Experts near you reveal tips to prevent the occurrence of cracks in concrete
Concrete is one of the most preferable materials of the contractors for the construction of driveways, patios, and other such structures. Concrete can be long-lasting and durable depending on how it is installed and created. The good looks and strength of the concrete material can last for years provided that it is installed correctly. Making even the slightest mistakes during creation and pouring can increase the likelihood of crack formation in the future. Water can seep into these cracks causing them to expand and contract. This repeated action can exacerbate the problem thus making the cracks worse. Here are some practical measures to prevent the occurrence of cracks in concrete.
Excess Water In The Concrete Mix
- Sometimes during construction especially on the residential sites, a lot of water is added to the concrete. This is done to make the concrete easy to pour and install. However, the excess water decreases the strength of concrete. As the excess water evaporates, the concrete begins to harden. It shrinks and cracks are formed. The process of shrinkage exerts a force on the concrete pulling the slab apart.
Add only the required amount of water in concrete and abstain from using excess water. Following the well-established guidelines for concrete placement can make it durable, crack resistant.
- Concrete cures gradually and takes about 28 days to set properly. Once the concrete is poured, the steps taken in the initial days determine its strength and crack-resistant surface. Cement, which is the binding agent in concrete retains moisture to gain its full strength. Spraying water on the poured concrete from time to time during the first week makes it stronger. If the water evaporates slowly, the chances of cracks reduce.
In hot and dry weather water should be sprayed more often as the rate of evaporation increases. If during the first seven days temperature is expected to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the concrete should be covered with an insulating blanket to prevent cold from seeping into the concrete.
- Concrete shrinkage can cause a large slab to crack such as those used in making patios or sidewalks. Even the properly cured large slabs are liable to cracking as a result of temperature changes. The hydration process causes the concrete to shrink and crack. Soil movements beneath the concrete cause it to crack.
Therefore, small weak spots are created into the slab. This makes the anticipated cracks occur in these weakest spots. The weak spots created intentionally are called control joints. There are the following ways to create these joints:
- A grooving tool can be used to form the joints in wet concrete
- A concrete blade is used to cut the joints one day after pouring the concrete.
- A compact base is used as a support to secure a newly built slab. Slabs used for driveways, sidewalks, etc require a compact base. If the base below the slab is not dense enough, it may settle with time and create a space that further leads to the formation of cracks.
The best solution is gravel. Fill the base with gravel and tamp it down a few inches to have a flat and solid base.
- Although concrete is the strongest and durable construction material its strength can be reinforced. This can be done by adding wire mesh, steel, or rebar to the concrete mix. Adding reinforcement material is not difficult, it rather improves the strength of concrete which helps reduce the chances of cracking.
If you have noticed cracks in your foundation give us a call at 877-727-2259. Our experts from Crack-X will assess the damage and provide necessary repairs. Crack-X is a structural repair company located in Maine and New Hampshire.