Why Does Water Leakage Occur In Concrete Structures, And How To Prevent It?

Discover the main causes of water leakage in concrete structures and how to avoid them

Several factors can lead to water leakage in concrete. However, understanding the factors and causes responsible for water leakage is crucial to incorporate preventive measures. From using poor-graded aggregate to impurities in concrete and poor concrete placement, learn the causes of water leakage in concrete.

Impure Coarse Aggregate

  • Poorly graded coarse aggregate is one of the leading factors responsible for causing water leakage in concrete structures. In addition, dirt or oversized particles can also cause increased voids in concrete, resulting in higher concrete permeability and, ultimately, water leakage.

Using well-graded aggregate in each batch can help avoid this issue. First, conduct a sieve analysis to assess the particle size distribution. Furthermore, wash the aggregate to remove impurities. This practice is necessary to eliminate issues associated with coarse aggregate.

Quality Of The Admixtures

Admixtures play a significant role in concrete performance. However, certain factors can contribute to water leakage if not handled properly, including:

  • Improper dosage
  • The use of expired admixtures
  • The inappropriate mixing of admixture types with the concrete

Add admixtures to the concrete according to the mix design specifications and the application’s specific requirements to prevent this issue. Avoid deviating from the recommended type and dosage of admixtures without the advice of an experienced constructor. By adhering to the prescribed guidelines for admixture usage, you can minimize the risk of water leakage and ensure the desired performance of the concrete structure.

Cement Type And Water Selection

  • Another crucial factor in preventing water leakage in concrete is water and cement selection. Improper cement and water containing organic materials or salinity can cause water leakage. It is important to use pure water when mixing concrete to mitigate the risk of water leakage. This helps ensure the water does not contain organic impurities or excessive salinity, thereby maintaining the concrete’s integrity.

Additionally, selecting the appropriate cement grade is essential. Different cement grades have varying properties and strengths. Therefore, selecting the right grade for the specific project requirements can help eliminate potential water leakage concerns associated with the water-cement interaction.

Deviation From Designed Mix Ratio

  • Another important factor leading to concrete water leakage is a deviation from the designed mix ratio. This includes using excessive water or incorrect aggregate quantities. Strictly adhering to the specified mix proportions can prevent this issue. To achieve the desired workability of the concrete without increasing the risk of water leakage, use a superplasticizer instead of water.

However, a superplasticizer should be added under the manufacturer’s guidelines and the supervision of an experienced contractor. Perform a slump test for each batch of concrete from the transit mixer to ensure the concrete has the appropriate workability. Follow these guidelines to minimize the risk of water leakage in concrete and to ensure a durable and high-quality structure.

Issues With Concrete Placement

  • water leakageConcrete placement issues such as segregation and bleeding can significantly contribute to water leakage in concrete structures. The risk increases when pumping is involved. It is crucial to prepare the mix design keeping in mind that the concrete may need to be pumped. Therefore, the mix should be formulated to ensure proper workability and cohesion by considering the requirements and challenges associated with pumping.

In addition, avoid placing concrete from heights. When concrete is poured from a considerable height, it can lead to the separation of aggregate particles from the cement paste. This can result in segregation and bleeding, which, in turn, compromises the integrity of the concrete and potentially lead to water leakage issues.

If you notice signs of slab leaks, seek immediate professional help. Call us at 877-727-2259. Our experts at Crack-X will inspect your property and take the necessary measures to fix your leaking pipes. Crack-X is a civil structures repair company operating in Maine and New Hampshire.

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