How to Prevent Concrete From CrackingBy Singapore Home Guy On November 19, 2010 Under General
Concrete is one of the mostly-used materials when it comes to building patios, driveway, shed, etc. Well, this could be an ideal option as concrete requires less maintenance, relatively durable and provide attractive appearance. The major turn off of concrete, however, is that it cracks.
You might think that not all concrete cracks as you’ve seen some concrete-made that don’t have cracks. Somewhere perhaps, but it is still safe to say that all concrete cracks. Let me explain then.
Cement, sand, rock and water are the essential “ingredients” of concrete. Once these ingredients are combined, chemical reaction occurs that creates hard material. Once this material has been worked on, the results are patios, walkways, shed, etc. As the concrete becomes hard, however, it shrinks. This shrinkage causes cracks in the concrete. So what you should do now to prevent cracks in the concrete? Just keep reading.
The first thing you need to do to prevent concrete cracks is to prepare the ground accordingly. You have to make sure that the ground has no soft areas and is level. Soft areas may cause cracks to your concrete. Thus if the ground you’re going to use has soft areas, be sure to compact them first using either hand-compactor or motorized compactor. For larger areas, motorized compactor could be an ideal choice. Once the spot has been compacted, level the surface with sand. The combination of gravel and sand works best in re-leveling ground surfaces. Next is reinforcing the concrete.
In reinforcing the concrete, you can have two options: the steel bars (also known as rebar) and the wiremesh. There are two kinds of wiremesh, the rolled and panels. Since rolled wiremesh is quite difficult to use, it is advisable to use panel wiremesh. You can cut the panels to fit with any size of concrete pad. They are also easy to move. But most people prefer using rebar. Typically, rebar is positioned on the ground in a checkerboard pattern and is tied with wires.
Once tied off, the rebar must be lifted slightly upward. That way, once the concrete is poured to the area, the rebar will be covered with concrete. You can lift the rebar using small pieces of rocks or bricks. Place them under the rebar. If positioned accordingly, the rebar or wiremesh will keep your driveway or walkways together when cracks develop.
Now you’re ready for the concrete. But wait, you should wet the ground first before you pour the cement mixture to the forms. Why? Because you wouldn’t want your ground to quickly absorb the water from your cement mixture, would you? After the cement has been placed and settled, be sure to protect your craft from direct sunlight and wind. These can cause quick drying of the cement, which may result to unpleasant cracking.
Well, it seems that the concrete has been settled accordingly but we’re not yet done, there’re more. Another way to prevent concrete cracks is control joints. You can see them almost everywhere. Most of concrete driveways and patios are done with contraction joints. You can create a control joints to your concrete using joiner, a special tool used for creating contraction joints, or concrete saw.
If you build a 4-inch sidewalk, the contraction joint should have ¾ to an inch depth through the concrete. The position of these joins may vary depending on the pad size. Let’s say if you have 4 by 50 foot patio, you can have even spacing of 4 to 6 feet. But for those who have 10 by 10 patio, you don’t need control joints.
And there you have it! Above recommendations will save our concrete from unsightly cracks and make it attractive and last longer.