Composite Strengthening Solutions: What Are Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Systems & Other Concrete Strengthening Additives

Sep 02, 2021

Even though concrete is an extremely durable material, it is not impenetrable to corrosion or weakening over time. Before the need for reinforcements arises, high-rise maintenance systems can extend the longevity of the building. However, before the deterioration begins, building owners should continuously consider the value of reinforcing their concrete structures. If the structure has passed the point where basic waterproofing no longer can prevent damage, composite strengthening solutions are the next step forward. These effective and affordable solutions are used to increase strength for reinforcement and load-bearing capacity. Using fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) systems to strengthen existing structures will involve evaluation, design, and detailing processes to properly understand the reinforcement issue. Let’s take a closer look at concrete additives, the most common type of composite material used for them, and how they improve the strength and integrity of your building. 

What Are Concrete Additives?

An additive is any material used to improve the adhesion of concrete to itself and the adjacent building materials, which reduces the risk of cracks, water penetration, and degradation.

When deciding on concrete strengthening additives, it is important to know the intended use of the additives and how they will be applied to the structure. Proper interior and exterior maintenance of the building can delay the need for additives, but they will be necessary as the building ages. 

This is especially true if the building was constructed without additives or with materials subject to corrosion and degradation, including timber. Some of the reasons for using additives are to handle a load increase, address damage to structural parts due to aging, errors in planning/construction, and also reduce stress in steel reinforcement due to cracking. 

To resolve these issues, concrete additives are used to ensure the steadiness and reinforcement of the structure. In the last 25 years, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) systems have been used for structural strengthening. The most common strategy is carbon fiber strengthening of concrete, which can be limited to straight or slightly curved surfaces but is very resourceful when used on beams and structural foundations.

What Is the Most Common Composite Used? 

The type of material used to strengthen concrete will depend on the level of reinforcement necessary. Regardless, there are a few simple things to consider. According to Structure Magazine, The most common FRP systems for concrete strengthening applications are carbon fiber-based (CFRP). Carbon has superior mechanical properties and higher tensile strength, stiffness, and durability compared with glass fiber-based systems.” Carbon fiber strengthening of concrete provides solutions to structural issues such as aging, damaged or overloaded concrete, masonry, steel, and timber structures. While being very cost-effective for structural strengthening, CFRP is also very beneficial when a structure must support an increased load. 

How Composite Strengthening Is a Solution

Without concrete strengthening additives, corrosion will occur over time, which in the worst cases could lead to the loss of an entire building. When using CFRP composites to reinforce weakened concrete, it’s valuable to know how it can be used in different types of repairs. 

For instance, FRP fabric can be very beneficial once adhered to the tension side of a structure. This will provide additional tension reinforcement and increase flexural strength, while also allowing other beneficial resources to be used in tandem, such as building waterproofing services. The adhesive systems used to bond the two together may include a primer that is used to penetrate the concrete surface and improve the bond. By providing supportive reinforcement and improving axial strength, composite strengthening solutions are beneficial for many structural building repairs. 

Save the Structure & Stress by Working With an Experienced Partner

As time passes, some aspects of a building will need concrete restoration and extra maintenance. It may be something as minor as elevator ceiling panels that need replacing or as in-depth as adding reinforcement to the structure of the building. Eventually, a building may need reinforcements to keep concrete corrosion at bay, and in other instances, add-ons to the structure may require other concrete work. Discovering that a structure needs composite strengthening solutions can be extremely difficult if your team does not know where to start or what solutions are available.

Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services today to learn more about the value of concrete strengthening with FRP materials. 

 

What Is Concrete Strengthening & How Does It Work?

Aug 31, 2021

During the construction of a building, depending on its use, elevator cab designs may be a bigger worry than the possibility of concrete corrosion. But elevators are only as good as the foundation of the building, and that applies to every facet of your structure. Improvements will most likely be needed to repair and strengthen reinforced concrete structures over time.  Depending on the type of concrete and location, additional restorations might be needed eventually. In some cases, the only requirement might be concrete strengthening; in other instances, new tactics such as the strengthening of concrete columns with fibers may need to be evaluated for their added benefits and long-term value. Let’s take a closer look at concrete strengthening, how it promotes stronger structural integrity, what to know when choosing materials, and a few other points of interest.  

