Treating Concrete Cancer: How to Identify and Repair Structural Damage

Concrete cancer, also known as concrete deterioration, is a common problem in buildings and other structures. It is caused by the oxidation of steel reinforcement bars, which leads to cracking and crumbling of the concrete. If left untreated, it can cause serious structural damage and even collapse. Fortunately, there are ways to identify and treat concrete cancer before it becomes a major problem.

The first step in treating concrete cancer is to identify the source of the problem. This can be done by inspecting the structure for signs of corrosion, such as rust stains or flaking paint. If the damage is severe, an engineer may need to be consulted to determine the cause. Once the source of the problem has been identified, the next step is to remove any damaged concrete.

This can be done by sawing off the perimeter of the repair area to remove the edges of the concrete around the reinforcing steel. Chiseling may also be necessary to remove any loose or crumbling concrete. Another preventive treatment for concrete cancer is to repair minor cracks and other damage to the concrete as soon as you notice them. This is especially important for concrete in exposed areas, as water entering the concrete through the cracks will cause the problem to worsen quickly.

Concrete cancer treatment may be possible and much cheaper if the problem is detected early. If the damage is too severe, however, the concrete may need to be removed and replaced. There is no fixed cost for the specific treatment of cancer, as it depends on the size of the surface that needs to be treated and the severity of the damage. Repairing severely damaged concrete can cost thousands of dollars, so it may not be cost-effective compared to replacing it. Once all damaged concrete has been removed, it's time to treat any exposed steel reinforcement bars.

This can be done by applying protective coatings or a cathodic system to make them resistant to corrosion. Chemical water repellency can also be added to the concrete surface itself by applying Resistain, a waterproofing sealant for concrete. Flat concrete roofs are particularly vulnerable to leaks and water-driven concrete cancer, so they should always be properly waterproofed. If moderate damage has already occurred, you may be able to remove damaged concrete, clean and replace oxidized and exposed steel, and fill in cracks. Regardless of whether the damage is severe or moderate, waterproofing and integral sealing after repair are important to minimize the risk of cancer recurrence in concrete. As steel oxidizes, it can expand to eight times its original size, causing the surrounding concrete to break down. Finally, it's important to understand what specific cancer is when it shrinks.

In simple terms, it represents the visible manifestation of underlying structural problems, such as reinforcement of oxidation, water leakage and structural degradation. This minimizes the risk of future water damage and prevents harsh chemicals that contaminate the concrete from entering through the pores. By understanding how to identify and treat concrete cancer before it becomes a major problem, you can save yourself time and money in repairs or replacements down the road. Get up to 3 free quotes from professionals in your area today and compare prices for your project.