Concrete Repair: Selecting the Right Product for Safety and Cost-Effectiveness

Concrete is widely used in construction projects, but it deteriorates and can be damaged over time. There are many causes of concrete damage, such as variations to material specification, improper installation or wear caused by environmental conditions that lead to scaling, drying or corrosion. Quality standard inspectors are always on the lookout for these defects because they can cause personal injury, operations disruption and loss of business income.

The challenge to concrete repair contractors is to provide the most suitable concrete repair products that will restore or improve the long-lasting strength and aesthetic value of the concrete. The three things to consider to maximise the cost-effectiveness of a concrete repair product is an assessment of the structure, selection of the repair solution and working with choosing who will execute the repair. Below is an overview on how to select the right concrete repair product:

Construction Assessment

When it comes to the management of the repair, the key is to gather information about the construction. Determining information such as the construction’s history, purpose, current use and future use will be utilised to evaluate the construction’s current condition and specific areas for concern. 

Complete testing of the construction is necessary to ensure that the repair undertaken will resolve the root cause of the damage. Identifying the wrong root cause of damage will lead to the purchase and use of inaccurate concrete repair product and will only resolve the problem temporarily. Companies will also need to repeat the process, adding unnecessarily to costs.

Assessing the damage starts with an inspection for signs of visible disrepair. In certain cases where a visual inspection cannot identify the cause of damage, structural engineers or repair experts are required.

Several tests are conducted to assess the extent of the damage on the concrete and how the flaw will affect the rest of the structure. The assessment can be as simple as hitting a hammer on the surface of the concrete. If the sound that follows after the impact is dull or hollow, the concrete needs to be replaced right away. Non-destructive techniques such as carbonation, chloride content and ultrasonic pulse velocity can also be used to determine the damage and durability of concrete.

Determining the Application Method

The nature and scale of the damage in concrete also influence the selection of the repair material. If the deterioration is huge, or if the repair material needs to be applied in thick layers, the use of a shotcrete machine is required. A different method should be used if the material has to be applied in areas that are hard to access. Hand-applied repair is recommended for small cosmetic repair projects.

Choosing the Repair Materials

The physical property requirements of the material – such as drying, freezing and thawing resistance, permeability and shrinkage – vary from project to project. The evaluation of the extent of damage, size of repair work and the completion time of the job determine what properties are needed to repair the concrete structure. Other factors that may bear upon the selection of repair materials include colour, desired application, ease of application and in-place cost.

Concrete repair materials are classified into three categories:

  • Concrete patch repair compounds

Ideal for basic repairs, these materials are ready to use with the addition of water. Concrete repair contractors also supply these compounds that enhance the performance of the concrete, providing the material with an improved bond strength and reduced shrinkage.

  • Repair mortars

These commercially available repair products increase the durability and strength of the concrete's mortar, offering better protection against corrosion. Some repair mortars also help protect the embedded steel in the concrete.

  • Polymer concretes and mortars

These products are thermosetting plastic materials, consisting of epoxies, methyl methacrylates and polyesters. They offer high chemical resistance, durability and strength to concrete. Polymer products work well when repairing narrow areas and around rebars and cracks. However, polymers burn or weaken when exposed to heat, so additional fire protection is required when using them for structural repairs.

The International Concrete Repair Institute advises consulting manufacturers' data sheets, reports and test results when considering a repair product's suitability. The organisation also recommends working directly with the manufacturer or supplier to find the best product for a particular project.

When the concrete structure shows signs of deterioration, assess the situation right away and look for the right repair product and method. Doing so early on ensures the safety of everyone in the building and continued operations in the facility.

Selecting the Right Repair Solution

In 2018, a study was published on concrete repair material selection process. The results of the study was a standardised process and criteria for selecting materials for concrete repair. The process includes the following steps:

1. Identify the causes and intensity of damage

2. Assess concrete substrate which includes mechanical properties and durability properties

3. Construct the preferences which include structural application and specific requirements

4. Evaluate the repair alternatives which includes volume stability, mechanical, aesthetic and durability properties

5. Determine the best alternative using comprehensive VIKOR method

This process pinpoints which concrete repair product is most suitable for the identified areas of concern that should include concrete improvement and protection from deterioration. Coatings can maintain moisture levels and increase electrical resistance or improve the concrete’s chemical resistance to reduce scaling, drying and corrosion.

Whether the problem calls for overlays, partial depth repairs or full repairs Form Direct concrete patch repair products are high quality and are effective solutions or preventive measures to a wide range of concrete damage.

Work with Leading Industry Experts

Whether the problem calls for overlays, partial depth repairs or full repairs, Form Direct's products are a great solution. Our concrete patch repair products are of high quality and are effective solutions or preventive measures to a wide range of concrete damage.

We are a team of experts on civil projects specialising on concrete construction. We are a premium source of concrete construction supplies in Australia, and our product range meets the highest demand for specialist equipment and materials for any project scale. We pride ourselves with our stock of high-quality supplies and expert advice rooted in our deep understanding of industry needs, challenges and regulations in Australia that has earned the trust of top professionals in the industry.

We support your project from design and planning through to production and maintenance. We deliver on target and budget through insight, flexibility, innovative solutions and true professionalism. Let us know how we can help you with your project. Call us today on 1300 659 830 today, and we will discuss your needs.