Fixing the Problems with Reinforced Concrete

Concrete, by itself, is a very durable building material. Rome’s Pantheon is a magnificent structure. It is the world’s highest unreinforced concrete structure, and it is still in its excellent condition, even after 1,900 years of existence. Yet, many concrete buildings of the last century collapsed, from bridges and highways to homes. Most concrete structures built this century will get damaged before its expected end of life.  

This might seem strange given the existence of antique structures. The critical difference is that today’s construction process integrates the use of reinforced steel concealed inside the concrete, which is known as the rebar. Steel is made primarily from iron and one of iron’s unalterable characteristics is that it rusts. It destroys the integrity of concrete structures. That’s also the reason why it is expensive to repair them.  

Steel and Concrete  

Steel restructuring was a remarkable achievement of the 19th century. The steel bars add strength, allowing for the construction of tall, cantilevered structures and smaller, less backed slabs. It speeds up building times, as these slabs need less water to pour.  

Such principles, encouraged by the assertive, and sometimes repeat promotion of the concrete industry during the 20th century, led to its massive popularity. Reinforced concrete is competing with more durable building materials like steel frame and the traditional bricks and mortar. It has substituted environmentally sensitive, low-carbon alternatives around the globe, such as mud brick and rammed earth. These traditional practices may also be the most sustainable options.  

History of Reinforced Concrete  

Early 20th century architects claimed that reinforced concrete is expected to last very long, perhaps for a thousand years. But in reality, they only last for 50 to 100 years, sometimes even less. Local building codes generally allow buildings to last for many decades. However, deterioration may begin in as few as ten years.  

Many architects and engineers point to the natural relationship between concrete and steel. They have identical thermal expansion properties, and the concrete’s alkalinity may help resist corrosion. But there’s still that lack of information and knowledge about their other properties in relation to temperature changes that are associated with sun exposure.  

Why Use Steel? 

The various alternative materials that can be used for concrete construction, like stainless steel, fiber polymer composites, and bronze aluminum aren’t commonly used still. Developers find the ease of reinforcing plain steel to be much more appealing. But many developers and designers refuse to consider the ongoing costs of concrete repair, replacement, or maintenance.  

 There are strategies that can solve the steel corrosion issue, like cathodic protection, where rust-inhibiting electrical currents hold the entire structure together. There may also be new interesting approaches for monitoring corrosion, which is done by acoustic or electrical means.  

Hiring Qualified Concrete Experts 

It is difficult and expensive to recycle concrete. Over time, reinforced concrete decreases its strength and may catalyze certain chemical reactions that accelerate its decay. The world needs to reduce its concrete use but this will not be possible without constructing long-lasting buildings. If you need more information about concrete, click here. 

The Important Aspects of Concrete Installation

Concreting is among the most important processes of building construction. Property owners are paying huge sums of money for the concreting process and other similar civil works. For the correct execution of the concreting processes, the following things need to be tested. An experienced site engineer should also be hired to oversee these processes.   

 1. Stability checking   

 Centering and formwork must be checked to assure appropriate level, support, and alignment. They may collapse during concreting in case the supports aren’t stable and strong. This can be a serious safety problem and may result in a total waste of time, money, and resources. Before, during, and after the concreting process, an independent supervisor must observe the efficiency of all centering and shuttering supports.  

 2. Proper plank and plate installation   

 Plates and planks have to be properly checked and oiled by the site engineer. In case the plates weren’t oiled properly, they may get damaged when the plates are stricken. If that happens, damage to the concrete surface will occur, and it’s going to be a bit difficult to repair. It will also lead to a poor finish.  

 3. Sealing   

 Holes must be thoroughly checked and properly sealed. If the concrete is not sealed, then it will have holes where leakage may occur. Water leaking through the concrete will give it an unsuitable finish.  

 4. Strengthening   

 Before starting the concreting process, all reinforcement details must be reviewed according to the blueprints. It should be thoroughly checked for bar width, lap joints, cut length, bar length extension, beam-column joints, and footing. Improper placement and detailing of the structural element will lead to poor working conditions and even structural failures.  

 5. Reinforcement  

 Reinforcement is among the key facets of concrete work. Reinforcement bars must not be exposed to the weather. If they aren’t shown in the blueprint, then they should be fitted with the minimum recommended cover. Proper bars or blocks should also be supplied with spacers. If the metal rods are not properly covered or exposed to sunlight, the result is corrosion or rust formation. It eventually causes concrete spills.  

 6. Strengthening  

 The concrete should be duly strengthened to withstand its load. The supports should be held in place to cover the lower and upper layers of the concrete. If there isn’t enough support, then the rods could be disturbed and won’t be even.  

 7. Materials 

 An adequate amount of cement, aggregates, and sand must be ensured to be on site before any construction is started. If there’s not enough material accessible when doing concrete work, then work interruption may occur. There will also be unnecessary joints within the structure.   

 8. Mixing  

 To ensure the seamless flow of labor and access to materials, position the mixer optimally.  Also, the mixing needs to be minimized and regularly checked. The proper mixtures should be added for the best results.  

 If you need more help or information about the concreting process, click here. There will be professional concrete contractors from the team to answer your inquiries about your concreting project.