Cracks that appear on concrete surfaces are unsightly and can compromise the integrity of the entire paved structure. However, some cracking is normal and does not necessarily indicate construction failure. Nonetheless, it’s essential to understand the possible causes of these cracks and how to prevent them as much as possible.
How to Ensure Your Concrete Project Doesn’t Crack
1. Insulate the Exposed Surface
Because the material expands and shrinks depending on changes in temperature and moisture, one way to prevent cracks is by insulating the exposed material for the first five days after its construction. Cover it with hessian cloth—which will help keep it wet with the use of a water sprinkler—and then cover it with thick thermocol sheets.
2. Place Construction Joints
It’s normal for concrete to shrink as it dries, causing fine cracks to appear in the process. One remedy to accommodate shrinkage and control the location of cracks is by placing construction joints or re-enforced steel in the surface while it’s still wet. Doing this allows the cracks to appear in predictable or hidden areas.
3. Add Proper Finishing
Proper finishing techniques, such as flat floating and flat trowelling, can help guard against concrete cracks. Observe proper timing between finishing and avoid overworking the material with vibrating screeds to prevent cracking.
4. Use High-Quality Aggregates
Using high-quality aggregates such as gravel, sand, crushed stone, recycled concrete, or geosynthetic can help prevent cracks. Optimizing the gradation of the aggregate used in the project could help decrease the shrinkage of the material.
5. Purchase From a Reliable Supplier
The material used in the project should be properly proportioned and mixed. Only purchase the material from a reliable supplier—look for past projects the supplier has contributed their materials to—to ensure that you’re using high-quality concrete that wouldn’t cause problems in the future.
Follow the tips above to ensure your investment doesn’t crack. The team at Builder's Concrete East has provided residents across Windham, CT, with high-quality concrete supplies for the last 50 years. The team provides residential and commercial clients with ready-mix concrete, specialty mixes, and pervious concrete. For quotes and mix design questions, call (860) 942-9386. Visit their website to view the company’s past projects.