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What you need to know about concrete repair!
Greg Batista explains how to repair concrete spalls, why it’s important, and how to avoid a big problem.
Concrete repair is a fact of life for an old building. This is especially true for buildings in South Florida. The “salt air” is the main reason for this concrete failure. To put it another way, the chlorides in the air make their way into the concrete. Consequently, the rebar inside the concrete rusts and expands. As a result, the concrete cracks and ruptures. This breach is called a “spall”. These spalls are considered a failure and can lead to a collapse. For this reason, Cities and Counties in South Florida take these matters very seriously.
Now that there is an expanding piece of steel inside the concrete, it will only be a matter of time until the concrete breaks. This rupture causes both small and large pieces of concrete to become dislodged. Those detached pieces of concrete is the spall itself. Needless to say, concrete spalls are potentially dangerous and even life-threatening. On high-rise buildings they can damage properties below or even make contact with a person. Spalling concrete should be repaired as soon as possible since it will spread and get worse. Eventually, the rusting rebar will render the structure unsafe.
When the original builder installs the rebar inside the concrete, it is typically in a pristine condition. That rebar has a protective layer that is called the “passivation layer”. Coastal areas have high concentration of salts (chlorides) that penetrate the concrete through microscopic hole in the concrete. Next, these salts come into contact with the steel and damages the protective “passivation layer” on the rebar. When this protective layer is gone, the rusting process will begin and will continue over time. At this point there is very little one can do to stop the rusting.
There have been many instances where structural collapses have occurred and people have been severely hurt as a result. Spalling concrete is a sign that your structure is under attack and this sign should not be ignored. Many people kick the can down the road and leave the repairs for a future date. The old adage of “a stitch in time saves nine” is most certainly true. A concrete repair that costs $1,000 today, will cost $10,000 a few years from now.
In reality, there is very little one can do to avoid any spalling to happen in a structure. However, if one follows a typical building maintenance routine, the chances that spalling can be found and identified increases. Buildings that are painted frequently and are maintained suffer the least from this malady.
Epoxy Injection – This is a procedure where voids are filled in cracked and broken concrete.
Spall Repair & Rebar Replacement – In this procedure, we cut out a spalled area of concrete and clean the rebar inside. Consequently, we use special materials and techniques to fill the void back to create a better and stronger structure.
Removal and Replacement of Deteriorated Concrete – Sometimes concrete is beyond repair and needs to be removed and replaced.
Repairs On Grade – This is a process that stabilizes concrete slabs by pressure grouting beneath the concrete slab
Anchoring Delaminated Masonry Back to the Substrate – This is a process that reattaches masonry (or veneer walls such as brick) to either concrete and/or hollow concrete block.
Removal & Replacement of Existing Deteriorated Joint Material – In this scope of work, we remove any failed joint material. We then proceed to clean and prime the existing joint. Finally, we install new backer rod and sealant.
Repair of Deteriorated Joint Nosing – Here, we cut out and remove the worn and/or spalled joint nosing and rebuild to the original configuration.
Epoxy, Polyurethane, Acrylic & more – There are many coating systems on the market including Vehicular & Pedestrian Traffic Coating Systems. These systems are designed for Wear, Chemical Resistance, Aesthetics, and Waterproofing.
Polyurethane Injection – This system is used where water is coming through cracks as in a basement.
Coatings and Waterproofing Systems – There are many waterproofing systems on the market. Some are better than others. Some are much more expensive than others. Hire a professional like G. Batista & Associates to help you make these decisions.
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