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THE M A INTENA NC E & REPA IR

O F REINFO RC ED

C O NC RETE

HIPR -709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology

The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that reinforced concrete structures have the
potential to last for prolonged periods when properly cared for using the technology and
knowledge that is currently available, and that will become available in the future.
During the 20th century, reinforced concrete became an increasingly popular building
material for everything from houses to highways, resulting in a new breed of historic
structures that will need specialized care. The main three sub-topics that are addressed
in this paper are how to properly maintain reinforced concrete, how to recognize
failures, and the treatment options available to remedy them.

Shayna L. Scott
1/29/2015

The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete

wet, and strong when cured. (Portland Cement

INTRODUCTION

Association 2014)
The field of architectural conservation is one that
must constantly evolve to include the study of

Concrete has been in use for thousands of years

non-traditional materials and building practices.

because of the many advantages it offers as a

In the mid-1900s, reinforced concrete (RC)

construction material. Concrete can be shaped in

became a prominent construction material for

almost any manner, making it suitable for almost

both residential and commercial buildings

anything, it is a good insulator (which makes it

because of its strengths and versatility.

more sustainable), and it can resist fire, rain,
wind, insects, and biological attacks. (Civil

As construction evolved, concrete became

Engineers Forum 2015)

tantamount with modern architecture and its use
became more popular and widespread. In order
to preserve and protect historic RC buildings
today and in the future, it is necessary to
understand its maintenance requirements,
failures and treatment options.
THE COMPOSITION & HISTORY OF
CONCRETE
Concrete is a mixture of water, cement and

Figure 1. Egyptian Pyramids Constructed w/ Concrete.

aggregate. Portland cement was patented in
1842; this formula has dominated the concrete
industry because of its success in construction.
The ratios of cement, aggregate and water used
in a concrete mix will greatly affect its
durability, strength and overall performance. A
concrete mixture that has too much water will
crack easily, while a mix with too little water

Figure 2. The Pantheon in Rome. Built w/ Concrete-like
Substance

will be overly porous. A good concrete mix
consists of 10-15 parts cement, 60-75 parts
aggregate and 15-20 parts water. A wellproportioned concrete mix will be pliable when

A major drawback to concrete is that it has low
tensile strength and ductility, but the addition of
steel reinforcement bars or fibers helped to
improve these properties. 1

1 Tensile strength is the ability to resist breaking under
tension.

S. L. Scott

Ductility is the ability to take on a new form.

HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology

P age |1

Figure 3. Other components such as gutters. For example. the maintenance and repair of this composite material is a science that requires the expertise of a professional. Fowler took out the first patent in the U. S. L.S. it required a Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright thorough understanding of how steel and increased the popularity and use of RC in both concrete work together. building use. The thorough analysis of a building must be complete before a maintenance or repair Today. and in France. if not they can contribute to the deterioration of RC. The Guggenheim Museum: Spiral Ramp and construction. (Forty 2012) CYCLICAL MAINTENANCE Regular maintenance is vital to the preservation of RC. Accordingly. and the age of the building. The Monier system was prevalent Glass Dome. a clogged gutter or a leaky roof can cause water damage to RC.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete Chemist and engineers led the innovation of RC. Crown Hall. In 1860. for a RC wall. downspouts and roofs must also be up-kept. Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. chemical and mechanical damage. Old HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |2 . and the unlike other building materials. a few designers patented systems for the proper use of RC in an attempt to regulate its use in Figure 4. and other findings that indicate failure must be recorded for future reference. spalling. It was not until the 1880s that the use of RC became more widespread. 1956. Existing cracks. (Forty 2012) residential and commercial sectors. the Hennebique system served as models to many RC buildings of the 19th and early 20th century. (Coney 2012) In Europe. Factors that might determine the maintenance schedule for a structure include materials. RC is one of the most commonly used construction building materials. The review of existing maintenance and repair records is recommended prior to the commencement of new repairs or the development of maintenance schedules. Illinois Institute of Technology. efflorescence. Scott schedule is developed. geographic location. 1959. It allows for the early detection of physical. Leading architects of the 20th century advocated the use of RC and it was instrumental in the development of the modern architecture movement. Chicago.T. in Germany & Austria. Iconic buildings such as Crown Hall at the Institute of Technology in Chicago by S.

