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Concrete is among the most durable building and paving materials available to contractors and homeowners. This material does develop cracks under various conditions, which can be minimized or avoided, by methods including concrete waterproofing. Here are reasons why cracks occur and how to avoid them. 

3 Reasons Concrete Develops Cracks

1. Too Much Water in Mixture

Concrete requires water to maximize its strength and to install it properly. However, adding excessive water to the pour on the job site weakens the concrete. As the water evaporates during the concrete hardening process, the material shrinks, and shrinking causes cracking. A concrete mixture that has a soupy consistency will shrink more, and cracks develop.  Using only the amount of water required when mixing and installing the material minimizes cracking.  

2. Drying Too Quickly

The concrete curing process, by which it dries and hardens from a liquid to solid, takes days or weeks to complete. Concrete drying in the open air shrinks during the normal hardening process. However, if the material dries too quickly by using artificial means to speed the process, the water evaporates rapidly and cracking occurs. Allowing the concrete to dry slowly and naturally helps avoid cracks.

3. Swelling 

A variety of conditions cause concrete swelling, which leads to cracking. Salts in the earth that contact the concrete directly create a chemical reaction that expands the material. Another reason is when water freezes in the concrete, it turns to ice, which increases its volume. Creating these internal forces that are greater than the strength of the concrete itself causes cracks. Applying concrete waterproofing is one way of stopping exterior water from infiltrating the concrete and lessen the potential for swelling.    

As always, be sure to contact your local masonry experts for chimney repairs, fireplace repairs, tuckpointing, waterproofing and stone work of all kinds! Call Oberer Construction Company today at (513) 829-5270.

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