Concrete is durable, but there are limits. Old or badly-maintained concrete can have issues that go further than just a minor surface repair—you might need to do some structural repairs.
You need to understand how to fix your structural concrete. There are three steps you need to take:
- Fix the issue that caused the erosion in the first place.
- Remove debris and structurally unsound concrete.
- Add new material.
Fix the issue
Concrete doesn’t break down for no reason. Most erosion takes place because of water—standing water by a foundation, long-term groundwater pressure, or a leak. Other issues can include chemical reactions or wear and tear. Whatever the reason, if you don’t fix the problem, none of your repairs will stick.
Before you work on the structural concrete itself, address the situation that made the repair necessary.
Clear any pieces of concrete or other debris that are taking up space, then clean all the surfaces carefully. Any corroded structural steel will need to be cleaned, and if too little steel is left to stabilize the concrete pour, new steel will have to be tied in.
In some cases, there may be a large area of concrete that’s too eroded to be structurally sound. In this case, you’ll have to cut the entire section out for replacement. Be very careful—shore up around the area to ensure it’s structurally sound while you’re repairing.
Getting the debris out of the way creates a clean surface to add your new material. Your repair will need a good bond to stick. If it doesn’t stick, you’ll need to redo the repair—and no one likes doing work twice.
Add new material
The material you add will depend on the size of the repair.
Epoxy injection is the most common repair method. For small to medium cracks, it’s often enough to fill the void all on its own. The epoxy is actually stronger than the surrounding concrete.
If there’s a significant amount of degraded or missing concrete, you’ll have to re-pour a section. In extreme cases where the concrete is under load, it may even require some external reinforcement like carbon fiber.
Structural concrete repair is challenging, and it’s even more critical than most concrete jobs to bring in professional help. If you need a concrete repair done, reach out to JK Industries. We’ll take a look at your job and help you figure out what needs to be done.