When it comes to home repair, it is very tempting to get into DIY mode and take a shot at whichever problem we find in our properties. Concrete repairs, however, can be a bit daunting. Keep reading and you will find some pointers to help you along the way. If you run into trouble, your contractor right here in Vancouver can give you a hand.
Concrete or Cement?
We often get asked what is the difference between concrete and cement. Cement is a binding agent that is rarely used on its own. When you add sand or gravel to cement, the result is concrete. Depending on the aggregate you use, and the proportion, you get different properties such as resistance and hardness.
There are many concrete formulations, and each serves a different purpose. The three main types are concrete, mortar, and masonry cements. Concrete is we use to build structures, different aggregates are used to make it more resistant, fairing, and even expansive. Modern formulations often include polymers that make the curing process more regular to prevent cracking. These mixes have many other properties such as coloring and waterproofing.
- Mortars are just cement with a fine aggregate.
- Mortars are used to bind different construction elements together, such as bricks, walls or stones.
- However, they should not be used for any structural repairs.
Masonry cements, sometimes known as stucco, are mixes for rendering and finishing touches. These are usually proprietary mixes. They are easy to shape and to handle. They do not offer high resistance and should never be used for structural concrete repairs.
A new concrete construction is always better than concrete repair, experts in concrete determine that the repair of concrete over time can be more expensive and insecure
That Sounds Cementitious!
With all that variety, how to chose? The most important factor when it comes to concrete repairs, is to understand the cause and the nature of the problem. Are you trying to fix a crack, a chipped wall, a slab or a doorway? To repair superficial problems, you might get away with using any masonry cement. If the problem is larger then you will probably need to modify the mix yourself. Also take into consideration that concrete is very resistant but not very flexible. Depending on the location of the problem you might need to add steel reinforcements. These give flexibility to the structure and prevent the repair from cracking or simply crumbling down.
For larger repairs, especially slabs, it is often necessary to maintain the humidity of the concrete for up to 5 days, or to add a coating agent. This is crucial in hot and dry weather. Keep an eye open during the summer or heat waves.
If you want to get the best results, consult with your contractor. He can help you choose the best mix for your concrete repairs, and will let you know if there is anything else you need before undertaking your project.