Crumbling concrete can be caused by several factors, including:
- Poor concrete mixture: If concrete was not properly mixed or poured, concrete can start to crack, deteriorate or break away.
- Exposure to water: If concrete is constantly exposed to water or moisture, the concrete can start to deteriorate from within the pores. Concrete does require some moisture, but it isn’t designed to remain completely saturated.
- Freeze-thaw damage: A very common cause of crumbling concrete is freeze-thaw damage. Concrete absorbs snow and water, water freezes from within the pores, the ice pushes its way out, causing the concrete to break away.
- Age: Like everything else, concrete ages. Roman concrete is still standing – if it isn’t that old and it is crumbling, age isn’t the issue.
In order to stop further crumbling and protect the concrete from the root cause, a few steps need to be taken:
- First, you want to increase the strength and density of the concrete. Sodium silicates and lithium silicate Densifiers are very common. They will chemically react to form CSH within the pores, providing an increased strength of up to 45%. Through densification, silicates will also reduce the movement of water and moisture through the concrete.
- Next, repair any areas that are severely deteriorated. If there is a need for a structural repair, make sure that has been properly tended to.
- Lastly, you want to seal out any water. Apply a silane siloxane blend sealer (Armor SX5000) to the exposed concrete. This will cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface. It will stop concrete dusting and damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles and salt exposure.
Once the crumbling block has been tended to you want to look around at possible causes. If it is a driveway, a sealer or coating is most always enough. If it is a basement, look for water sources and work to direct water away from the house. Eliminate the cause and you have found your solution!