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What is frost heaving?

Frost heaving occurs when the ground moisture underneath the stone base freezes and then lifts certain parts of the concrete slab instead of the entire structure.

  • Frost heaving most commonly occurs in front of doors which can stop them from opening and on sidewalks where they may pose serious tripping hazards.

Types of Concrete Deterioration

Structural Failures Common with Concrete

What are Popouts?

Popouts are marks in the surface, usually caused when porous aggregates absorb water quickly and expand when they experience freeze-thaw cycles.

  • Most aggregates that cause popouts are light in weight. In high slump concrete they tend to float to the surface where they are more likely to become saturated and cause popouts.

What is spalling?

Spalling is a loss of the surface Portland cement that exposes the course aggregate. It is caused by freeze-thaw cycles and deicing salts.

  • The best defense against spalling is to use an air-entrained concrete with a 3 to 5 inch slump.
  • Once the contractor has a good concrete mix, they can compromise it by using poor construction techniques.
    1. If they sprinkle water on the surface after curing.
    2. By finishing the surface too early they can trap water under the surface, forming a weakened surface which can result in spalling.

Cracking and How to Prevent It

Cracking mainly occurs as a result of load distress or the expansion and contraction that concrete experiences throughout the different seasons.

  • A good concrete mix design along with the proper installation of expansion and control joints are the best defense against cracking. Using a low-slump, low water content concrete with a high coarse aggregate content will minimize shrinkage and reduce cracking.
  • Additionally, the installation of wire mesh and rebar will significantly increase the durability of the concrete and provide greater structural strength and support to the slab.

What is Concrete?

Concrete is composed of Portland cement, aggregate, and water. In most cases, additives and structural reinforcement such as fiber or steel wire are needed to strengthen the concrete from cracking and shattering. When these materials are mixed together they form a solid stone-like surface used for sidewalks, driveways, and other rigid surfaces or structures.

Common Issues of Concrete Installation

Adding to much water to concrete can cause several surface defects. Water should be added only once, if needed, to restore slump when concrete arrives to the jobsite.