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Spalling Concrete | Causes of Spalling Concrete | Spalling Concrete Repair Cost

Spalling Concrete

Introduction of Spalling Concrete:

Spalling of Concrete is a common issue that occurs in the old structure components in which the surface of the concrete peels and breaks away.

In this article, you will learn about spalling concrete and how to prevent spalling concrete so read the article at the end.

What Is Spalling Concrete?

Spalling concrete definition: Spalling of concrete is a crack and disintegration in the area of concrete. It is caused by freezing cycling, effects of alkali-silica reaction, or damage from exposure to fire.

Concrete spalling or spalling of the concrete alludes to the concrete surface breaking apart, which stretches beyond the layers of reinforcing steel(which was inserted when the building was getting erected).

These spalls may be anywhere from 150mm to 170mm in diameter and 25mm or more depth-wise. These, however, don’t exempt the possibility of smaller spalls as per ACI 302.

Spalling of concrete leaves such cemented surface patchy and pitted while pushing aggregate underneath to the forefront for attacks. Things will exacerbate if such spalls aren’t attended to on the dot, these should be thoroughly repaired.

Failing to do this may lead to perturbed concrete surface integrity and put the ultimate capacity of the member on the brink. And who can ever forget the distorted look of beautiful structures, thus affecting their external beauty?

Also Read: What Is Foundation Spalling? | Foundation Spalling Repair Cost

Causes of Concrete Spalling:

There are various causes of concrete spalling which are as follows:

Concrete spalling, or as we call it falling apart of concrete, is caused due to several reasons that we will be listing down in this article.

The causes are mentioned below:

  1. The first and the foremost reason that makes concrete/cement come to bits and pieces is attributable to the corrosion of those installed reinforcement steel, for these corroded materials tend to occupy more volume than the non-rusted or original steel, and the pressure isn’t borne by concrete which leads up to it falling into bits.
  2. Sometimes concrete gets exposed to fire which results in concrete to stem, thereby putting expansive pressure in concrete. It goes without saying this makes up the major reason behind concrete spalling.
  3. Next up we have, freezing and thawing cycling which ruins the aesthetic of beautiful structures by creating crevices/fissures.
  4. The daunting and expansive effects of the Alkali-Silica reaction also cause cemented surfaces to come apart.
  5. Another reason why your concrete surface may be spalling is low quality and poor coating of concrete or cement over the reimbursed steel(inserted while the foundation was getting laid).
  6. Many a time you find joint spalls which may be ascribable to the improperly erected joints.
  7. Due to insufficient depth of cover over the reinforced area that causes the structures to have spalls and they become prone to such attacks.
  8. Lastly, the reason behind such spalls can be found in bond failure in two-course construction. This may be due to the gap in shrinkage between two courses; topping and base ones, maybe the topping concrete is spread out even before the bonding grout dried, etc.
  9. The use of low-quality concrete cover and the expansive effects of Alkali-Silica Reaction can cause spalling concrete.

These are the causes that may be affecting the look of your structures and the weakening of the foundation.

Also Read: What Is Salt Finish Concrete? | Specification of Salt Finish Concrete | Process of Salt Finish Concrete

What Will Happen If My Concrete Is Spalling?

The consequences of concrete spalling are self-explanatory. The primary downside of such spalls is that it makes your structure look unattractive, thus exposing you to all sorts of criticism and judgemental looks.

The situation certainly worsens if the concrete spalling is in an area that is accessible/used by the public, or by workers, to cross places within the residential building, as there are high chances of debris bumping into their heads.

If the concrete spalling isn’t treated immediately, it would spawn across the area, thus leading to an unstable structure of the building. This is precisely why it is admonished to inspect the buildings and maintain them. Only owners can make sure of such perilous things, capable of taking lives.

If we turn our attention toward the commercial consequences of such spalls, we come across the decreased value of assets boasting such dangerous fissures and spalls. Further, there’s a proliferation in the maintenance cost if corrosion and concrete spalling are seen in more than a place.

Structures that are highly pervious to the eyes of customers include car parks, where the users will avoid commuting at any cost due to the hazardous outcome outlined above.

Also Read: What Is Concrete Topping? | Purpose of Topping Slab | Type of Concrete Topping Slab | Advantages & Disadvantages of Topping Slab | Construction Process of Laying Concrete Topping

How to Prevent Spalling Concrete?

How to Prevent Spalling Concrete (1)

You can always take corrective measures to foil the possibilities of these spalls from taking over your concrete/cement surfaces. This section will be dealing with the same.

To prevent moisture-related concrete spalling, the best way is to seal the area and that’s how you will stay untroubled. As for new concrete, you will be needing a waterproof sealer. Apply this penetrating waterproofing sealer 1 month after you are done coating the surface with concrete. This process must be carried out every few years so the chances of a spalling dip below negative.

