How Does Moisture Affect Concrete?

Posted Oct 19th 2018

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How Does Moisture Affect Concrete?

Concrete may be an excellent, sturdy building material, but it's still susceptible to the environment around it. Even if it was mixed, poured, and cured properly, excessive moisture can still create some big problems for it. With the weather turning damp and cold it's good to know what you need to watch out for. Here are some of the ways moisture can affect concrete, brought to you by our concrete repair experts.

Expand and Contract

Water freezes and melts with the weather, and moisture (whether from rain, humidity, snowfall, or plumbing leaks) that has been absorbed in the soil beneath your concrete will do the same thing. If your home doesn't have proper draining, some areas of soil can begin to wash away, causing your concrete and foundation to shift along with it. If this continues to occur your concrete will begin to sink because the soil is no longer there to support it. Expansion and contraction can also take place within the concrete, as water enters in through pores and becomes trapped inside.

Microbial Growth

Higher than normal moisture levels in the soil beneath concrete and within concrete are an ideal breeding ground for microbial growth such as mold, bacteria, and mildew. While concrete doesn't provide anything for them to feed on, it does trap food sources like other microorganisms and dust that they can easily live off of. This growth weakens the strength of the concrete and could become a major health danger to you and your family.

Increased pH Levels

Moisture content in the air is closely connected to the pH levels in concrete. The more moisture present, the higher the pH levels will increase, which can result in a lowered durability and damaged adhesive or coating materials that have been applied to the concrete. Eventually, the concrete will begin to crack and break, eroding severely. Because of this, concrete installers have strict guidelines they must follow for different places throughout the country where moisture is more or less prevalent in the air.

Decreased Strength

Concrete is an incredibly durable material, but it is also very porous. It's easy for water to get inside and begin deteriorating its compressive strength and stability. A higher water-to-cement ratio during the mixing and curing processes can also affect the concrete's strength. As the excess moisture evaporates, the leftover voids will fill with air, resulting in a very week concrete.

The best advice to protecting your concrete from the effects of moisture is simply to keep watch of it. Inspect it routinely and look for any signs that water may be causing damage beneath or inside it, and consider having it inspected annually by a concrete expert. You can't combat the weather, but you can take precautions. Do you have any questions about concrete restoration? Contact Interwest's concrete repair experts today, we're happy to help!