While concrete cracks can sometimes indicate improper installation, oftentimes they just happen due to environmental factors. There are a lot of different types of cracks that can happen over the life of your concrete, and not all of them indicate a loss of structural integrity. What are some of the more common types of cracks that you’ll encounter?
What are the most likely causes of these cracks? What can you do to fix them? Read on for five types of concrete cracks and how to fix them!
Shrinkage happens when you have high evaporation rates, which makes the surface of the concrete dry out before it has a chance to set. They are not the most attractive thing to see in your concrete, but shrinkage concrete cracks do not normally impact the structural integrity. They might allow leaks through the walls.
When heat causes concrete to expand, it can push against the surrounding materials. If there is no flex space, then the force of the concretes expansion can cause it to crack. Using compressible materials as expansion joints can help prevent expansion concrete cracks from happening.
You will find heaving concrete cracks where areas of frozen ground expanded and lifted the concrete before it could thaw and settle. The winter cycle of freezing and thawing is the cause of a lot of cracked concrete. It is also possible when tree roots grow too close to the concrete slabs, the force of the root’s growth will cause it to crack as well.
The best way to prevent this is to make sure the slab can move with its environment. Keeping it stiffly in place will hasten the appearance of cracks and other damage. Using shock absorbers of some sort will help with this problem.
Settling occurs where the ground under the concrete was not properly prepared for the weight it was about to bear. The soil might be the wrong consistency as well. Sometime after the concrete was poured, the uneven ground caused stress over the area, causing the concrete to crack, usually in multiple areas.
This may also be caused by a void forming underneath the concrete slab, the resulting stress causing it to crack under the pressure. Filling the void and replacing the slab will fix the problem, properly preparing the underlying soil. It’s always best to make sure the underlying soil can bear the weight of the concrete.
Structural cracks are the result of poor construction or swollen soil. When a section of concrete is overloaded, or if the soil subsides, this can cause cracks to form throughout the structure. When this happens it’s time to call a concrete repair service, such as Smith Insulation.
The usual fix for structural concrete cracks is to use strips of carbon fiber to shore up the structure. This gives added strength to the concrete and allows it to bear the load easier.
Fixing Concrete Cracks
Concrete cracks happen for many reasons, from settling foundations to improper installation. Fixing them doesn’t need to be a big deal, so talk to your local specialists today!
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