salts and acids providing a protective barrier. Strong substances such as muriatic acids are inappropriate as they may affect the RC new. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |3 . Mild detergents and water may remove heavy soils when paired with light scrubbing with a natural bristle brush. oil Figure 5. used incorrectly. causing damage to the concrete and the embedded steel. then paint and sealants are some stains are part of the historic fabric of the equivalent to skin. moisture. former repairs and professional as they can alter the surface of RC if alterations. bones in a human. It is recommended to use the gentlest cleaning method possible. (Slaton 2015) RC prior to cleaning any large surface. There is a surfeit of paints and other surface treatments available on the market. Paints should be used that are 100% acrylic-latex because of their water resistant properties. bleaching or other The use of harsh chemicals or abrasive methods undesirable reactions to occur. discrete areas of the 75 psi. It must If the walls of a building are comparable to the also be decided if cleaning is even required. permeate the porous network. but only some are appropriate for use on concrete. Wet blasting uses small particles of limestone and other similar material CLEANING METHODS in the water stream at pressures of around 35 to It is necessary to test small. The cleaning method selected should be appropriate for the level of soil on the surface. the stream should not plasticity that helps to bridge surface cracks. Without the protection of building and have bonded to the concrete. (Slaton 2015) Micro abrasive S. but only when applied by a maintenance schedules. sound concrete when there is no danger of causing damage. exceed 200 psi for historic edifices. higher The best elastomeric paints are breathable to pressures are acceptable only on high-strength. such as sand blasting to clean RC is not advisable. based paints should never be used. causing etching. not make it look A third method of cleaning RC is with the use of chemicals. it can accelerate failure of the RC. Pressure Washing on Exterior Concrete Wall. paints and sealers. (California Paints unknown) Elastomeric paint is a good Low-pressure water is one of the most common choice for concrete surfaces because it has a methods of cleaning RC. adversely. and SURFACE TREATMENTS result in the loss of historic integrity. allow water vapors to escape.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete records may contain valuable information about treatments can be effective for the removal of the buildings history such as previous heavy soil. L. the purpose of cleaning is to prolong the life of a structure.

In regions that have saturated soils. Older layers of paint are part of the historic fabric of the building. penetrates a wall. Concrete needs to remain breathable to allow the escape egress of water vapors. Waterproof treatments do not function the same as water repellents. it is advisable to test all products prior to use. Waterproof coatings can improve a concrete surface’s ability to resist external elements. causing damage both inside the wall and to adjacent materials. Layers of Historical Paint on Wall.) These products typically do not leave a film on the surface. The forceful removal of paint by mechanical means such as sandblasting could expose the concrete. see Figure 7. are only suitable for isolated areas. 2 2 Damp rising is when moisture from water saturated soil below the grade. S. 3 Impregnation is the treatment of concrete to make the surface stronger and less porous by partial or complete filling of the capillaries. and have lost adhesion to the surface. but require periodic reapplication in order for the product to remain effective. Hydrophobic impregnations penetrate the Figure 6. a condition called “damp rising” can cause austere impairment of the RC if the moisture does not have a path of egress. see Figure 8. Under the advice of the Secretary of the Interior. Scott Figure 7. making it water repellent. With water repellents.) HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |4 . 3 These coatings should be used sparingly because they often leave a film on the concrete surface and are irreversible. Cracks in Concrete Wall. The moisture then rises vertically up the wall. Existing layers of paint should not be removed unless they are “bubbling” up. Unlike “water repellent” treatments. surface of concrete and line the capillaries and pores network. chemicals. they do not block the egress of water vapors and are safe for use on RC. L.d.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete SUB-SURFACE TREATMENTS The application of water repellants and impregnations that are not hydrophobic. (Sika n.d. not doing so could cause irreversible damage to the concrete surface. making it vulnerable to invasion by moisture and n. the objective is to change the nature of the concrete by filling the pores. (Sika Surfaces should always be clean and dry prior to the application of any paint.

