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What is Concrete Cancer? How to Prevent Concrete Cancer?

Proper Concrete is reinforced while constructing buildings that ensure the strength it gets. With a strong mesh of steel and concrete, high and tall skyscrapers are built upon with complete confidence in the building system. But eventually, after being exposed to air and water, the steel corrodes and leads to concrete cancer which leads to the concrete material to crack. 

This cracking in the building due to the expansion of steel is called spalling or concrete cancer that undermines the strength and quality of the building. With opening and orifices in the building leads to further exposure to the steel and the elements which affect the level of corrosion even more. 

Many believe that just because the steel is surrounded by the concrete it cannot get corroded. Due to the porous nature of the concrete, it tends to absorb the elements. A lot of factors get into picture to cause concrete cancer, following are a few signs that your building is having the concrete spalling.

Signs of Concrete Cancer

  • It is quite important for you to know for yourself the changes to the concrete structure of your building. With structural engineers can easily spot the problem, it is good for you to know as well the signs of the problem.
  • Cracking or crumbling concrete in your building.
  • Roof leaks can be observed in the internal walls. 
  • Stains of rust coming out of the orifices of the concrete.

These signs can either be wear and tear, which can sometimes lead to a bigger problem. So, it is important to avoid concrete cancer for your building. 

A lot of factors are affecting the reliability and sustainability of the concrete, for example, the quality of the concrete used during the construction. With materials used not of good quality can really affect the building strength in the long run. Good quality steel reinforces the building to stay sustainable longer. 

Other factors that usually impact our environment and climatic conditions that take place since the construction of the building. These factors, of course, cannot be taken into consideration as they are natural but to ensure they will not easily affect the building it is important to you grade A quality materials and concrete. 

Old buildings tend to get affected usually with concrete cancer if the signs are not observed and instantly worked upon. A lot of preventions can be done in order to avoid the problems that affect the corrosion of concrete. 

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Following are a few precautions that can be taken to prevent concrete cancer:

1. Waterproofing:

  • The most effective and the best preventive measure to take against concrete cancer is waterproofing. With quality waterproofing membranes will ensure that the water leakage is kept to a minimum due to its water-resistive properties. 
  • These membranes tend to elongate along with the structure of the concrete thus ensures resistance to punctures or openings in the concrete.
  • With waterproofing techniques that can both make sure to provide long life and withstand any weather conditions. 
  • Avoiding waterproofing or low-quality waterproofing techniques can still make the concrete susceptible to damage and lead to concrete cancer to the building. 
  • It is important to use quality waterproofing techniques and avoid harsh chemicals that can affect the concrete.

2. Electrochemical Treatment:

  • Another problem that can cause concrete cancer is chloride contamination in the building. If you have a building near to the ocean, there is a chance of chloride contamination. That can lead to corroding of the concrete. 
  • You need to make sure to hire a specialist and get the issue fixed before it is too late. 
  • With electrochemical treatment in which the corroding areas of the building are transferred from steel to an anode system. With enough charge and galvanized protection can help prevent the building from concrete cancer.

3. Simple Replacement:

  • While making sure the damage or wear and tear of the building, if you find the concrete cancer is moderate, it can be a feasible option to remove the damaged concrete and replace the rusted exposed steel.
  • By cleaning and replacing the rusted exposed steel, you can fill the cracks and ensuring the safety of the concrete.

4. Protective Coatings:

  • With fixes and preventive measures to stop concrete cancer to affect your building sustainability and reliability. You should also make sure to use concrete specialist coatings. 
  • Protective Coatings, finishing coats, and paints can surely help prevent the building concrete against weather and environmental factors for a limited time.

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When it comes to concrete cancer, no single method will fix all the problems. You cannot just get everything repaired in an instant as it is a gradual process that needs to be taken care of, preventive measures, waterproofing, etc. All play an important role to fight off concrete cancer of your building. Comprehensive sealing after the repair, using proper materials all surely affect the overall condition of your building. 

Happy Living!

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