Why Does Concrete Crack?

One of the most common problems associated with concrete is cracks. There are several different types of cracks that can occur in concrete, but all of them should be avoided if possible.

 

Not only do cracks aesthetically ruin concrete, they also have a direct effect on the strength of the concrete. The more cracks, the weaker the concrete structure. This can have catastrophic long-term effects.  Let’s take a closer look at why cracks in concrete are a problem, how different cracks occur and the best methods for keeping your concrete projects crack free. 

 

Expansion Cracks

Heat causes concrete to expand. That’s why it’s so important to look into the weather during the time you plan on pouring new concrete. When heat causes concrete to expand that concrete will push against anything that’s in the way. If neither the concrete nor the surface it’s expanding against can give, the concrete cracks. 

 

Luckily, avoiding expansion cracks is incredibly easy. All you have to do is utilize expansion joints when you’re pouring out your concrete. These joints create artificial areas of separation between the expanding concrete and surrounding surfaces. That causes the joints to act as shock absorbers, which allows the concrete to expand without cracking. 

 

Heaving Cracks

If you live in an area that experiences cold temperatures during the winter, then you are likely intimately familiar with heaving cracks. These cracks occur when the ground freezes, then quickly thaws. 

 

When the ground that concrete is sitting on freezes it actually lifts the concrete up. When that same ground then thaws the concrete can crack as it settles back down. This is incredibly common, but can be easily avoided with a little forethought. 

 

To avoid heaving cracks make sure your concrete has room to move with the ground. That means making sure the concrete isn’t placed over or adjacent too massive tree roots or against stone slabs. 

 

Overloading Cracks

Another common culprit behind concrete cracks is the simple overload crack. Remember, not all concrete is made the same. As a result, some concrete structures are stronger than others. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding the final strength of your concrete. Make sure you understand these factors before you begin pouring your concrete, and that you have a solid understanding of the actual strength of your final product.

 

An overload crack occurs when someone didn’t do their research and placed too much weight on their concrete structure. These cracks are most common in something like a concrete driveway. 

 

The good news is that overload cracks are the easiest to avoid. All you have to do is not put more weight on your concrete than it’s rated for. 

 

Cracks are the number one enemy of home concrete projects. If you are worried about cracks, or want help repairing some that have already occurred, we encourage you to reach out to Razorback Concrete. Learn more at www.razorbackconcrete.com

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