The salts penetrate concrete and deposit chloride ions that can cause corrosion of the embedded rebar. corrosion inhibitor to areas of the concrete that are prone to water and/or chemical damage. Figure 8. A site can be used and manipulated as an unobtrusive tool to control moisture and minimize damage to a structure. Downspouts can be environments and cause condensation. Today. deicing salts that are used to catalyze the melting of the snow can be problematic to RC. steel from oxidizing. Sloping the grade down.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete It is best to stipulate that deicing salts be prohibited from use adjacent to RC structures. Rising Damp on Concrete Wall. Water Absorbing Tree. Corrosion inhibitors can protect the embedded Figure 9. doors and other openings with improper seals can also invite water damage. other preventative vary too greatly between interior and exterior measures can thwart repairs. and efflorescence or sub florescence in the concrete. (Park re-positioned if the water runoff is too close to n. L. corrosion inhibitors were applied to rebar prior to implanting them into concrete. Efflorescence. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |5 . A regular maintenance task may include the application of an impregnable Figure 10. away from a structure is an effective way to prevent water from becoming stagnant adjacent to foundation walls. formulas exist that inhibit corrosion of the rebar via impregnation of the surrounding concrete. Traditionally. when steel expands. In regions where it snows.) the structure. Paved areas contiguous to the S. Windows. it causes damage to the concrete by exerting too much force. These products prolong the life of RC structures by shielding the rebar post-construction. PREVENTATIVE MEASURES Modern heating and cooling systems can pose a Surface treatments are just one method of problem when temperatures and humidity levels protecting RC from damage.d.

RC structures Impacts to the structure. percentage of shrinkage than if it were cool and chlorides. efflorescence and consistently wet throughout the curing process. Thermal Expansion Crack Thermal expansion is the process of concrete expanding due to an increase in temperature. A greater ratio of aggregate in a injurious of the three categories of attackers. Shrinkage can occur during the drying process erosion. The planting of trees and plants that soak up water a safe distance from a structure is another effective method to reduce saturated soil near the foundation of a building. vibration. This class of attacks includes damage that and/or dry conditions will have a greater results from alkali-aggregate reactions. Early detection of failure is critical and may be the difference between a minor and major repair. sulfates. (Sika n. rust stains and efflorescence are also signs of failure.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete structure prevent water from saturating the soil PHYSICAL ATTACKS beneath the foundation. they concrete mix can reduce shrinking during the can cause destruction to both the concrete and the curing process. Cracks may form on the surface of the concrete S. it is usually the result of extended periods without maintenance. mechanical and chemical. that are not of much consequence. Shrinkage. are less susceptible to shrinkage cracks than earthquakes and explosions are mechanical concrete buildings that do not have attacks. unfamiliarity with RC structures or insufficient funds. Cracks Indicative of Shrinkage. carbonation. In cases where damages are severe. mold. mold. Figure 11. abrasion and freeze/thaw cycles are and may produce a random pattern of fine cracks examples of physical attack. overloading. Chemical attacks are perhaps the most reinforcements. Figure 12. movement.d.) One of the most recognizable signs of failure is a crack in a vertical or horizontal surface. DIAGNOSING DAMAGE Reinforced concrete is susceptible to three different classes of attack: physical. Spalling. which can lead to “damp rising” as discussed earlier. acids. L. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |6 . Concrete that cures under hot rebar. thermal movement.

Figure 11. Overloading can occur when too much weight Abrasion damage is generally limited to floors from machinery or other equipment is loaded and is the result of constant traffic. Constant wear and tear can These cracks are not of great concern and can be also lead to cracks and/or pieces of the concrete easily remedied. Freeze/thaw expansion is a serious concern that requires action. Freeze/Thaw Damage. Lower pressures are more appropriate. This is imperative to remember S. more voids are created within the concrete. those voids trap water. MECHANICAL ATTACKS Overloading.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete that are vertical and/or diagonal. the cracks wear down horizontal surfaces and ultimately usually originate from the corner of an orifice. Figure 12. especially near edges. Erosion Damage. especially for damaged or weakened surfaces. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |7 . and more tension is put on the concrete as it expands. Abrasion Damage. (Penn State Uniersity nd. the severity of the damage will increase due to the already compromised state of the concrete. As the excess water dries out. L. Surface aesthetics of a building. One of the most common causes of erosion is the application of water at pressures that are too high during surface cleaning. spalling and delamination. they only detract from the breaking off. Abrasion can onto a floor. change the texture. Cleaning concrete surfaces with water pressures higher than 400 psi is a common cause of erosion. treatments are available to help resist abrasion and prolong the life of concrete floors.) Concrete made with a high ratio of water is at a higher risk of freeze/thaw damage. Freeze/thaw damage is a problem in regions that have snow and can result in cracking. Erosion is the deterioration of the concrete surface by physical or mechanical means. Figure 13. can cause severe damage to RC structures and is not always foreseeable. if it is not addressed.

