Concrete Masonry: How to Prevent Premature Concrete Cracking

Cracks compromise the structural strength of concrete structures, but also degrade the aesthetics of the structures. Cracks are bound to form over time, but steps can be taken to prevent their premature formation. The best time to eliminate the cracks is when concreting is taking place. Here is a look at what professional concreters usually do to perform concrete crack repairs for their customers.

Concrete mix design: Concrete is made by mixing cement, sand and aggregates with water. How properly the concrete mix itself is proportioned influences the potential for crack formation.  If you use insufficient quantities of cement, you can expect cracking to occur almost certainly. Likewise, excessive water content will weaken the concrete, causing it to crack. Therefore, it is critical for concreters to ensure everything is mixed in the right proportions.

Soil compaction: If the soil on which a concrete structure stands is not properly compacted, the concrete will crack as a result of settling of the soil after some time. It is essential to ensure the soil is tightly compacted so as to prevent the occurrence of settlement cracks.

Aggregate quality and size: Make sure the aggregate you use is of good quality and proper size so you can produce concrete with a lower potential for cracking. Concreters should also remember to use aggregates of uniform size.

Control joints: These are essentially pre-emptive expansion and contraction joints that are integrated into concrete structures so that when dry shrinking occurs, cracking will within the joints rather than sporadically appear in the concrete.

Curing the concrete: In order to prevent premature cracking, concrete must be allowed time to cure properly. This involves preventing the water in the concrete mix from drying too quickly. Newly poured concrete is usually covered with some sort of water-retaining covering, such as plastic sheeting, which ensures moisture is not lost too fast.

Quality of finishing: The kind of surface treatment applied to the concrete can determine its ability to prevent cracking. The surface of concrete should be able to endure the beat down of daily use and exposure to weather elements (for outdoor installations). Concrete contractors must apply proper finishes to ensure that concrete surfaces do not deteriorate and crack quickly.

Let's face it: not everyone is good at concrete masonry. Therefore, the surest way to ensure that your concrete structure does not develop cracks prematurely is to let a professional concrete work for you.