Why does this happen? Good question!
The biggest cause of cracking is shrinkage according to Home Inspector Huntley IL. As concrete dries and cures it has a tendency to shrink. For every ten linear feet it shrinks about 1/16 of an inch. That doesn’t sound so bad, but that amount of shrinkage causes powerful internal stresses and tension. The tension actually causes the concrete to try pulling itself apart. Eventually the concrete will crack at its weakest point.
Other cause of cracking may be improper preparation, use of improper materials, not enough concrete, misuse or abuse. Today, we are going to focus on cracks caused by shrinkage.
What can be done?
Concrete doesn’t need much water to obtain its full strength. Too much water in the concrete mixture can weaken the mixture and cause excessive cracking. Many times more water is added to make the concrete easier to install. The evaporation of the excess water is what causes the shrinkage. The soupier the concrete is mixed, the more shrinkage will occur. Always ensure the concrete is mixed per the manufacturers recommendations.
It is also important to prevent the concrete from drying to rapidly. This is accomplished by spraying water on the surface during the curing process or by covering the concrete with materials that will retain the water such as straw or burlap and keeping that wet.
To mask the cracks or make them less noticeable, workers add weak points called control joints. Control joints are tooled or saw cut lines in the concrete which gives the concrete a place to crack. Often the control joints are successful, but sometimes the concrete may still crack in other places.
To lessen the impact of cracks in concrete, re-bar or wire mesh is embedded during installation. These two re-enforcement materials prevent the cracks that form in the concrete from widening and crumbling. Without steel re-enforcement, cracks will grow in size and create offsets in height that can cause trip hazards.
In summary, hairline cracks in concrete are a very common occurrence due to the shrinkage involved in the curing process. If you have cracks in your concrete that you are unsure of, it is time to schedule a Maintenance Inspection. Call our office today for information or for any other questions you may have.
Concrete Crack Repair in Driveway
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