Carbonation is a quite general term for damaged concrete. This often refers to the damage caused when the reinforcements inside the concrete start to rust. Due to the fact that rust expands, cracks and tears can appear. This endangers the structural integrity of both the concrete elements themselves, as well as the larger overall structure.
The problems in relation to carbonation first started during the 1970’s. During this time, the real estate market was constantly searching for faster, cheaper methods of production in order to keep up with the growing demand. This is why manufacturers started to use calcium chloride: a flaky substance which dramatically reduces the time it takes for concrete to harden and dry. For many manufacturers, this meant an enormous increase in production capacity.
Years later, however, it was discovered that the substance had a fatal characteristic. When in contact with oxygen and water, the calcium chloride started to rust the metal reinforcements inside the concrete. This eventually lead to the deterioration of entire buildings, as the damaged and even dissolving armature had dramatic consequences for the structural integrity of many concrete structures built using this method.
How to recognise carbonation
Carbonation is recognisable through the following characteristics:
– Visible reinforcements: bare metal showing through damaged areas
– Damaged areas: tears and cracks
– Rust streaks around reinforcements
How to combat carbonation
There are a number of ways to combat the effects of carbonation. First, all affected areas will be removed in order for repairs to be made. After this, a special primer will be applied to the reinforcements in order to prevent rust. Repairs will be based on fiber-bound materials on a cement basis. Today’s modern repair materials all adhere to very strict environmental requirements and will protect the reinforcements from within. Balcony floors will usually be treated with a top-coat (available in different colors) in order to make them waterproof.
Is carbonation preventable?
Unfortunately carbonation is not preventable. It is, however, treatable. Just be sure to act quickly in case of signs of damage, as prolonged neglect can cause serious structural and financial problems.
Do not hesitate to contact Provocht.nl: we are your expert when it comes to repairing carbonation damage.