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Cracks In Concrete

Cracks in concrete are extremely common but often misunderstood. When an owner sees a crack in his slab or wall, especially if the concrete is relatively new, he automatically assumes there’s something wrong. This is not always the case. Some types of cracks are inevitable. The best that a contractor can do is to try to control the cracking. This is done by properly preparing the subgrade, assuring that the concrete is not too wet, utilizing reinforcement where needed, and by properly placing and spacing crack control joints and expansion joints. However, sometimes cracks happen in spite of any precautions taken.

The American Concrete Institute addresses this issue in ACI 302.1-04. “Even with the best floor designs and proper construction, it is unrealistic to expect crack-free and curl-free floors. Consequently, every owner should be advised by both the designer and contractor that it is normal to expect some amount of cracking and curling on every project, and that such occurrence does not necessarily reflect adversely on either the adequacy of the floor’s design or the quality of its construction (Ytterberg1987; Campbell et al. 1976).

For a comprehensive explanation of the many reasons why concrete cracks, see this article, Why Concrete Cracks.pdf. For information on surface crusting cracks, click Crusting Cracks post.