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Identifying Concrete Cancer & Easy Repair Solutions



Concrete spalling, more commonly known as concrete cancer, has a devastating impact on your structure or building. If you identify it early enough, a cure is possible. However, the longer it's left, the more expensive it is to fix.


Project and building managers are less likely to experience these issues because they would be undertaking checks regularly and maintenance. However, if you're only just introducing this into your routine tasks and are unsure what to look for, we have covered the causes, signs and treatment for concrete cancer repair in Brisbane.


What's Concrete Cancer

Concrete is porous by its very nature; therefore, it must be strengthened by adding steel if it's used in construction. The steel is prone to corrosion because of the porous nature of concrete and the absorption of salt and water in the air.


The combination of water and salt is what causes concrete cancer. The corroded steel within expands, and then the concrete cracks. As it continues to crack, more steel is exposed, which accelerates cancer and causes weakness to the building or structure.


The reason for the term cancer is that when untreated, it grows faster, further and more severely, which is why quick action is ideal.


Signs of Concrete Cancer

Cancer in concrete is relatively noticeable, primarily if you regularly inspect your concrete structures. You can avoid it creeping up by recognising the following signs:

  • Cracking & crumbling concrete

  • Rust marks

  • Leaks

  • Concrete bubbling

  • Expanding concrete.

Looking for these issues regularly and finding them early allows you to fix the concern at a reasonably reduced cost. We recommend having a professional give you a detailed diagnosis.


Ask For A Professional Assessment

For a correct and comprehensive diagnosis, seek the assistance of a professional who can accurately identify the issue. Someone experienced in this field will recommend a solution appropriate to your disease level.


Cause of Concrete Cancer

While we have already identified that concrete cancer is a result of moisture in your concrete, other issues can affect your structure or building:

  • Poor waterproofing

  • Chlorides and salt air from living close to a river or ocean

  • Defects in the building

  • Humidity, rain, wear & tear

  • Inferior quality concrete

  • Foundations move and shift.

The type of structures at risk are those exposed to the above. While young buildings can be affected, it is most common in buildings older than ten years.


Repairing Concrete Cancer

It's not questionable that a professional should take on the concrete cancer repair task and be done so in a timely manner. The quicker you can stop it from spreading, the better. Without prompt action, the building's structural integrity is compromised and becomes a costly issue, to the point of the structure requiring demolition. Treatment methods include:


1. Modified Repair - Polymer

When there is a lack of coverage on the steel, a polymer is typically used as the choice of repair. The process involves:

  • Remove concrete from the damaged area

  • Clean the rust

  • Apply primer to the steel

  • Apply polymer

  • Add a carbonation sealer over the whole surface.


2. Electrochemical

This is a typical method used in structures in areas that are salt-based. Corrosion is limited because a metal that easily corrodes is placed close to the steel, acting as a terminal.


3. Complete Replacement

It's a simple process, which requires removing the whole area affected by corrosion and replacing it with new steel and concrete. When undertaking this task, the structure will be thoroughly cleaned and waterproofed. Don't forget to do concrete scanning before demolishing.


This process involves:

  • Remove affected steel and concrete

  • Clean edges of removed and surrounding areas

  • Add rust treatment and primers

  • New concrete and steel

  • Waterproofing.


DIY Concrete Work Regulations & Laws

For concrete repairs within the region of $20,000 and those that impact compliance of the building affected, you are not legally allowed to complete the work.


Anything below that figure is OK to do. However, it's not recommended for such a serious task because it will cost you significantly if it isn't done right the first time. Being specialists in concrete cancer repair, we recommend contacting us for more information.


Should I Buy A Home Showing Signs Of Concrete Cancer

While it is likely physically safe, buying a home with concrete cancer is not ideal. Although it isn't a safety issue initially, the requirement to repair it makes it a financially unsafe decision.


Difference Between Repair and Maintenance

It's important to differentiate between maintenance and repair work. Maintaining concrete structures is a regular cost to maintain the building, such as waterproofing and periodic inspections. Long-term, this saves money by not needing to spend additional money on massive repairs.


Contact Precise Cut & Core for Professional Services

For all your concrete needs, please speak to our customer service team about how we can help you with your concrete project requirements.

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