within the concrete. and produces “map pattern” CHEMICAL ATTACKS Like any other building material. If the problem is not resolved. The following chemical equation defines the reaction sequence (Portland Figure 14. Map Cracking from ASR Damage. RC is vulnerable to attack by chemicals. to make sure that the structure has the load Hydrochloric acid. chemicals that cause the greatest amount of damage to RC. Cement Association 2002): Earthquakes and other movements are also Alkalis + Reactive Silica → Gel Reaction Product examples of overloading. Alkali-aggregate reactions are chemical attacks that occur when certain aggregates have a negative reaction with hydroxides. Sagging chloride and calcium-bisulfite are among the concrete is an indication of overload. The best way to prevent this type of damage is to Hydroxides occur naturally in concrete. An example of an impact is a tree that has fallen onto a building or a car that has crashed into it. acids and new use. L. aluminum- capabilities to support the new use. Water initiates the reaction in ASR. the positive side is that damage caused by these attacks is isolated to the area where the impact The product of the silica and water create a gel that expands with moisture. S. Cracks that are the result of overloading are usually diagonal and extend the length of the surface. 4 There are two distinct type of alkali-aggregate reactions: alkali-silica reactivity (ASR) and alkalicarbonate reactivity (ACR). Alkali- 4 cracking. hydrofluoric acid. (Portland Cement Gel Reaction Product + Moisture → Expansion Association 2002) Damage from these incidents can range from small cracks in the structure. to chunks of concrete completely breaking off. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |8 . Impacts are unpredictable. but Figure 15.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete when historic buildings are re-purposed for a aggregate reactions. sulfates. Overload Structural Beam. A third type of overloading can result from impacts. it can lead to spalling or complete deterioration. an engineer should always be consulted carbonation contribute to the ruin of RC. chlorides. creates pressure occurred.

It is not common produces rust.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete maintain the concrete as dry as possible. causing the concrete to become weak. Dolomite may be colored stains on the concrete are clear proof of present in historic RC structures.0. this reaction results in expansion due Once the rebar begins to corrode. These new compounds manifest as solids near the surface of the concrete. ACR is a reaction that can occur when aggregates that contain calcium magnesium carbonate [CaMg (CO 3) 2] are used. map pattern rebar corrosion. as well as those in regions of heavy snow such as Chicago are at the highest risk of corrosion. and most commonly come from deicing salts and seawater. oxidation crystallization of the minerals. Acids are often used to clean concrete surfaces. A low water to cement ratio will decrease the potential for sulfate damage to concrete. (Merriam-Webster Inc. they can HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P age |9 . magnesium and calcium are all sulfates that attack concrete in various different ways. Sodium. the compound is more commonly referred to as Figure 16. L. In regions with high humidity. 2015) Like ASR. Sulfates can also break the chemical bonds in the cement Figure 17. Spalling Damage. which takes up more volume than to encounter this damage because modern the rebar and puts pressure on the concrete. Rust advanced filtering processes. (Portland Cement Association) Chloride is extremely destructive to rebar. but if they have a pH level above 3. (Portland Cement Association) Sulfates can mix with chemicals in concrete to produce new compounds that deteriorate the concrete. Rust Stains from Corroded Steel. aggregates that contain silica should not be used. cracking may also be an indicator that ACR is occurring. technology has nearly eliminated the use of Cracking. Structures in maritime communities like Miami. Oxidation Process dolomite. potassium. spalling and delamination may aggregates containing dolomite through indicate the presence of chloride ions. S. Scott Figure 18.

