Concrete Spalling | Difference Between Concrete Spalling and Scaling | How To Fix Concrete Spalling?

Concrete Spalling | Difference Between Concrete Spalling and Scaling | How To Fix Concrete Spalling?

Concrete Spalling | Repair of Concrete Spalling | How Do You Prevent Stop Concrete Spalling

Concrete Spalling

What is concrete spalling?

The term “spalling” refers to areas of concrete that have cracked and delaminated from the substrate. Spalling can occur for a variety of reasons, including freeze thaw cycles, the expanding effects of the Alkali Silica Reaction, or exposure to fire.

However, corrosion of embedded steel reinforcement bars or steel sections is the most typical cause of spalling. Corroding steel can expand up to tenfold its initial volume, putting additional strain on the surrounding concrete.

When steel is cast into concrete, the naturally high alkalinity acts as a corrosion inhibitor for the embedded steel.

However, the protection provided by high alkalinity can be jeopardized by the infiltration of acidic air gases, a process known as carbonation, or by the presence of salts in the concrete, most commonly from marine environments or through the application of de-icing salts.

When these pollutants are combined with oxygen and water, we have the essential components for corrosion.

The reason that some concrete structures exhibit extensive spalling while others appear to be in good condition is a result of a mix of factors including age, maintenance, concrete quality, the depth of concrete cover, and local environmental conditions.

What Causes Concrete Spalling

Spalled concrete may be caused by any of the following:

Concrete Spalling

Difference Between Concrete Spalling and Scaling

Scaling occurs when water freezes in concrete’s pores and capillaries. When the expanding ice’s hydraulic pressure exceeds the concrete’s tensile strength, mortar scales detach from the surface, revealing aggregate.

Spalling is comparable to scaling, except that the expansion happens deeper within the concrete, resulting in the surface disintegrating into larger bits.

Corrosion of rebar owing to carbonation, extreme heat causing water vapor to expand violently, inadequately designed joints, and crack degradation are all common reasons.

Repair of Concrete Spalling

To repair concrete spalling, reliable chipping or grinding tools are required. You will need to chip or grind the exposed weak concrete, but be careful not to over- or under-grind and cause additional damage.

After grinding away the weak concrete, thoroughly clean the area. This is when an air compressor or other device capable of delivering controlled, pressurized air comes in help.

Resurface the area with a polymer-modified cement compound following a thorough washing. If you truly want to avoid future spalling, ensure that your compound is of high, reliable quality. After the overlay has dried, use a waterproof sealant to completely seal the affected area. This will aid in preventing further spalling.

It is critical to understand how spalling occurs so that future concrete projects can be designed to prevent this issue.

While the issue can be resolved, this does not guarantee that it will not recur, especially in colder climates.

Cracking can also develop if control joints are not properly installed, independent of the repairs performed.

When installing any concrete feature, it is critical to understand the chemistry of concrete in order to ensure correct mixing.

Additionally, an experienced concrete professional should grasp the value of robust reinforcement and how to install control joints appropriately.

How To Fix Concrete Spalling?

If your concrete is spalling, the following repair solutions are available:

  • Using a color-matching compound to patch the spalled region.
  • Resurface your concrete using an overlay.
  • Replace the entire slab by ripping it out and replacing it with a new one.

Concrete Spalling Repair Cost

When a concrete begins to collapse in portions, this is referred to as spalling. Additionally, it could result in the driveway separating into thin layers.

Spalling happens as a result of cold temperatures and direct exposure to corrosive road salts. Concrete resurfacing repairs spalling and costs between $2.50 and $4.00 per square foot, or between $250 and $400 for a 100 square foot area.

Why is Concrete Spalling common in Cold Areas?

Spalling of concrete is more prevalent in colder climes, where the concrete is subjected to freeze-thaw cycles. When concrete freezes, it expands, exerting pressure on the surrounding area.

At some point, breaking and pitting begin to occur. Deicing chemicals, which automobiles pick up on the road, exacerbate spalling and pitting by allowing more water to penetrate the concrete and enlarging the spalling.

As a result, spalling frequently occurs where vehicles are parked in cooler climates. If you live in a colder area, your concrete is already prone to this type of deterioration, but it is amplified if the concrete was incorrectly constructed. All of this is true for both aesthetic and functional concrete.

