Concrete is a highly versatile and popular material for building things. When laid out, concrete structures can look quite beautiful. For all its usefulness, concrete has one flaw: it cracks. Unfortunately, cracking of concrete is more common than you might expect.
Why does it happen? Concrete doesn’t crack because it’s not sturdy enough on the outside. Rather, the cracking develops because of excessive tensile strength inside. Essentially, the material shrinks, developing cracks.
Builders should therefore anticipate this problem in concrete before using it in any construction project. Cracking in concrete is actually preventable. Here are several ways to do it:
Improve Internal Strength
Concrete is practical for many projects but can be brittle in some cases. Builders can actually give the material more strength to minimise and even prevent cracking in the future. The best way to do this is by including rebar in the structures. Use high quality rebar and stirrup benders made in Italy and then pour the concrete over these support structures. This would improve internal tensile strength and prevent cracks once the concrete dries.
Allow for Proper Curing
For concrete, curing means letting the material dry slowly to prevent rapid loss of water when drying. If the concrete dries too quickly, then it can shrink, showing cracks. Concrete easily cracks when it’s not properly cured as it should be. In dry areas or when using quick dry concrete, it’s important to make sure curing is carried out as usual. Otherwise, the concrete becomes brittle as parts start to shrink.
Don’t Add in Extra Water
As concrete can crack as it dries, panicked builders sometimes introduce more water. Rather than prevent dryness that causes cracking, excess water can dilute tensile strength. When more water evaporates than necessary, it promotes even more shrinkage. Therefore, only use the necessary amount of water and avoid adding more for mixing purposes.
Aim for a Smooth Mixture
The preparation of the mixture ensures how solid and therefore crack-free a concrete structure can be. The mixture, or the sub-grade, preparation must be free of impurities and as smooth as possible. The whole thing must be uniform as well. The concrete mixture must offer proper drainage, especially for the winter season. The right sub-grade preparation will minimise cracking.
Revibrating can eliminate cracking in concrete that is already set. It essentially involves using a vibrating machine on concrete structures that are already built. The process can harden concrete structures, making the material sturdier and less likely to shrink and crack. Revibrating can be highly useful, but can be limited in vibration. Not all structures can withstand it. Revibrating is not recommended for architectural concrete.
Cracking in concrete is mainly an issue of shrinkage and lack of internal strength. Preventing is not impossible as mentioned above. Use the above suggestions in the preparation stage for the material. The final structure must have compressive strength to withstand cracks. Once set, try a method like revibrating to get cracked concrete back to normal. The right preparation and curing is the key to long-lasting concrete structures. Maximize the benefits of concrete as suggested above.