Another way that may surprise you is the correct ratio of a concrete mixture. In order to provide resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, air entrainment can do wonders to help with the spalls.

When the moisture present in concrete (especially in those crevices and rifts) freezes, these air cells help get the internal pressure off. This is done by microscopic chambers which help expand water as and when it freezes.

The spalling concrete can be prevented by using air-entrained concrete and properly curing the concrete. These are the only two ways, at your disposal. Adhering and being mindful of both of these preventive measures will help you in the long run.

Also Read: What Are Vibro Stone Columns? | Vibro Replacement Stone Columns

How Do I Repair the Concrete Spalling?

If you didn’t take the preventive measures discussed just above this section, then you are left with the repairing and fixing option only which can be quite an unfathomable task to become fathomable.

Concrete spalling repairs should necessarily be carried out in compliance with BS EN 1504, which stands for the European and British Standard for the repair and protection of reinforced concrete.

The medium, or the contractor, must diligently be reached upon and he/she must be suitably qualified, having all the skills necessary to fix the big spalls. The use of such contractors holds the same significance as diligent substrate preparation. Further, the filtering of a repair material that goes well with the host concrete is also necessary.

Fixing of such spalls will be carried forth by making use of pre-bagged materials, that make sure of consistency and components compatibility. The materials needed are available in different forms, namely flowable/hand-placed or they may be readily feasible as a spray application, and this hinges on the size and geometry of the application.

Regardless of the intentions of whoever is carrying out the repairing process, concrete patch fixing more often than not, fails prematurely, on grounds of corrosion which in and around the periphery of the repairs. So firstly, this corrosion must be dealt with or you can easily control it by getting CPT PatchGuard™ galvanic anodes installed.

These are usually installed at 500mm centers into previously small drilled holes along the inside edge of where the repairing takes place, where each of these PatchGuard™ anode is individually linked with one another, through an integral tie wire, to the susceptible steel within the area where spalls are prominent.

These once connected to the steel reinforcement, the PatchGuard™ anodes generate a form of galvanic current which makes the steel relatively cathodic where the effect is obvious to manifest. This prevents fissures and the formation of crevices in the area of repair.

The corrosion is inevitable, PatchGuard™ anodes will slow down corrosion as per the steel installed. This is exactly why these are also referred to as “sacrificial anodes”, for they bear corrosion. These PatchGuard™ system has been proclaimed as an effective way to foil the so-called “incipient anode”, or “ring anode”, out-turn and help prolong the patching spalling concrete life so that you won’t have to splurge out money again and again.

Talking of sound but unfiltered areas of concrete, CPT Patchguard Connect™ anodes can be set up to thwart the possibility of further spalling. The first step of pushing the anodes into drilled holes in a grid form leaving out 500mm space, remains the same.

The difference lies in the fact that PatchGuard Connect™ anodes are wired together i.e. 20 anodes are held up together and thereafter it is affixed to the exposed area of steel. The best part of this approach is that it clamps down the need for exposing multiple sheets of steel. Once the above steps are performed, the wirings are ultimately faced with saw cuts.

Now, the PatchGuard Connect™, like in the earlier paragraph, makes use of the same. purely galvanic technology and oils the wheels of maintenance-free corrosion protection and it goes beyond existing patch repairs.

One of the biggest merits of the PatchGuard Connect™ system is that it lessens the probability of corrosion especially of the exposed areas, thereby reducing future spalling concrete repair cost that one will be splashing out money for.

Both the PatchGuard™ and PatchGuard Connect™ systems won’t let anything touch the concrete for at least 10 to 20 years, though this highly depends on how the local conditions are.

Now it is time to address the not-so-favourable side to galvanic anodes and it is that the properties possessed by sacrificial alloy place a ceiling on the voltage available to generate power for the system. Many a time, these galvanic systems are more than enough for clients as they provide long-lasting effects and untroubled maintenance.

However, in the conditions where the environment isn’t as calm as we supposed it to be, there’s a pressing requirement for a higher driving voltage to slow down and stop corrosion and shield the steel by putting up a layer upright.

In order to address these disparate needs, CPT came up with DuoGuard™ which seems to be of use, for it caters to every need by being the world’s first-ever hybrid corrosion protection system.

These DuoGuard™ are charged or powered by a source that lies external to them for 7 days before it goes back to purely galvanic mode. These also stop areas where corrosion is very prevalent.

Further, just like the previously dealt systems, these too have a 20 years life span.

Also Read: What Is a Concrete Wall Finish? | Types of Concrete Finishes

Spalling Concrete Repairing Cost:

Now one may muse on the cost that owners will be set back by in order to repair these spellings. The cost varies from method to method. If you decide on a concrete resurfacing spalling concrete resolve method, would the spalling concrete repair cost you anywhere between $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot. If the calculations are right, 100 square feet of resurfacing will set your wallets back by $250 to $400.

