Concrete durability is an ever present concern: lack of reliable waterproofing, corrosion, compromised structural integrity – are all common themes that consistently reoccur. Water is the universal solvent. Given enough time, it will support deterioration, corrosion, rusting, and/or change to all building materials. We cannot beat nature/water…therefore attention to nature’s way of working are critical in our understanding of how to design, construct and maintain structures. Not all damage is the result of ‘spectacular natural disasters’ or news worthy ‘global warming events’ – some are slow and unseen but the end result can be as damaging.
The Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC is slowly decomposing as 70,000 drivers shake the bridge each day. Chunks of concrete are falling from the bridge into the Anacostia River faster than repairs can be made, though engineers say there is no danger of collapse. Rain water and humidity can find their way into the porous networks within the concrete through the smallest entry point, leading to slow, but often catastrophic damage to the structure. Millions of dollars in repair or replacement costs result for bridges with these problems, with major delays to commuters for weeks or months.
Waterproofing these structures from the inside, with permanent Integral Crystalline waterproofing protects these structures throughout their lifetime. As long as moisture remains present, crystals continue to grow throughout the concrete. As our cities continue to quickly develop, we must continue to look at sustainable solutions to protect our cities structures and budgets.