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Applicable Codes & Common Issues

Review applicable codes and conflicts

between CSA 2014 and ABC 2014

Review different types of concrete

required for residential construction

Discuss common issues for the various

residential concrete elements
Typical Residential Concrete

Foundation Interior Slabs on Exterior

Concrete: Grade: Flatwork:
Footings Basement Slabs Driveways,
(R-1) & (R-3) Sidewalks &
Walls (R-2) Garage
Slabs (C-2)
Applicable Codes: CSA A23.1 (concrete)
CSA A3000 (cement)
ABC/NBC Part 9 (building code)
CSA A23.1 vs. ABC/NBC

Significant changes to residential concrete classes were

made in the 2014 version of CSA A23.1
Residential concrete matched to the appropriate exposure

These changes have not been adopted by the Building Code

ABC/NBC continues to reference CSA A23.1 2009

Industry will have to decide whether or not to adopt the

technical recommendations of CSA A23.1- 2014
15MPa may be structurally adequate but is less durable for
foundation walls
The change in water to cement ratio will decrease the permeability of
the concrete by approximately 10 times
Basement slab changes (increased strength/reduced w/cm) will
make it easier to place and finish on a vapour barrier
Footings & Walls

CSA A23.1 2014 25MPa, 0.55w/cm, 4-7% air

ABC/NBC 2014 15MPa, 0.70w/cm, 4-7% air (footings),
3-6% air (walls & grade beams)
Not required for cast-in-place foundations but 2-10M bars
top & bottom is good practice
ICF reinforcement is governed by code tables

Place on stable soils with bearing pressure of 75kPa or

more (undisturbed soil, rock or compacted granular
fill)get a bearing inspection.
Requirements cont.

Test for level of soluble sulphates in native and/or

imported fill materials used onsite or assume typical S-2
exposure (32MPa @ 56 days)
Soluble sulphate levels determine required exposure class
which dictates cement type, strength etc.
Proper concrete mix designs are required to protect walls
& footings from sulphate attack
HS cement & lower w/cm
These requirements govern
when sulphates are present
Common Issues

Cold Weather
Wall Cracks
Cold Joints
Cold Weather Placement

When fresh concrete freezes it will never achieve its

ultimate strength and deteriorates once it thaws
No way to repair; all unsound concrete must be removed

Concrete needs a significant compressive strength

(25MPa) to withstand the pressure of freeze/thaw

Use of winter heat (warm concrete & accelerators)

does not replace required curing
Helps during placement and first few hours
Will not prevent concrete from freezing if it is very cold
Required Curing

Basic Curing: 3 days at 10C or for a time necessary

to attain 40% of specified strength

Additional Curing: 7 days at 10C or for a time

necessary to attain 70% of specified strength
Use for residential foundation concrete subject to
sulphates and exterior concrete exposed to freeze/thaw
& de-icer salts

Tarps and heaters or glycol lines may be required to

keep concrete above 10C
Temperature of Concrete
Time to 75% Design Strength

70 F (21 C) 8

60 F (16 C) 14

50 F (10 C) 18

40 F (4 C) 25

30 F (-1 C) 55

0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Stripping & Backfill

Concrete strength development depends on:

concrete mix design
admixtures used
environmental conditions
curing practices

Formwork prevents rapid moisture loss and provides

some insulation
Stripping & Backfill

Stripping & backfilling before concrete and gained

sufficient strength can cause structural damage to
Generally 5-7 days before backfilling
Brace walls or have 1st floor in place to provide lateral
Wall Cracks

Caused by:
Shrinkage: provide joints
Settlement/Heave: ensure subgrade is native or properly
compacted, not frozen or allowed to freeze
Structural Damage: strip and backfill at the appropriate
Frost Heave
Vertical Crack

Horizontal Crack
Cold Joints

Two adjacent concrete lifts where 1st lift set

before the 2nd lift was placed

Weak point in the wall structurally and

provides a path of moisture ingress

Ideally concrete walls are placed

continuously, if not vibrate into lift below

CSA A23.1 gives a 2hr placement window


Improperly consolidated concrete; generally an issue

for moisture ingress but can be structural depending
on severity

Need adequate workability (slump) for the

consolidation method/effort used
Lower slump requires more consolidation effort to ensure
honeycombing does not occur

Order a realistic slump from the plant and increase if

required with superplasticizer
ABC A Slump 80+/-30mm or 140 +/-40mm with
Interior Slab
on Grade
Basement Slabs

CSA A23.1 2014 25MPa, 0.55w/cm

ABC/NBC 2014 20MPa, 0.65w/cm

75mm minimum thickness

Placed directly on an air barrier system

0.15mm polyethylene sheeting, lapped 300mm
Sealed along the perimeter and at all penetrations

Supported by granular fill; 100mm or more of clean gravel

with 10% or less passing the 4mm sieve

Trowelled smooth & even (float or light broom finish is

acceptable in some places)
Common Issues

Placement on a Vapour Barrier
Set Time
Surface Defects; blisters, delamination, dusting, crazing

Thin slabs less than 75mm

Shrinkage contraction/control joins are not provided

leaving concrete to crack irregularly

Differential slab thickness as a result of uneven gravel


Settlement placement on uncompacted or frozen fill

and moisture accumulation around walkout footings
result in loss of slab support
Placing Concrete on a
Vapour Barrier
Concrete can not be finished before the bleed water
has evaporated
Bleeding takes longer when moisture has only one
direction to travel
Order a concrete mix with lower w/cm so there is less
total bleed
Finishing before bleeding is complete can result in
surface blisters, delamination, dusting and crazing
Exterior Flatwork
Driveways, Sidewalks and Garage Slabs

CSA A23.1 & ABC/NBC 2014 require:

32MPa (or 30MPa where indigenous aggregates do not
achieve 32MPa)
0.45 w/cm
5-8% entrained air (3% hardened air with spacing factor not
exceeding 0.23mm)
Considered C-2 Exposure (deicing chemicals &


Above requirements and:
300kg/m3 of cement minimum
Requirements cont.

Air entrained concrete should not be steel or hard

trowelled. A light broom or float finish should be
applied. (ABC A 9.31.6 (2))
Steel trowels can destroy entrained air at the surface
Trowelling of air entrained concrete closes the surface
and traps bleed water and air bubbles which creates a
weak zone
Common Issues

Frozen Surface
Mortar Flaking
Mortar flaking
What causes them

Inappropriate concrete and/or

Inappropriate finishing and/or
Inadequate or no curing and/or
Incorrect or no sealing &

In combination with exposure to

freezing temperatures & water (& de-
icing chemicals)
Achieving Durable Exterior
Insist on DURA-MIX & test concrete
before placing
Insist on certified journeyman finishers
Insist finishers use appropriate curing
methods for the environmental
Provide home owners with the
appropriate information regarding
sealing & maintenance
When driveway was poured and what, if
any, surface treatments were used

Know and order the required concrete

Consider CSA A23.1 vs. ABC requirement
Use appropriate placing and finishing techniques
Always plan for environmental conditions!

Ed Kalis
Director of Technical Services
and Training.