Concrete Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

If you own a building which contains reinforced concrete, it is important you understand the risk posed by concrete cancer. Steel bars are used to reinforce concrete structures. Concrete cancer occurs when the steel bars buried within the concrete begin to rust. As it rusts, the steel begins to expand and damage the concrete, causing it to break apart. Concrete cancer is a very serious problem, which can undermine the structural integrity of a building. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about concrete cancer. 

The Causes of Concrete Cancer

The causes of concrete cancer include:

Salt Water: Concrete cancer often affects buildings which are built by the sea or in other coastal locations. Although it is very strong, concrete is also extremely porous which means it will quickly absorb rain and sea water. When the salts and minerals contained within sea water penetrate a concrete surface, it can cause corrosion of the steel bars.

Cold Weather: If you live in an area which experiences icy winter weather, your concrete structure may be at increased risk of concrete cancer. When the temperature drops, water which is on the surface of the concrete will freeze. This ice can compromise any waterproofing which has been applied to the surface of the concrete. When the ice eventually melts, the water can seep into the concrete and corrode the steel.

The Symptoms of Concrete Cancer

During the early stages, it may be difficult to detect any signs of concrete cancer. However, as the corrosion of the steel bars progresses, some symptoms may display themselves when you inspect the concrete. These symptoms include:

  • Cracked and crumbling concrete
  • Rust staining on the concrete surface
  • Water leaks on an internal concrete wall

How to Combat Concrete Cancer

If you suspect that a concrete structure within your building is being affected by concrete cancer, you should make contact with a professional concrete repair and restoration company. A contractor will visit you to carry out a full inspection of the concrete surface before recommending the best course of action to fix it.

Repair work typically involves installing new steel bars into the concrete. Once the steel bars have been replaced, the concrete itself will be repaired, and a new coat of waterproofing will be applied. The waterproof membrane will help to protect the concrete from further damage.

If you would like further information about concrete cancer, contact a concrete repair company today.