Concrete Cancer

Check your building façade for signs of cracked or spalling concrete.

Concrete cancer is caused when the steel reinforcing within a concrete slab begins to rust. As the steel rusts, it expands and displaces the surrounding concrete; causing it to become brittle and crack which exacerbates the issue.

Signs of concrete cancer include:

  • Delaminated and cracking concrete (concrete spalling)
  • Rust stains which seem to leak out from within the concrete
  • Bubbling (also called plating) of concrete render
  • Leaks which appear in overhead concrete surfaces

A range of factors can contribute to concrete cancer

Your building may have spalling concrete for a number of reasons, including:

  • A poorly-poured substrate which has allowed moisture to seep into it through cracks and voids
  • Inadequate preparation of the reinforcing steel when the original concrete was poured.
  • The ends of the reinforcing are too close to the surface. In heavy rains, water may seep through causing lime and other chemicals in the steel to oxidise.
  • Incompatible metals being used in close proximity to each other, thus causing a reaction which allows water into the slab
  • Stress fractures from bearing weight or general wear-and-tear allow water to penetrate the concrete and react with the steel

To discuss your building and concerns about concrete spalling, concrete cracking and concrete cancer.

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