lime content and the presence of HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P a g e | 10 . embedded metals. destructive compounds such as Nearly anything can be considered food. (Portland Cement Association 2015) Carbonates are created when carbon dioxides from the air react with hydroxides in the concrete. acid rain. With petrography. It can also be a fall hazard because it creates a slippery surface on Carbonation can also result in the corrosion of stairs and other horizontal surfaces.0 – 4. (Portland Cement Association 2002) Soil and Black and/or green colored stains indicate the animal waste may contain acids that are harmful presence of mold. the size. create a new.5. Likewise. amount. It is best to protect concrete with removed as soon as possible because it can be surface treatments if acid exposure is plausible. A white discoloration at the base of a wall is usually Thanks to technology. Mold and/or fungi should be to concrete. or on top of an exterior coating such as paint. Mold & Soil Stains. Scott quantity of aggregates used in existing concrete can be determined. Another advantage that concrete has is that new mortars and/or concrete can be matched to existing materials. which has a pH level of 4. This occurs most often in areas with high levels of air pollution and/or high humidity. Concrete has an advantage over other materials because it is uniform. as opposed to other construction methods that rely on large quantities of small units such as bricks or wood. constantly moist. hazardous to human health. Efflorescence. Acids combine with water to prevalent where there is moisture and food. Mold can occur on concrete directly. (Portland Cement Association) Efflorescence is a condition that occurs when salts are trapped in the walls of concrete. type and Figure 19. L.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete cause etching. can now be completed without diminishing the integrity of the building. creating an almost seamless repair. This is Figure 20. including microorganisms that are found in dust. Areas that are shaded from the sun. REPAIR METHODS FOR RC usually the result of “damp rising”. ratios of water to cement. or where the metal is embedded too close to the surface of the concrete are more vulnerable susceptible to damage from carbonation. repairs to RC structures indicative of efflorescence. Mold is most S.

Tech Notes TN004 Cracking n. such as spalling.d. Large cracks should be filled or injected with Each case is unique and no two repairs will be the same. and the history of a structure. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P a g e | 11 .d. or are RC structures for better matching. lightweight. and have a quick dry time are ideal for patch repairs. but and an experienced professional can transfer those cracks into joints to accommodate movement in the structure and prevent further damage. Repair of Small. the result of more serious damage such as settlement and load bearing issues are Repairs to RC structures are divided into two categories: concrete and rebar repairs. (Sika n. CONCRETE REPAIRS Fine cracks are the result of thermal expansion. (n.) complex as the rebar being replaced. Cracks should be exposed and filled most appropriate mortar to use for patching large with a waterproof sealer. A concrete repair can be as simple as filling in a crack. n. but it is advisable to fill Severe damage to concrete.. In the case that an entire section needs to be recast or replaced. rebar repairs can be as simple as slowing down the rate of corrosion. 16-17) appropriate repair method can be determined. Once the new concrete and existing concrete match properties. consist of a onecompound polyurethane and are durable. may them to prevent the infiltration of moisture and require mortar patching or replacement. minor repair. The chemicals. or as detailed as re-casting or replacement. Similarly. These cracks are typically not a threat to the structure. are active.) Cracks typically occur where tension is greatest. (CFA. or shrinkage during the curing phase. or as concerning.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete admixtures can be determined prior to repairs to Cracks that are ¼” or greater. Dormant Crack.d. It is also important to investigate and rectify the cause of the damage prior to making repairs to prevent the problem from reoccurring. it may be necessary to remove a sample of the existing concrete to analyze its chemical and physical composition. the most materials that have plasticity. These cracks are usually dormant and only require Figure 22.) Mortars that have very low shrinkage. S. the new cast is attached with high Figure 21. By analyzing the damage that needs repairing. (Speiwick sealing agent.d. are corrosion inhibiting. L. Transfer of Crack to Contraction Joint. or other appropriate voids in RC surfaces is M90 mortar.

5 Flexural strength is a measure of tensile strength of concrete. Installation of External Plates. but it may be a better option than replacement. S. The treatment takes approximately 4-6 weeks to be fully effective and is reversible. be pliable for good workability. (Bromfield 1996) Figure 23. non-invasive method used to prevent the corrosion of rebar inside the concrete. all of the same qualities as mortars used in patching repairs. Stitching Repair of Concrete. restore and/or increase the load carrying capacity of beams in RC structures. Staples span Figure 24. (The Constructor 2014) Electrochemical chloride extraction (ECE) is a temporary. the affected area in varying lengths after holes are drilled into the concrete on either side of the REBAR REPAIRS crack. epoxies and grouts alone are insufficient to repair severe damage to concrete.d. L.. 5 The plates are secured using collar anchors and can extend the life of a RC structure. In the case that mortars. Stitching is not ideal because it decreases flexibility in the concrete. and additionally they should have a high density with the ability to resist carbonation. a method called “stitching” can be employed.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete strength grouts. be able to expand during the curing process. They are suitable for use in historic structures because the treatment is reversible. and/or cement mortars that External steel plates are used specifically to contain epoxy. and provide a moisture barrier. The current from the power supply forces the negative ions to move towards the surface of the concrete and away from the passive layer. see Figure 24. (Sika n. which protects the steel. low cost and ability to increase the flexural property of concrete. It uses a power supply and monitoring system to apply 50 volts of direct current to the rebar. 20-21) Mortars used for structural repairs should have been in use since 1990 and have gained popularity for their ease of installation. These plates have Products used in the repair should have good strength. The repair should be blended to be as seamless as possible to retain the integrity of the structure. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P a g e | 12 .

