No one wants to be surprised by a new crack in their concrete floors, especially if they were just installed. Learn why concrete floors crack, how installers can prevent premature cracking, and what to do when you discover a crack.
What Causes Concrete to Crack?
Even if you hire the top concrete installer to pour your concrete floor, you may still end up with cracks down the line. Concrete is a fickle material that can crack at any point in its lifetime, from right after it’s poured to years later. As a result, it’s almost impossible to avoid cracking. Below are the common issues that can cause concrete floors to crack.
Concrete floors are a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water. Before pouring a slab, the installation crew needs to perfect its concrete mix to prevent cracks. If your mixture is extra soupy, the concrete slab will shrink significantly as the excess water evaporates, and the force of the shrinkage can cause cracks as the slab dries. However, mixtures that are too dry will harden into weak, crumbly concrete.
Pressure and Temperature Changes
It can take up to a month for a large concrete slab to completely dry and cure. The process should be gradual and uninterrupted. Patience is key when waiting for concrete to cure—putting weight on it too soon will crack it. You should also closely monitor your concrete as it dries and prepare for extreme weather because heat can accelerate the drying process and cause shrinkage. In contrast, cold conditions can weaken the concrete’s structure.
Because concrete is prone to cracking, expert installers can cut control joints into a slab after it’s poured. Control joints are intentional cracks that help prevent uncontrolled cracks from happening during the installation process. Sidewalks utilize control joints to force cracks to form in an aesthetically pleasing straight line. Without control joints, shrinkage cracking will occur randomly and threaten the slab’s structural integrity.
Lack of Foresight
Concrete flooring projects require a lot of planning. If you fail to consider how your business will use its floors, you could end up with beautiful flooring that doesn’t meet FDA regulations and can’t withstand the weight of your machinery. Before beginning a concrete floor project, you need to consider how you will use your floors, if they will be exposed to extreme temperatures or chemicals, and if your business is subject to government regulations.
The Different Types of Cracks in Concrete
There are many different types of concrete cracks that you may encounter during the lifespan of your polished concrete floors. Some are completely harmless, while others require repair. Common types of concrete cracks include:
- Plastic shrinkage cracks: During the plastic state of the concrete drying process, the slab is still pliable. As water evaporates out of the concrete slab, it leaves behind gaps that can turn into plastic shrinkage cracks. Installers can prevent these cracks by using control joints or repair them by sealing the concrete’s surface.
- Structural cracks: After concrete cures and is ready for use, it can still crack if too much weight is placed in one spot. Additionally, soil movement and water leaks can disturb the foundation below the slab, causing it to move and break. You should repair structural cracks to avoid further damage.
- Hairline cracks: Thin cracks that form in your concrete floors during the curing process are considered hairline cracks. These typically don’t threaten the structure of your concrete, but they can absorb moisture. You can repair hairline cracks by sealing or resurfacing your concrete floors.
Prevent and Manage Cracks in Concrete Floors
If you operate a warehouse, food and beverage manufacturer, car dealership, factory, or other industrial space, polished concrete floors are an affordable, heavy-duty flooring option. If you want your concrete floors to last, it’s crucial to prevent and repair cracks.
The best way to prevent cracks from occurring is to consult an experienced concrete installation company to discuss your floors’ use and structural needs. Our team at Ardor Solutions will assess your needs and identify any legal, structural, or environmental factors that you should consider.
We have over 15 years of experience installing concrete floors, so you can be sure that our installation team will take the time to correctly install your floors and prevent cracks. And if you need a team to repair your damaged concrete floors, Ardor Solutions can help you decide on the solution that will best fit your budget. Contact us today to learn how we can install, repair, or replace your concrete floors.
When you work with the experts at Ardor Solutions, you’re not just another customer or a client—you’re a partner. We’re passionate about integrating our beliefs into our company’s mission while delivering integrity and honor on every project.
Get In Touch
602 S. Main Street
Newcastle, OK 73065