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What is Spalling and How Can It Be Prevented?

Spalling, also called scaling or flaking, is a common problem in colder climates. Although it typically takes years of freeze-thaw cycles for the top surface of the concrete slab to flake up, you may also notice a “delamination” of the concrete surface early in the slab’s life, even when there’s no freezing and thawing. If you’re planning a concrete construction in San Francisco, make sure you know about spalling beforehand so you can take the necessary steps to prevent it.

Causes of Spalling

As previously mentioned, the most common cause of concrete spalling is freezing weather. Freezing causes the water in the capillaries of the concrete to expand, creating pressure. Over time, the repeated cycle of freezing Spalling San Joseand thawing can generate incredibly expansive pressure that can eventually break away the top surface of the concrete. Improper finishing is another common cause of spalling, especially in climates that don’t go through severe freeze-thaw cycles.

Signs of Spalling

It’s quite easy to tell when concrete is spalling—the top surface of the slab flakes up, revealing coarse gravel aggregate and reinforcing mesh or rebar. You may also be tipped off to spalling concrete by a “drumming” sound during construction, which means there is a hollowness under the surface. This weak layer between the top surface and the strong slab below is what causes the concrete to flake away.

Preventing Spalling

To prevent weather-related spalling, apply a penetrating waterproofing sealer 28 days after the concrete is placed and every few years thereafter. You can also prevent spalling by making sure the ready-mix concrete is properly installed. Typically, spalling results after the finisher hard-trowels the concrete slab surface while bleed water is still trying to escape. In either case, repairing spalling damage is the same: chip or grind away the weak surface and patch or re-surface using a polymer-modified cement compound. Your San Francisco concrete supplier can supply you with the appropriate concrete mix.

Categories: Spalling
A-1 Ready Mix
A-1 Ready Mix
Cement Mixer San Francisco
Located at
Hayward, CA 94544
Phone: (510) 690-8530
Website: http://www.a1readymix.net
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