which protect the embedded steel. (Bromfield 1996) the treatment and it may have to be repeated.d) Another way to control corrosion of the rebar is by converting the surface of the metal into a cathode. The implementation of a CP system creates new hydroxyl ions in the concrete. The difference is that a wet anode is significantly by decreasing the level of chemical placed at the surface of the concrete that contains saturation in the pore network. The positive charge is redirected to an anode that is isolated and will not cause damage to the RC structure. Positive ions travel from the because this treatment is not permanent. and restore the passive layer created by hydroxyl ions in concrete. L. 6 The corrosion of steel and other metals is an electrochemical reaction that only occurs with a presence of negatively charged or anodic ions. (Bastidas n. S. CP requires the permanent installation of a power supply and control systems to maintain a constant negative charge around the embedded metal. see Figure 26. The same principles as cathodic protection are applied to this treatment see 6 A cathode is the positively charged area in an electrochemical reaction. (Coney 2012) CP has been very successful in the repair of historic RC structures.The Maintenance & Repair of Reinforced Concrete ECE can decrease the rate of corrosion Figure 27. re-builds the passive alkaline layer that protects the rebar and repels chloride ions. calcium carbonate. heavy surface inwards under electro-osmotic-pressure precipitation can interrupt the effectiveness of and re-alkalize the concrete. Scott HIPR – 709 Conservation Science & Preservation Technology P a g e | 13 . this is called cathodic protection (CP). (Bromfield 1996) Re-alkalization can reverse damage caused by carbonation. However.

Electrochemical Chloride Extraction. Figure 26. Figure 27. .Figure 25. Cathodic Protection System. Re-Alkalization Process.

SUMMARY Reinforced concrete has strengths and weaknesses just like any other building material. There are already historic RC structures that are valuable to our history. The roof. the plasticity and uniform nature of concrete allows repairs to blend in a seamless way that is not possible with other building materials. Based on the information that has been reviewed. surface treatments and impregnations are available that greatly reduce the risks of attacks by moisture and chemicals. Regular cleanings of RC structures are essential and it provides an opportunity to inspect previous repairs and recognize failures. strong. online and in professional journals that can be used to make intelligent decisions about the care of this unique composite material. There is no doubt that experts in the study of RC will continue to advance and create new and improved methods of sustaining RC structures. Admixtures. and valuable building material that is worth all the time and effort that scientists. chemical and mechanical attacks. gutters and downspouts should be checked frequently to assure they are in proper working order. engineers and builders have dedicated to its development. The negative aspect of RC is that the combination of concrete and metal make the material vulnerable to a multitude of physical. it directly affects the concrete by expanding and can causing the concrete to crack. If the embedded steel rebar corrodes. and in the future. As discussed earlier. Maintenance is the key to sustaining RC structures now and in the future. The positive aspect of RC is that it is a manufactured material based on engineering and science. . it is understandable why RC has been used to build everything from small residential homes to massive highway systems. damage to the concrete will expose the steel to attacks from the elements. and water should be diverted away from the structure whenever possible. Technology and scientific research has already provided non-destructive ways to maintain and repair RC that will preserve the integrity of the material. The least invasive treatment should always be chosen to preserve the integrity of a structure whether it is historic or not. more will be recognized and preserved for centuries to come with proper care. Professionals such as contractors or architectural conservators should always perform repairs. Likewise. There is a vast amount of information in books. spall or break off from pressure. It is imperative that exterior paints and coatings be well preserved to maintain the barrier that protects concrete from various attacks. the concrete is a protective barrier to the embedded steel. RC is a flexible.

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