Why Concrete Cracks & How to Protect It 

Why Concrete Cracks & How to Protect It

Concrete is a valuable staple in modern construction, proving extra strong and durable for driveways, walkways, and more. Despite its strength and performance, concrete cracks are frustrating and sometimes dangerous to deal with. Learning why concrete can crack will help you prevent these issues moving forward, so keep reading to learn more.  

The Science Behind Concrete 

Cement, aggregates, and water combine to form concrete. The curing process is essential for the hardening of concrete as it allows moisture to slowly evaporate over time. With the appropriate moisture and temperature conditions, the concrete can resist severe weather and get stronger. 

Common Reasons for Concrete Cracking 

Consider the following main reasons why concrete cracks occur: 

Drying Shrinkage 

Sometimes, evaporation from the concrete mixture can lead to shrinking and cracking. Rapid drying times might cause increased cracks. 

External Loads 

Although concrete is strong, heavy loads and pressure can strain it and lead to cracks. Extremely heavy objects that reside on a concrete surface may wear it down and eventually produce cracks, structural or otherwise. 

Thermal Expansion and Contraction 

Extreme temperature changes affect concrete by making it contract and expand. Pouring or repairing concrete is best during appropriate weather conditions and temperatures where they will offer minimal disruptions to concrete curing. 

Improper Construction Practices 

Poor-quality or unadvisable construction techniques for concrete surface installation can lead to cracks and major structural problems. Some of these practices might include a lack of subgrade preparation, placing the joints in the wrong areas, and adding too much water to the concrete mix. 

Ground Movement 

Ground that settles below concrete or natural events like earthquakes can unfortunately lead to cracks, big or small. 

Signs of Concrete Damage 

Some signs that your concrete is damaged include: 

  • Pooling water 
  • Huge visible cracks 
  • Fissures 
  • Small hairline cracks 
  • Uneven, inconsistent surfaces 

How to Protect and Prevent Concrete Cracks 

Fortunately, you can use the following tips to protect surfaces and avoid concrete cracks: 

Proper Mixing and Curing 

You should always use the right mix ratios without deviating to avoid serious structural cracks. Furthermore, following the recommended cure time will also yield the best results with fewer chances of experiencing cracks. 

Control Joints 

Control joints are intentional cracks that concentrate cracks to specific areas rather than in random spots throughout the slab. Having these can prevent problems, but you must fill and seal them so they may do their job. 

Adequate Subgrade Preparation 

Making time to properly prepare the subgrade can set up concrete surfaces for success. If it doesn’t contain organic materials and has good quality, compact subgrade, you’re off to an excellent start and decrease the likelihood of cracking. 

Use of Reinforcements 

Steel bars or mesh are popular ways to reinforce the strength of concrete when experiencing pressure. 

Regular Sealing 

Sealing a concrete surface prevents water from getting in, preventing cracking and freeze-thawing. 

Reach Out to Cincinnati Premier Pressure Washing in Mason, OH 

If you’re planning to lay concrete or notice any signs of damage to your existing concrete, reach out to Cincinnati Premier Pressure Washing. Besides supplying professional pressure washing services, we also offer advice to prevent concrete cracks. Call (513) 827-1079 today!

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