Why Does Concrete Crack?

Concrete cracks are a common sight in old concrete found outdoors which has been subjected to years of freeze thaw cycles and weather. Indoors, concrete is protected from the elements, but not from poor installation, which can cause concrete to crack. In general, the two leading causes of concrete cracking are the elements, and improper installation.

Why Does Concrete Crack?

Exposure to the Elements

All outdoor concrete is exposed to the elements, and this exposure results in the contraction of concrete during times of cold weather and its expansion during times of hot weather. This flux creates small cracks, which grow over time and especially during freeze thaw cycles, when water gets in and freezes, which expands the cracks.

There are several ways to mitigate cracks in concrete as a result of the elements. First, proper installation goes a long way in preventing cracks. Second, use sand instead of salt when there is ice or snow on concrete surfaces. The sand does not accelerate the freeze thaw cycle like salt does, which makes it easier on the concrete. Third, proper maintenance can help prevent cracking or repair existing cracks. An acrylic silicone solvent based sealer helps protect concrete from cracks, and epoxy injections can seal cracks and prevent them from growing.

Poor Installation

Another leading cause of concrete cracks is poor installation by a contractor that is unfamiliar with proper concrete installation practices. Often, contractors will add too much water to the mix. While this makes it easier to install, it also causes it to shrink and pull apart as it dries. Contractors may also use the wrong strength concrete for the job or neglect to install control joints correctly. Improper curing is also a culprit of concrete cracking, as the concrete dries too fast and water is not added at the right times. A skilled concrete contractor knows how to properly install concrete surfaces to minimize the risk of cracks.

concrete crack

For all of your concrete installation needs in Baltimore, contact you can trust the experience of Consolidated Coatings. We know how to install concrete correctly so your surface is pristine for years to come. We also do concrete surface maintenance for concrete that has seen better days. Contact us today for more information about concrete services in Baltimore.

About Consolidated Coatings Inc.

Consolidated Coatings is a full service building restoration contractor operating in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Since 1979, we’ve provided professional restoration of commercial, industrial, and historic buildings across a range of disciplines. These include masonry restoration, concrete restoration, industrial and floor coatings, EIFS, and waterproofing. Follow us on our blog for weekly posts on industry-related topics. If you have any questions, please contact us at 410-574-6504.

 

Sources

http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/concrete_cracks/preventing_concrete_cracks.htm

http://www.angieslist.com/articles/why-concrete-cracks-and-how-prevent-it.htm

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