem, determine if the replacement is major or minor and recommend the best replacement method.

When a new replacement is required, a qualified engineer should be consulted to ensure that the design meets the structural requirements of the building or slab. It is important to use a high quality replacement material and to correctly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement.

Typical concrete repair materials include dry mix cement, hydraulic cements and polymers. These products can be used alone or in combination. The selection of the right product is based on the desired performance, availability, price and suitability for use in the particular location of the repair. Some repair materials can achieve a very high early strength and this is often an attractive feature, but it must be remembered that such high strengths come at the expense of long-term service life and durability.

Another important consideration is surface preparation of the existing concrete to be repaired. It should be thoroughly cleaned and free of contamination. If water seepage is a problem, drainage systems are required and a waterproofing barrier must be installed to prevent interference with the concrete repair work. Concrete surfaces that will be subject to vehicular traffic should be treated with a stain-fighting agent such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) before application of any concrete repair.