How To Fix Concrete Cracks
First off, what are cracks in concrete?
You may often see disintegration or gaps in your garages, slabs, and floors of concrete buildings. These gaps, called cracks in concrete, are often a sign of distress.
Sometimes the crack in concrete is inevitable and doesn’t mean something is wrong. Concrete provides mechanical strength and rigidity to a structure. The acceptable limit of a crack is 1/6 to ¼-inch-wide crack.
How do they occur?
These can happen in both fresh and plastic concrete due to some of the following reasons:
Why should the cracks be fixed?
The cracks may lead to loss of structural integrity and reduction in the durability of the concrete structure. The life of the structure is shortened. It also looks unsightly and destroys the quality and beauty of the structure.
Types of cracks
The first step in fixing a crack is to diagnose its type. Analyzing the type of crack that has occurred helps us to know the best way to repair them. Depending upon the type of crack, a suitable method can be employed to repair them.
Plastic shrinkage cracks
As the water in the concrete begins to cure and lose water, the slab begins to shrink. This causes development of stress, that gradually becomes too great for the slab to withstand, and hence the slab cracks to relieve the tension.
Due to the increase in temperature in hotter climates, the concrete expands causing great stress on the slab, resulting in a crack.
Caused by heaving
Ground movements due to freeze or thaw cycles is the reason for such cracks. If the slab is constrained of movement, then it cracks.
Caused by setting
Due to the setting of a concrete slab to fill the void below it, you can find a crack.
Overloading of the slab
Placing excess weights on the slab beyond the load limits of the concrete often leads to cracking of the slab.
Crazing cracks due to premature drying
When the top of the concrete slab loses moisture too quickly, it can cause it to break down.
How To Fix Concrete Cracks - Some Methods
The next step is to adopt a suitable method to fix the concrete crack. Depending on the type of crack, a suitable method of repair is chosen from the following:
You can use this method for very narrow cracks as much as 0.05mm. You can carry this out by establishing inlet and outlet ports along the cracks and sealing the exposed surfaces. You should inject the epoxy under high pressure.
Routing and sealing
You can employ this method by expanding the cracks along its exposure and then filling and sealing it with a suitable joint sealant. You can use it for remedial repair conditions.
Crack repair by Stitching
It involves drilling holes on both sides of the crack and then grouting. You can use this method to reestablish tensile strength across the crack.
Additional reinforcement for crack repair
This is done by establishing reinforcement bars and holding them in place with epoxy resins.
Drilling and plugging method
Drill through the length of the crack and grout it to form a key, ideal when repairing vertical cracks in retaining walls.
Gravity filling method
After blasting the concrete surface to clean, you can use low viscosity monomers to fill the cracks by gravity. Some of the monomers that you can use are polyurethane and high molecular weight methacrylate.
Grouting method of crack repair
Portland cement ground is used to fill wide cracks. Though this cannot bond the crack, it is effective in preventing water leakage.
Overlay and surface treatments of cracks
Fine surface cracks that cannot move further can be treated by this method. You can do this by sealing the surface cracks by low solid and low viscosity resin-based systems.
Here is a Do-It-Yourself procedure to fix simple cracks concrete you can find at your garages and slabs.
You would require the following tools to carry out the procedure:
Also, you would require the following materials:
Here is the procedure as you should follow:
Cracking of concrete is a natural phenomenon and hence inevitable. But you can certainly take measures to increase the lifespan of healthy concrete and reduce the cracking. Some of the points that you should keep in mind while building a concrete structure are:
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