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Modern Day Methods Of Dealing With Cracks In Concrete

Cracks in concrete are common and it if often misunderstood as not having done mixing properly or compaction properly or problem in foundation and many more. In general cases cracks sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 1/16 inch is considered to be acceptable limit. One can control cracking by properly preparing the subbase, proper curing, not favouring under-reinforcement or over-reinforcement, by proper placing and spacing crack control joints, etc. To fix narrow cracks in concrete, caulk-style concrete repair compound is used because of its easy application. For larger cracks especially in case of walls, epoxy injection kit is used which allows deep penetration through cracks. In case of repairing of stairs, vinyl concrete patcher is used as it is durable and easy to mould into a step like shape.

Causes Of Cracks In Concrete
Although exact cause cannot be stated, some estimations can be made by looking at the size and shape. Some causes are-

1. Some masons use lot of water to make the mix easy to handle in building constructions. They don’t give importance to strength criteria rather they give importance to workability criteria. This leads to low strength in concrete and as a result cracks appear. Shrinkage is another common reason for cracking. As concrete hardens and dries it shrinks to a great extent. This occurs due to the evaporation of excess of mixing water.

2. Rapid drying of slab leads to cracking of concrete. In some building projects rapid drying is preferred as per the requirements of building contract schedule. Hence negligence is one such cause.

3. Lack of control joints is one such cause. The joints should be of the depth of the slab and not more than 2 to 3 times (in feet) of the thickness of the concrete (in inches).

4. Foundations made during cold winter or cold places are often left unheated which leads to cracks.

Ways To Repair Cracks
1. Fixing a cracked floor-

2. Sealing a wider crack in wall

3. Repairing cracked concrete steps-

While adopting epoxy and urethane-based concrete repair compounds, it is advisable to use gloves as they are very sticky. Furthermore, cracks in concrete can be reduced to a great extent by using reinforcing wire mesh, synthetic fibres or rebar. Also, it is not permissible to use too much steel as it can cause cracking by restraining normal shrinkage of concrete. It is sometimes not possible to determine the exact cause of concrete but efforts can be made to reduce it by good site preparation, adopting good finishing practices and more planning of the building project.


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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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