Concrete restoration and concrete repair is very common in Central Ohio as the extremes in weather and the fluctuations in temperatures during the cyclical seasonal changes wreak havoc on all concrete surfaces and structures. Property managers and facility managers know that this is one of the most common maintenance issues year in and year out on their properties. From heaved sidewalks to spalled curbs, concrete repair is an on-going and continual maintenance nightmare. Concrete is one of the most common and, arguably, the best method for many surfaces but all concrete needs lots of TLC. More often than not concrete is neglected and this causes many long-term repair or replacement costs that could have been avoided and/or mitigated. Concrete is not designed to last forever and is subject to a great amount of stress from heavy vehicle traffic, salts/oils, normal wear and tear from use, water intrusion, extreme hot and cold temperatures, settlement and movement of the ground/earth, and even damage from carts, trucks, accidents, etc. So, if you manage a concrete structure, such as a parking garage, be prudent by planning and budgeting necessary concrete repair and concrete maintenance.
One of the most effective ways to prevent rapid deterioration of concrete and vastly extend its service life is routinely cleaning and sealing the concrete with high quality water repellents, paints, architectural coatings, decorative water repellents, and/or traffic membranes. It is also vitally important to make certain all control and/or expansion joints are sealed tight and functioning as intended so water does not intrude into the concrete and break it down from the inside-out. Water is evil and if it goes unchecked for long it will cause structural failure and put lives in harm’s way.
For reference, years ago, Ben Espy was struck by a falling section of a building and was nearly killed. Subsequently, the City of Columbus made a law that all buildings above a few stories had to undergo a Critical Observation Report every five years by a professional structural/physical engineer (P.E.) to make certain the structures are safe. This is a very good law and it has probably saved lives since it’s inception at minimal costs to the building owners. Besides, now these building owners and managers can rest assured that their properties are safe, stable and not falling apart in the near future. What peace of mind this is for any building owner as it also limits his/her liabilities. My advice is simple–don’t play with fire! I mean water!
Thus, get your concrete surfaces and structures on your building(s) inspected by a highly trained concrete restoration contractor every couple of years or so. This will allow you to plan and budget for necessary but fairly inexpensive concrete repair such as caulking, sealing and/or patching in lieu of costly tear out and concrete replacement. It will also eliminate such common problems as trip hazards, etc. Don’t put off obvious concrete repairs either as it will cost you lots more in the long run. You will sleep better at night knowing you have done your part and there will be less expenses out of pocket in the long run. In these difficult economic times, don’t be foolish about spending a little bit now thus saving a lot down the road.
Mark Huffer, is President of Utmost Consulting and Utmost Renovations. He is a BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) Instructor on building envelopes. Mark is a leading authority on Building Restoration and Historic Preservation.
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