In my last blog post I explored in detail the necessary steps required to prevent cracks from forming in concrete structures. The next step in crack prevention is controlling it. This is accomplished by designing your structure in a way that predetermines the location and size (width) of each crack.
The location can be predetermined by creating intentional planes of weakness within the concrete. These locations are called control or contraction joints. By encouraging a crack to form at that specific location, they help to prevent random cracking, which can be more difficult to repair.
A properly formed control joint can easily be sealed later using an appropriate joint waterproofing product. If cracks do occur between the control joints, their size or width will be smaller.
Crack size can further be reduced with proper and adequate reinforcing steel design. Good reinforcement will result in cracks that are very small. These small cracks will allow crystalline waterproofing admixtures to self-seal the cracks without any need for repair work. As an added bonus, the concrete and structure will be much stronger.
If your efforts at prevention and control are unsuccessful, you may be faced with a leaking crack that needs to be repaired. In my next blog post I’ll review common repair methods along with solutions for challenging cracks.