Repair of Spalled Concrete Slab:

The repair of spalling concrete repair is done in the following ways

  • By removing the concrete at the spalled areas and then exposing the corroded steel reinforcement bars.
  • Scrape and clean the exposed steel bars and use a wire brush in order to remove the rust on the reinforcement.
  • Apply the two coats of the anti-rust paint to the steel bars and before patching the area, apply a proper bonding agent to the affected area surface in order to ensure proper adhesion.
  • patching spalling concrete up the hacked area with the help of polymer modified concrete.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will Spalling Concrete Get Worse?

The situation certainly worsens if the concrete spalling is in an area that is accessible/used by the public, or by workers, to cross places within the building, as there are high chances of debris bumping into their heads.

What Is Spalling Concrete Definition?

Spalling of concrete is a crack and disintegration in the area of concrete. It is caused by freezing cycling, effects of alkali-silica reaction or damage from exposure to fire.

What Does Spalling Concrete Look Like?

Spalling of concrete can appear as round or oval depressions along surfaces or joints. Chipping tends to be more common in cold climates when de-icing chemicals are applied or when seasonal freeze-thaw cycles damage concrete.

Does Sealing Concrete Prevent Spalling?

The best way to prevent concrete spalling from moisture is to seal the area and this is how you will stay calm. For new concrete, you will need a waterproof sealant. Apply this penetrating waterproof sealer 1 month after you finish coating the concrete surface. This process should be done every few years so that the chances of chipping fall below negative value.

How Do You Seal Concrete Spalling?

Another way that may surprise you is the correct ratio of a concrete mix. In order to provide resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, air entrainment can do wonders to aid chipping. When moisture in concrete (especially in those cracks and crevices) freezes, these air cells help relieve internal pressure. This is done through microscopic chambers that help expand water when it freezes.

What does Spalling Concrete Meaning?

Foundation Spalling of Concrete is a common issue that occurs in the old structure components in which the surface of the concrete peels and breaks away.

How Does Spalling Concrete Occur?

Spalling of concrete is a common problem for older buildings. Much of it is caused by carbonation, a natural process of deterioration. This causes corrosion of the steel bars embedded in the ceiling slab, which in turn causes cracking and swelling of the concrete coating.

Is Spalling Concrete Structural?

However, concrete isn’t always invincible to weathering with the most of using the elements. Just like untreated timber rots, untreated concrete spalls. Spalling can spoil the structural integrity of the concrete and compromise any supported loads.

What Are Spalling Repairs?

The signs of spalling include a rough, chipping surface and cracking of certain pieces of concrete. This could be repaired by removing the damaged section so that it can be filled with concrete. You can solve the spalling problem as soon as the concrete is poured.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Concrete Spalling?

Now one may muse on the cost that owners will be set back by in order to repair these spellings. The cost varies from method to method. If you decide on concrete resurfacing spalling concrete resolve method, would the spalling concrete repair cost you anywhere between $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot? If the calculations are right, 100 square feet of resurfacing will set your wallets back by $250 to $400.


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3 thoughts on “Spalling Concrete | Causes of Spalling Concrete | Spalling Concrete Repair Cost”

    1. The responsibility for paying for the repair of spalling concrete may depend on a few factors, including the cause of the damage and the specific terms outlined in any contracts or agreements between the parties involved.

      In general, if the spalling concrete is the result of normal wear and tear or aging of the building, the responsibility for repairs usually falls on the owner of the property. However, if the damage was caused by the actions of an upstairs unit, such as excessive water use or structural alterations, the responsibility may shift to that unit owner.

      It is always recommended to consult with a legal or building professional to understand the specific circumstances of the situation and to determine who is responsible for paying for the repair of spalling concrete in a particular case.

    2. The responsibility for repairing spalling concrete can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the governing laws or regulations in your location. In general, the responsibility for repairing spalling concrete typically falls to the owner of the property or the owner of the unit where the concrete issue is located.

      If the spalling concrete is a result of normal wear and tear or aging, it is usually the owner’s responsibility to arrange for the repairs. This applies whether the spalling concrete is located in a common area or within an individual unit.

      However, if the spalling concrete is caused by a specific incident or negligence on the part of an upstairs unit owner or tenant, the responsibility for repairs may fall on that individual. For example, if the upstairs unit had a water leak that caused damage to the concrete below, the upstairs unit owner or tenant may be responsible for the repairs.

      It’s important to consult the specific laws and regulations in your area, as well as any governing documents such as the building’s bylaws or condominium agreements, to determine the exact responsibility for repairing spalling concrete in your situation. Additionally, discussing the issue with the relevant parties involved, such as the property owner, the upstairs unit owner or tenant, and any applicable homeowner associations or property management, can help clarify the responsibility and find a resolution.

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