Concrete is one of the most reliable materials, but it can still be vulnerable to deterioration due to exposure to harsh weather conditions, reactions with common elements, and inadequate construction. To ensure that concrete remains in good condition, there are several measures that can be taken. Steel reinforcement is often used in concrete applications to make the structure stronger and more secure, but steel can be prone to corrosion. To prevent corrosion of steel reinforcements, make sure that there is at least 1.5 to 2 inches of concrete covering the reinforcements and use a waterproof concrete mix with a low water-cement ratio.
Other corrosion-inhibiting materials such as epoxy coating and penetrating sealants can also help protect steel. In addition, topical sealants such as Creto TopSeal can be applied to further protect concrete from deterioration. This hydrophobic, natural-looking sealant does not contain VOCs and can significantly reduce repair costs on your property. Specific types of cement, water-repellent sealants, or chemically resistant barrier coatings are also common preventive measures to protect concrete against chemical attack.
To avoid delamination of slabs that receive a trowel finish, specify an air content of no more than 3% and test fresh concrete to ensure that the maximum air content is not exceeded. For hard-to-remove stains on outdoor slabs, use a concrete and asphalt cleaner and scrub with a stiff brush before rinsing with a hose. Concrete degradation can have several causes, including fire, aggregate expansion, seawater effects, bacterial corrosion, calcium leaching, physical damage, and chemical damage by carbonation, chlorides, sulfates, and non-distilled water. To protect against these harmful stimuli, use a low water-cement ratio and properly place reinforcing bars with a suitable concrete cover.
Exposure to water containing a large amount of dissolved sulphates leaves concrete vulnerable to cracking. An alkaline silica reaction can also create an expansive gel that will cause concrete to crack. Once damaged, these spaces can allow water to seep beneath the surface and increase the risk of soil movement and cracking. Now that you know how easy it is to make some basic arrangements around the house and which products are best for each application, it's time to get started! Clean up small cracks, messy edges and rough surfaces to give your home a cleaner, more polished appearance.