Concrete repair refers to the process of fixing a hardened concrete surface that over time has lost the ability to hold the binding concrete materials together due to damage or environmental exposure. It's used to fix cracks, physical impacts, chipped out surfaces or surface scaling, and can prolong the life of a structure well beyond its original design life. Small improvements to the concrete's quality and rigidity pays off in the long term, reducing the need to demolish and rebuild structures that could otherwise be saved.

But why does a material as durable as concrete deteriorate? A number of reasons. The primary cause of concrete damage is the corrosion of reinforcing steel and other embedded metals. When steel corrodes, the resulting rust occupies a greater volume than the steel. This expansion creates tensile stresses in the concrete, which can eventually cause cracking, delamination, and spalling. Corrosion can also occur due to carbonation, the structure's passivating layer being destroyed, dissimilar metals mixing, freeze-thaw deterioration, deicer scaling, aggregate expansion, attacks by acids/alkalines/salts/sulphates, abrasion, erosion, overload, damage by ,production operations or vehicular traffic, and more. Abrasion damage can also happen in hydraulic structures where the abrasive effects of waterborne silt, sand, gravel, rocks, ice, and other debris impinge on the concrete surface. Additionally,  when exposed to fire or unusually high temperatures, concrete can lose strength and stiffness, leading to material damage. Concrete also is prone to surface damage, such as flaking or chipping. 

The good news is that concrete is so massive and durable that sound structures with cracks and surface damage usually can be repaired to like-new condition, unlike rotted wood and corroded metal. The secret to a successful concrete repair is using the right repair product. There are different repair materials for small vs. large cracks; horizontal vs. vertical structures; shallow vs. deep holes; and localized vs. widespread damage.

Successful concrete repair is governed by the ability of the design professional to identify the root cause of the cracking, in order to adequately counteract the forces that produced it. The process begins with the evaluation, assessment, and identification of the root cause of the cracking and distress. Many unsuccessful repairs have addressed the symptom of the distress while ignoring the root cause. To evaluate and assess the root cause, the practitioner has several tools available, including visual assessment, and both non-destructive and destructive forms of testing. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, and a successful evaluation may require the use of a variety of techniques in tandem. Cracks that compromise the strength, stiffness, or durability of an element should be repaired.

Repairs take on numerous forms. In epoxy pressure injection - a system for welding cracks back together - multiple epoxy-based construction adhesives are injected into the crack to bond concrete together. Structural restoration of concrete by epoxy pressure injection is very often the only alternative to complete replacement and results in large cost savings. Injection protects the rebar and stops water leakage and restores the original strength and loading originally designed into the concrete. Epoxy pressure injection restores the structural quantities the concrete design intended. In other words, under most conditions it makes the concrete as good as new. It creates an impervious seal to air, water, chemical, debris and other contamination.

If the concrete is spalling, that is if water has entered the material and caused the surface to peel, pop out, or flake off, the repair is much more extensive. Standard practice for the repair of concrete spalls vary depending on the type of concrete element being repaired, cause and extent of damage, location of the spall and material selected. The repair material selection is typically based on such factors as properties of the repair material, climatic conditions, repair time frame, expected service life and cost. The repair process generally includes a physical inspection to document the details and extent of damages, an assessment to determine the cause of distress, the selection of repair materials and the selection of an experienced contractor who specializes in concrete repair work. Repair methods include hand applied mortars, form and pump, shotcrete and gunite repairs. 

Another method involved fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) (also fiber-reinforced plastics) - a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibers - is externally or internally installed in the concrete. FRP is engineered to increase the load capacity, strength and potentially provide protection from external environmental attack. It's effective way of regaining structural integrity in structures where internal reinforcing has been damaged, compromised or has been installed incorrectly. FRP can be applied to strengthen the beams, columns and slabs in buildings and bridges. It's possible to increase strength of these structural members even after these have been severely damaged due to loading conditions.

For strengthening beams, two techniques are adopted. The first is to paste FRP plates to the bottom (generally the tension face) of a beam. This increases the strength of beam, deflection capacity of beam and stiffness (load required to make unit deflection). Alternatively, FRP strips can be pasted in 'U' shape around the sides and bottom of a beam, resulting in higher shear resistance. Columns in building and bridges can be wrapped with FRP for achieving higher strength. This is called wrapping of columns. The technique works by restraining the lateral expansion of the column. Slabs may be strengthened by pasting FRP strips at their bottom (tension) face. This will result in better performance, since the tensile resistance of slabs is supplemented by the tensile strength of FRP.

Commercial grade concrete sealant is another solution that's popular and used for smaller cracks, up to 1/2 inch wide in horizontal concrete surfaces. It is ideal for long, skinny cracks in driveways, garage floors, patios and walkways. The sealant is a concrete-colored, latex-based liquid that easily flows into cracks and is self-leveling so you don't have to smooth it with your finger or a putty knife to make it flush with the surrounding surface. 

Concrete repair caulk is also often used to repair concrete. It comes in a tube and is applied just like regular latex or silicone caulk, using a standard caulk gun. Like concrete crack sealant, repair caulk is color-matched to concrete and can seal cracks up to 1/2 inch wide. But unlike sealant, caulk is suitable for vertical surfaces as well as horizontal. Repair caulk is latex-based and is mixed with sand to help it blend with the concrete when it dries.

Whatever your concrete needs - whether they're at marine jetties, power stations or chemical process plants – a good concrete repair job can add decades to your structure's life and safe you hundreds of thousands of dollars in restoration and demolition. Concrete repair is different than new construction, so it's essential to work with experienced concrete repair contractors to ensure the integrity of your structure is upheld. A qualified concrete repair contractor, like the ones we've listed below in Doha, Qatar, will have demonstrated experience in the specific project environment and an excellent safety record, so make sure to check up on their references before picking a vendor.

Find below a list of the top 10 Concrete Repairs & Restoration in Doha, Qatar:

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Find below a list of the top 10 products suppliers of Concrete Repair Products in Doha, Qatar:

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Chantelle D'Mello

Chantelle D'mello is an avid writer with over four years of hard news experience as part of the award-winning Doha News team. She's previously worked at Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post, and hopes to bring her passion for writing to the Qatar Oil and Gas Directory.

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