How to Solve Concrete Problems: Cracks, Discolouration, Curling, Scaling

How to Solve Concrete Problems: Cracks, Discolouration, Curling, Scaling

Concrete is a commonly used material because of its superior strength and durability. However, without the proper knowledge, tools, and care you are bound to run into an array of problems with your concrete. From simple concrete crack repair to utilising the power of concrete cutting tools and concrete scanning, here are the main problems with concrete, what causes them and how to solve them.

What are the main problems with concrete :

Cracks

There are 2 different types of concrete cracks.
Surface cracks, or hairline cracks,  are usually only a few millimetres wide and deep and either appear as a single thin crack or in a map-like pattern of cracks. A few surface cracks are common and will not lead to any major issues, unlike structural cracks. 

It is easy to identify Structural cracks because they will be wider than Surface cracks, generally, around 5mm wider. They will stretch further into the concrete or completely through the concrete weakening or damaging the structure.

What causes cracked concrete:
There are many causes of cracked concrete including improper concrete curing methods, too much water in your concrete mix, lack of concrete cutting and lack of expertise. 

How to fix cracked concrete:
Surface cracks can be fixed with a simple concrete seal or liquid filler. Structural cracks however are more challenging. They require mixing patching compounds with water and using a trowel to fill in the cracks with the grout-like mixture. Matching the filler concrete with the old concrete is difficult but made easier with a Perth professional.

Discolouration

Concrete discolouration indicates the job was not completed properly and results in blotches, stripes or dark spots appearing on the surface after all your hard work. 

What causes concrete discolouration:
Concrete discolouration occurs for a few different reasons, such as bad weather conditions and improper concrete curing but the main reason is inconsistency, with the different types of ingredients used and the ratio of your concrete mix.

How to fix concrete discolouration:
Fixing discoloured concrete involves a long cleansing process if the discolouration is mild, or an acid treatment/stain if it is more severe. 

To remove or reduce mild discolouration repeatedly flush the hardened concrete surface with hot water and scrub with a stiff brush.

Curling

 is an unfortunate side effect that occurs when the top and bottom surface of the slab differs in temperature or moisture. This causes the concrete to distort and “curl” upwards or downwards, creating an uneven surface with sections of the slab unsupported. If the total curl is not excessive, less than ¼ inch, or occurs mainly in low-traffic areas then your concrete curling is not a cause for concern. 

What causes concrete curling:
This is caused by unprofessional curing techniques, using cement mixes with high water content, and inaccurate placement of concrete joints. 

How to fix concrete curling:
If you are worried about the curling in your concrete and want to fix it, there are a few options available. Deciding which option is best for you will depend on your budget and the limitations and benefits of each method. 

A common method is concrete cutting. This entails using concrete cutting tools and cutting more control joints into the concrete slab. Other options include wetting the surface of the concrete slab, grinding the concrete slab or removing and replacing part of the concrete. 

The issue with fixing concrete curling is it can be very costly. We recommend confirming your concrete has completely stopped curling before commencing repairs so that you can avoid wasting valuable time and money.  You can do this by identifying specific curling locations on your concrete with a level and measuring the spread, if any, weekly.

Scaling

When sections of the concrete surface start to flake or chip away this is known as scaling. 

What causes concrete scaling:
The main causes of concrete scaling are improper concrete curing, resulting in a weak surface, a rushed process, water seepage and freeze-thaw. Concrete scaling can spread from a small section to the entire surface. 

How to fix concrete scaling:
Repairing concrete scaling involves patching the affected area with a colour-matching compound, have the concrete resurfaced with an overlay, or completely removing the concrete slab and starting again. You can attempt concrete removal yourself but it’s best to contact your local concrete cutting Perth expert.


Tips on how to prevent the main problems with concrete: 

  • Control Joints:

Cutting concrete slabs using concrete cutting saws are a common practise when working with concrete. Early entry concrete cutting using concrete cutting tools, creates control joints and prevents the concrete from cracking as it moves during moisture loss. 

  • Concrete scanning before concrete cutting: 

Concrete scanning is a necessary step that must be completed before any concrete cutting can commence. Concrete scanning is beneficial for locating any objects that might be hidden or buried in the concrete slab and will prevent concrete cutting mistakes from occurring, such as damage to concrete cutting tools and operators.

  • Concrete Curing: 

Concrete curing is an integral part of pouring concrete. Rushing through this month-long process, using the wrong tools, or failing to use the right concrete curing method for your specific concrete will result in having to deal with any one of the concrete problems we mentioned above.

When to contact the experts 

With the correct concrete cutting tools and concrete crack repair knowledge, such as the importance of concrete scanning, solving minor concrete problems can definitely be a DIY job. 

However, if your scaling, discolouration, curling or cracked concrete is more severe we recommend hiring a concrete cutting Perth expert who specialises in concrete crack repair and other main concrete problems. 

Diamond cut concrete are trusted professionals with years of experience providing high-quality and efficient concrete solutions in Perth. Contact us today for cutting-edge solutions.

 

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