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Cracking Concrete Surfaces

Concrete, like other construction materials, contracts and expands with changes in moisture and temperature, and deflects depending on load and support conditions. Cracks can occur when provisions to accommodate these movements are not made in design and construction.

Finishing Concrete Flatwork

Finishing makes concrete attractive and serviceable for residential and commercial applications. The final texture, hardness, and joint pattern on slabs, floors, sidewalks, patios, and driveways depend on the concrete’s end use. Warehouse or industrial floors usually have greater durability requirements and need to be flat and level, while other interior floors that are covered with floor coverings do not have to be as smooth and durable. Exterior slabs must be sloped to carry away water and must provide a texture that will not be slippery when wet.

Hot Weather Concreting

Hot weather may be defined as any period of high temperature in which special precautions need to be taken to ensure proper handling, placing, finishing and curing of concrete. Hot weather problems are most frequently encountered in the summer, but the associated climatic factors of high winds, low relative humidity and solar radiation can occur at any time, especially in arid or tropical climates. Hot weather conditions can produce a rapid rate of evaporation of moisture from the surface of the concrete and accelerated setting time, among other problems. Generally, high relative humidity tends to reduce the effects of high temperature.

Jobsite Addition of Water

Jobsite addition of water is the addition of water to ready mixed concrete in a truck mixer after arrival at the location of the concrete placement. Such tempering of concrete may be done with a portion of the design mixing water which was held back during the initial mixing, or with water in excess of the design mixing water, at the request of the purchaser.

Joints in Concrete Slabs on Grade

Concrete expands and shrinks with changes in moisture and temperature. The overall tendency is to shrink and this can cause cracking at an early age, in both commercial and residential projects. Irregular cracks are unsightly and difficult to maintain but generally do not affect the integrity of concrete. Joints are simply preplanned cracks. Joints in concrete slabs can be created by forming, tooling, sawing, and placement of joint formers.

Plastic Shrinkage Cracking

Plastic shrinkage cracks appear in the surface of fresh concrete soon after it is placed and while it is still plastic. These cracks appear mostly on horizontal surfaces. They are usually parallel to each other on the order of 1 to 3 feet apart, relatively shallow, and generally, do not intersect the perimeter of the slab. Plastic shrinkage cracking is highly likely to occur when high evaporation rates cause the concrete surface to dry out before it has set. Plastic shrinkage cracks are unsightly but rarely impair the strength or durability of concrete floors and pavements. The development of these cracks can be minimized if appropriate measures are taken prior to and during placing and finishing concrete.

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