If you run a warehouse, a food and drink factory, a car dealership, a factory, or any other industrial space, polished concrete floors are a cheap and durable option for flooring. If you want your concrete floors to last, it’s important to stop and fix concrete floor cracking as soon as you see them.
Concrete floor cracking can be avoided by discussing the floor’s intended usage and any special structural requirements with a professional concrete installation company.
We’ve been putting in concrete floors for more than 10 years, so you can be sure that our installation team will take the time to do the job right and avoid cracks. And if you need a team to fix your broken concrete floors, DTI Solutions can help you choose the best solution for your budget. Get in touch with us right away to find out how we can install, fix, or replace your concrete floors.
Why Does Concrete Floor Cracks
The best concrete installer in the business may not be able to prevent fractures in your concrete floor. As a fragile substance, concrete is prone to cracking immediately after being placed or years later. Therefore, avoiding concrete floor cracking is next to impossible. The most frequent causes of cracks in concrete flooring are outlined below.
A cold joint is a place where old concrete meets new concrete. It usually happens when one batch of concrete has already started to harden before the next batch is added. The old and new concrete don’t mix, so a “cold joint” forms. This is a weak spot in the concrete that could let water in.
Service Lines and Z-bar Penetrations
Most problems in concrete structures are caused by holes made in the concrete for service lines or by z-bars used to make formwork ties or temporary tie-downs in the concrete.
After the caps and bolts are taken off, cement plugs or a mixture of sand and cement are put in the z-bar holes. During the original building process, pipe holes are also sealed with a cement plug or a patch from the inside of the building.
The plug doesn’t fill all the holes in the wall or slab, and it usually loses its hold on the concrete over time. This path makes it easy for water to get into the cracks and seep through the concrete around the pipe hole.
When a hole is drilled through the concrete for the service pipeline, the coring process can damage the concrete by making cracks. Most of the time, the core hole can make it easy for water to get through the concrete structure.
Bug holes, Blow holes, Bony spots, Porous Concrete
In these situations, there is too much air in the concrete. This is usually caused by poor vibration, a form that doesn’t let air through, or a bad mix design, like not having enough fines to fill the spaces between the aggregate.
Whether or not they are flaws depends on how wide and deep the holes or gaps are.
A construction joint is a break or space between two concrete slabs where they are joined together in a concrete building. With the help of steel or plastic barriers, construction joints are put in the concrete at the same time it is being poured.
Even though they could be a weak spot that causes problems with the way the structure works, construction joints are often needed when there are multiple concrete pours.
A lot of problems with construction joints happen because their design and placement didn’t get enough thought. that could make it hard to use and break down quickly.
Control joints are planned ahead of time and put in place to keep concrete floor cracking as it cures. When the concrete is just hard enough, usually between 6 and 12 hours after it has been poured, a control joint is cut into it with a saw.
How long it takes depends on the concrete mix and the environment around it. To meet structural engineering standards, the cuts should be made at a certain distance, depth, and pattern, and only after the concrete has become strong enough but before it starts to crack internally.
When you cut too early, the aggregate gets pulled out of place and the edge along the cut gets weaker.
If you cut it too late, it will crack out of control because shrinkage cracks have already started when the concrete was still soft.
If the joint is cut too deep, the interlocking stones may not be able to carry enough weight, and if the saw cut is too shallow, the stones may crack out of control.
How to Fix Cracks in Concrete Floors
Your concrete industrial floor is bound to crack over time. Just think about all the different things your floors go through every day. But you won’t help yourself or your floors if you just leave these cracks alone.
Even small cracks can lead to bigger foundational problems that can cause safety risks and cost a lot to fix in the future. So, don’t wait if your concrete floor cracking occurs. Follow these steps instead:
1. Measure the Crack’s Width and Depth to Determine Its Severity
How you deal with concrete floor cracking should depend on how big and bad the cracks are, to begin with. Even though you should pay attention to small, surface-level cracks, they don’t need as much attention as large, deep cracks.
The smaller a crack is, the easier it is to fill and fix, which is what we’re going to talk about next. On the other hand, severe cracks may be a sign or symptom of a deeper problem, so you need to take a more holistic approach.
2. Recognize the Core Problem
In fact, if your floors have several big cracks, you’ll want to find out what’s causing them. Pressure, impact, thermal shock (sudden changes in extreme temperatures), failing expansion joints (or the lack of them), water getting in, or a combination of these are the main things that cause major cracks.
By figuring out what the real problem is, you can take the right steps to stop your floors from cracking again. For example, if water vapor from below the floor is causing widening cracks, you may need to install a concrete moisture barrier underneath. If your building has extreme temperatures, you may need to install a system that protects against thermal shock.
3. Clean Your Concrete Floors
After you’ve looked at your concrete floor cracking and fixed any bigger problems, it’s time to fix the cracks that are already there. But you need clean floors to do this right.
All oil, dirt, debris, grease, etc. on the floor’s surface and inside the cracks must be cleaned off before the crack-filling compound and sealant can properly bond and cure.
4. Fill Cracks and Let Cure
Now, the process of filling can start. Different materials, like epoxy, mortar mix, urethane cement, and more, can be used to fix cracks in a concrete floor. Most of the time, epoxy or polyurea is used to fill small, thin, shallow cracks, while cement and mortar fillers are best for larger, deeper cracks.
No matter what product is used, it must be pressed all the way into the concrete floor cracking with a putty knife or trowel to fill it and get rid of any air bubbles. The filler should then be smoothed out so that it is level with the rest of the floor. It should then be left to dry for the amount of time that was given.
5. Properly Seal the Floor
Once all the cracks have been filled and the concrete has had enough time to cure, it’s always a good idea to reseal your concrete floors to protect them from spills, impacts, and pressure, as well as stains.
A common way to seal concrete floors is with 100% solids epoxy, but urethane cement, polyurea coatings, and other solutions can also be used.
6. Consider Other Protective Options for Concrete
Traditional concrete floor coatings aren’t the only way to protect your concrete floor cracking in the future. Polished concrete floors are a low-maintenance, long-lasting, and attractive solution.
The process of polishing concrete involves grinding down the raw concrete and gluing it together with a concrete densifier. This makes the concrete surface strong and shiny.
You may realize that you need to take action if you notice concrete floor cracking, but you may be unsure of the best course of action or why it is necessary. That’s why you should consult the floor specialists at DTI.
Contact us at (209) 250-7828 or visit our website to find out more about who we are and what we do.