Many concrete structures deteriorate early from poor construction practices, insufficient curing, improper mix designs, and the use of unsuitable materials. Many buildings start getting cracks, and others crumble apart when exposed to harsh weather elements such as tornadoes and hurricanes.
””Apply the following tips to ensure your concrete lasts longer.
5 tips to make your concrete construction last
There are many ways to strengthen your concrete, ensuring that it lasts longer.
1. Mix design
The durability of concrete begins with having a mix design that is appropriate for the concrete’s service environment. Consider a low water-cement ratio between 0.40 and 0.50 for concrete that is frequently exposed to harsh conditions. Avoid adding extra water on site, as this may reduce strength, expand permeability, and increase the probability of scaling.
Also, consider aggregates when dealing with mix design. Note that contaminated aggregates may lead to pop-outs or alkali-silica reactivity. Off-spec cement, on the other hand, may cause finishing issues with conflicting setting times.
2. Place construction joints accordingly
Construction joints are necessary for a concrete structure. However, they also constitute a common weak point through which water will always pass. Water seeping through joints can harm your structure in various ways, specifically by causing decay of the reinforcing steel.
To deal with this issue, ensure your structure is designed with sufficient, predetermined control joint positions to prevent random cracking. Also, ensure each joint uses its own reliable waterproofing system. A common waterproofing system that incorporates crystalline technology will offer the best long-lasting protection at joint sites. Crystalline technology also self-heals random cracking, thus providing extra protection and durability.
3. Proper concrete placement
The consistency and workability of your concrete mix should be sufficient enough to place and merge the concrete into a compact mass, one free from any rock pockets or voids. You will find that voids mostly occur behind or below the reinforcing steel bars, particularly those areas with many bars together.
Proper vibration practices will help you at this point. Make sure your concrete is properly compressed, and pay attention to areas around congested reinforcement. There should be no standing water just before concrete placement. Also, make sure the concrete does not move a large interval from where it was initially poured.
4. Proper curing
Curing is essential if you want to extend the lifespan of your concrete. Curing means maintaining optimal conditions that will enable your concrete to gain strength and harden. Appropriate temperature and humidity are the most important factors here. The temperature should be above 10°C for maximum strength development to take place.
It is important that proper moisture levels are maintained during the first few days to allow cement hydration and also keep the concrete from shrinking, drying, and cracking.
5. Maintain low permeability
As discussed above, mix designs should change according to the conditions the concrete is subjected to, but there is one thing that all good concrete have in common: low permeability.
The permeability of water into your concrete affects its durability. With a higher permeability, the expanding volume of the concrete can lead to the formation of cracks, which finally disintegrate the concrete. Generally, concrete has small gel pores as well as capillary cavities. While gel pores are too small and do not allow water penetration through them, capillary cavities are the ones responsible for permeability in concrete.
Capillary cavities occur as a result of a high water-cement ratio in the concrete. Low permeability should always be maintained through proper mixing. Reduce the quantity of free water in the mix by using water lowering plasticizers or admixtures. A good waterproofing system will also help in this area. Pozzolanic materials can also be used to reduce permeability by stuffing capillary cavities.
For more information
Take measures to ensure your concrete lasts as long as possible and can survive even the harshest conditions. Contact Razorback Concrete today at (870) 455-0700 to get started on your concrete project.