People have been using concrete for years as the best choice when constructing buildings. The reason is simple; concrete is known for its strength and durability, especially when reinforced with steel. While this is true, concrete comes under constant attack from both natural and manmade forces and may eventually balk under the pressure. Concrete damage may be due to poor design, high pressure and extreme temperatures, among others. Concrete damage could have adverse effects on the building's structural integrity or simply ruin its look. Repairing such damage is therefore essential. If you're responsible for a building with concrete damage, here's what you can do.
Assess the extent of damage.
Unfortunately, how concrete damage manifests itself isn't a clear indication of the severity of the issue. A tiny crack in the wall may be the only warning you get that there has been a serious degradation of the reinforcing steel. This is a grave structural anomaly that could mean your entire building is compromised. Hire the services of expert engineers to obtain detailed information through non-destructive testing. This testing includes load tests, ground penetrating radar and sounding. The information they uncover will be a great help in determining whether you can repair the damage or if you'll have to replace the entire section.
Choose an appropriate repair method.
The repair method you select normally depends on the seriousness of the damage. Non-structural cracks and spalling that don't affect your building's integrity still need to be addressed due to cosmetic reasons. For non-structural cracks, use a fast setting cement patcher. For the best results, ensure the area is free from any stains, sealers or anything that may be considered a bond breaker. For deep structural cracks that are repairable, an epoxy injection into the cracks is the method preferred. Injected epoxy is actually stronger than concrete and will go a long way in restoring your concrete's strength. Seek the input of a structural engineer whenever you're unsure of how to proceed with the repairs.
Fix the underlying problem to prevent future damage.
Concrete damage doesn't just occur on its own, so making quick repairs isn't enough. The concrete could get damaged once again if the underlying problem remains unsolved. Concrete damage repairs cost a lot and having to perform them repeatedly could wreak havoc on your budget. For instance, your concrete's steel reinforcements could be getting corroded since water is getting into the interior through a small surface crack. To fix this, cover all the cracks present and apply waterproofing techniques. Such techniques may include using water-based sodium silicate sealer.