Although concrete is the most popular building material in the world, this cornerstone material is susceptible to damage. Risks include the freezing of trapped water, exposure to fire or radiant heat, aggregate expansion, the effects of sea water, bacterial corrosion, leaching, erosion by fast-flowing water, physical damage, and chemical damage. There are even micro fungi such as Aspergillus Alternaria and Cladosporium that are able to grow on concrete and produce damaging byproducts.
Creating an effective solution for each problem has been a challenge. One approach has been to tackle a range of concrete protection problems by solving a common denominator: water exposure. In this blog, you’ll learn how water impacts concrete structures and how to identify signs of water issues on concrete. Furthermore, you’ll be introduced to two industry-leading products for concrete waterproofing: Sure-Grip and Hydroclick.
Water interactions with concrete structures
Engineers have presented ingenious designs over the years to protect critical concrete structures with the purpose of minimizing exposure to water and various other compounds. While concrete typically does well against water, there are many factors that can cause structures to fail. For instance, chloride ions that are present in deicing salts and seawater are capable of permeating through concrete and corroding the underlying steel structures that reinforce the concrete.
Water can also affect concrete through the freeze-thaw cycle. Water expands about 9% when it freezes, producing pressure in the capillaries and pores in the concrete. When the pressure exceeds the tensile strength of the concrete, these pores will dilate. Over time, multiple freeze-thaw cycles will cause significant expansion of these capillaries and pores, causing the concrete to crack, scale, and crumble.
Chemicals, when combined with water to form a solution at minimum concentrations, can aggressive attack concrete structures. Acids are among the biggest aggravators. In addition to organic and mineral acids, there are also substances that contain or produce acids such as industrial wastes, silage, fruit juices, and sour milk. Additionally, water that contains bicarbonate ions (baking soda) also contains free carbon dioxide. These carbon dioxide ions interact with water in an acidic reaction that can attack concrete.
Water’s role in these various forms of concrete damage is clear. But how do you limit water exposure, especially when the concrete structure is designed to store water? The answer is a concrete protective liner that create a barrier between the surface of the concrete and the water. The typical solution has been spray-on liners, but the demand for a long-lasting, durable solution has yielded two innovative products.
Concrete protection with Sure-Grip and Hydroclick
Concrete protective liners made of high-quality resins like polyethylene, leverage the resin’s material qualities to provide a near-impenetrable barrier against water and corrosive compounds. AGRU America’s Sure-Grip has a 25-year track record of success across hundreds of applications from man-made islands to nuclear power plants.
Sure-Grip is made of HDPE, HDPE-el, PP, PVDF, and ECTFE and is produced with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. It works by combining the advantages of thermoplastics (flexible, ductile, corrosion resistant) with those of concrete (high strength, high stiffness). The result is the prevention of concrete corrosion and degradation, which can substantially extend the lifetime of a structure. The product is anchored onto the concrete to provide a barrier against exfiltration and infiltration. And unlike spray-applied liners, which have to be reapplied regularly due to cracking or delamination, Sure-Grip is long-lasting and is designed to avoid the residuals cost often associated with concrete spray-on liners.