Cracked Concrete: What Causes it and What to do Now

RK Concrete Cracked ConcreteConcrete is one of the most durable and long lasting products you can use around your home when it is installed properly. Durable, high strength, and crack resistant concrete does not happen by accident, it is a science especially on the Wasatch Front where there are so many hot and cold cycles. It is important that concrete contractors follow the correct procedures for a great end result. Be sure it is done right in Utah with Ryan Kartchner Concrete Construction! **

Why Concrete Cracks

Cracks in concrete are extremely common and the reasons are often misunderstood. When an owner sees a crack in his slab or wall, especially if the concrete is relatively new, he automatically assumes that something went wrong in the installation. Unfortunately, some types of cracks are inevitable. The best that a contractor can do is to try to control the cracking by using the best materials and procedures available to the best contractors. As Ryan says in his friendly humorous way, "I can guarantee against fire and theft. And I can guarantee that concrete will crack...that is what it does."

Here are three reasons for cracking that can develop even in newly poured concrete, And what is the BEST answer:

Reason #1- Incorrect sub-base and settling

The first reason is that the base simply was not compacted properly before the concrete was poured. Over time the sub-base simply fails and settles under the weight of the new slab. The building site must be prepared according to your specific soil conditions anywhere in the Salt Lake City area. While some flat work can be poured right on the existing grade, in other areas 6"of base fill is required along with steel rebar for extra support.

Reason #2 - Excess water in the mix

A wide majority of concrete used in residential work has too much water in the concrete to make it easier to pour. Excess water also reduces the strength of the concrete. There is extra shrinkage due to the evaporation of this water causing the concrete slab to pull apart. Large concrete slabs can shrink as much as 1/2 inch per 100 feet.

With Ryan Kartchner Concrete you can be very sure you have chosen a reputable contractor in Utah who has years of experience selecting the proper mix to be poured. You may be tempted to pinch pennies but beware, the cost of repair and replacement will be more expensive in the end. It may be a little more expensive to do it right the first time...it simply takes more manpower to pour stiffer mixes. Ryan and his crew will do it right.

Reason #3- Improper strength concrete poured on the job

Concrete is available in many different strengths. The mix could be completely wrong for your application or could be inferior. What slump do you need? What strength? What happens if the day is particularly cold or hot? What size of aggregate is best? What about fly ash in the mix?

What you really want in a concrete mix is one easy to place, strong enough to meet the needs of the application, and durable for the life of the project. You need one that will look good when used with your decorative choices. It is so much more than how much cement is in the mix! RK Concrete will choose the one that has the right permeability, shrinkage, work-ability, stamp-ability, and stain-ability for your project design.

The Answer

More complicated than you thought? Again, with Ryan Kartchner Concrete you can be sure you have chosen a reputable contractor in the Salt Lake Valley. Their more than 20 years of experience in all kind of cement application, construction, choosing the proper mix and in design, will give you peace of mind. With all that being said, sometimes cracks happen in spite of any and all precautions taken. Cracks can also be caused by changes in the weather, freezing and thawing of saturated concrete, alkali- aggregate re-activity, sulfate attack, or corrosion of reinforcing steel.**

If cracking has happened to you, see Ryan Kartchner Concrete Construction for void-filling, lifting, grinding, and crack repair along the Wasatch Front.

**NOTE: TheAmerican Concrete Institute addresses this issue in ACI 302.1-04. “Even with the best floor designs and proper construction, it is unrealistic to expect crack-free and curl-free floors. Consequently, every owner should be advised by both the designer and contractor that it is normal to expect some amount of cracking and curling on every project, and that such occurrence does not necessarily reflect adversely on either the adequacy of the floor’s design or the quality of its construction.” (Ytterberg1987; Campbell et al. 1976)”