Why Does New Concrete Spall and How Can It Be Fixed?

There are several primary reasons for new concrete spalling:

  • Weak concrete is a result of a poor concrete mixture, a poor pour, or an improper cure.
  • Damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles and road salt.
  • Abrasion of the surface.

If your new concrete is beginning to show signs of deterioration, such as cracking or spalling, there was almost certainly a problem with the concrete pour.

Without rebar, expansion joints, or the proper mixture, the concrete will disintegrate.

Although cracks are the most prevalent indicator of deterioration, in severe cases, the surface begins to chip away (spall).

How Do You Prevent Stop Concrete Spalling?

Ways to Preventing/Avoid Concrete Spalling

Concrete contractors should conduct frequent reviews of their operations to address these issues and avoid callbacks and customer complaints.

Consider six areas that can help increase the quality of slab-on-ground work and contractor profitability.

Inspect Your Placement and Finishing Tools

After a busy building season, tools and equipment may have deteriorated in quality. Check for uneven edges on your floats. Assure that jitterbugs and surface rollers have undamaged surfaces and roll evenly.

Check the riding trowel blades for signs of wear and broken edges. Additionally, inspect your hand tools for signs of wear, such as sharp edges, worn grooves, and broken handles.

Check Your Concrete Mix Design

One key step is to ensure that the concrete is mixed, poured, and cured properly. Strong concrete is less susceptible to spalling forces.

Concrete that is durable begins with well-designed mixtures. Collaborate with your ready-mixed concrete supplier to develop a mix portfolio that spans all seasons and temperature ranges.

Air-Entrapped Mixture

Use air-entrained concrete that meets ACI criteria for outside slabs, walkways, and patios. As the maximum size of the coarse aggregate lowers, the required total air content increases.

Prior to installation, it is critical to check the project’s air quality. Air content might change due to changing conditions in the manufacturing plant, particularly early in the morning.

Additionally, collaborate with your crew and producer to design a strategy for retarders and accelerators. Finishing crews are eager to get started on the concrete. Adjust dosage rates accordingly when the concrete and environmental temperatures change during placement.

Conduct A Review of Your Installation and Finishing Methods.

Even the most meticulously constructed concrete might develop surface problems if it is not properly put and polished.

One of the most significant drivers to scaling is premature completion of concrete. While enhanced productivity attained via the use of laser screeds and riding trowels has hastened production, allow adequate time for the concrete to set.

Early completion poses complications that can result in scaling. This action seals the concrete surface prematurely, trapping rising bleed water.

Additionally, the initial action can trap air right beneath the surface. Both of these situations result in a brittle layer of concrete that is prone to crack upward when exposed to freezing temperatures.

Avoid overworking damp concrete. Another factor that contributes to scaling is overworking of very moist concrete.

Excessive surface work can cause damage to or destruction of the entrained air bubbles in air-entrained concrete. Additionally, excessive labor can result in the formation of a zone of weakened concrete at the surface.

Concreting over a cold subbase can exacerbate the scaling problem. Due to the chilly temperature, the concrete sets more slowly and consequently bleed for a longer period of time.

Have Adequate Curing

All concrete must be properly cured in order to retain moisture and build strength. It is especially important for flatwork that the top surface is properly cured; membrane curing agents sprayed with a spray gun or paint roller are advised.

Cure the concrete with a curing solution or a watertight covering and allow it to dry for at least 30 days before using deicing salts.

Create Landscaping That Will Help Keep the Concrete Dry.

Scaling can also occur during final grading or during the construction of new landscape projects. Appropriate slopes must exist to divert surface water away from the slab.

Concrete that is saturated is more prone to damage from freezing and thawing than concrete that is dry.

Follow Up with The Owner to Ensure Proper Preventative Maintenance Is Performed.

Many owners are ignorant of their responsibility for concrete maintenance.

To begin, avoid using deicers on the concrete surface for as long as feasible. In most cases, six months is sufficient.

When the concrete reaches full strength, which typically takes 56 days, a simple reminder to seal the outside and garage floors a few months following installation can help ensure the surface lasts for years.

Concrete Surface Spalling Repair


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