What Is Concrete Strengthening? 

When an existing structure deteriorates, or alterations need to be made due to the form failing to serve its purpose, concrete strengthening is the best way to repair issues for long-term benefits.  Generally, all concrete structures are reinforced with some type of material, but building owners will inevitably need high-rise maintenance of concrete structures that won’t break the budget. Reinforced concrete results when a steel reinforcement, usually a kind of steel bar, is used to increase the strength of the structure. To create reinforced concrete, building owners turn to carbon fiber strengthening of concrete and Fiber Reinforced Polymer Concentrate (FRP). Such solutions are available for use on reinforced concrete, steel, wood, and masonry load-bearing structures. However, in some cases, concrete strengthening additives are also needed to extend the life of the concrete, control setting and hardening, and fix the general structural behavior of the concrete. 

When Is It Most Beneficial to Use?

Over time, a building can take quite a beating, its purpose can change, loads may increase, the local standards may evolve, or even historical structures may need more support. In response to this, repair and strengthening of reinforced concrete structures resist these stresses that would cause regular concrete to crack and crumble. While other resources, such as building waterproofing services, can help maintain a building for the short term, concrete strengthening will become a necessity. According to Structure Magazine, reinforced concrete will allow for the arrangements supported to have more comprehensive strength than traditional concrete, extending the long life service of the design. Using concrete strengthening, the steel supports added to larger systems will have a lower risk of erosion due to less water gradually entering the masonry work. Rather than reconstruct an entire building, it is much simpler to provide the proper reinforcements during initial construction and with all repairs. 

How to Choose the Right Material

A key component in concrete maintenance is an evaluation of materials and knowing how building maintenance will reap the most beneficial results possible. For instance, evaluating how the structure needs to be strengthened will guide the selection of proper materials for the job. 

Fiber-reinforced polymer composite (FRP) materials can be useful as well. These are made of high-strength continuous fibers, such as glass, carbon, or steel wires, embedded in a polymer mix. The fibers provide the reinforcement, while the polymer matrix protects the fibers and transfers loads between the fibers. 

Let’s consider another scenario. There may be a need to strengthen concrete columns in other situations, which can be done by reinforced concrete jacketing, steel jacketing, or FRP confining or jacketing. Columns often need to be strengthened once the load carried by the column has increased; the inclination is more than allowable, or when the compressive strength of the concrete or the type and percentage does not meet evolving code requirements. It’s up to each company to thoroughly evaluate the best ways to strengthen their assets over time, which means choosing the right form of reinforcement can literally make or break your building. That’s why it is important to choose a partner that can help your team increase property value by handling everything related to high-rise maintenance.

Improve the Strength of Your Concrete by Choosing the Right Building Maintenance Partner

When looking for a maintenance partner, it can be overwhelming and frustrating to know who is the best fit. Both interior maintenance and exterior maintenance should be a top priority when taking care of a building in every aspect possible. Working with a trustworthy partner is always the goal. Depending on the job type, the best partner can easily achieve reinforcement through carbon fiber strengthening of concrete,  jacketed concrete strengthening, or even fiber-reinforced polymer composites. It is more beneficial to add structural modifications to a building rather than build a new building from the ground up, pardon the pun. It’s always a great strategy to keep a building up to date before restorations are needed. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services today to improve the strength and integrity of your new and existing concrete assets.

Signs It’s Time for Commercial Concrete Restoration & Repair

Aug 26, 2021

A building is a valuable asset, which is why many proprietors consider the need for commercial concrete restoration. Many signs emerge when it becomes time to implement planned building services. The naked eye can see some but not all damage. Visible cracks in a concrete structure or wall of a commercial building could pose substantial hazards to the occupants inside the structure and in the surrounding area. Looking for signs of damage is easy and will reduce the need for untimely, costly concrete restoration and repair

1. Obvious, Visible Cracks in Concrete

With high-rise commercial building maintenance, part of the job means keeping a watchful eye on the exterior. Damage to concrete may not appear to be a danger, but the integrity of the building might be at stake. Look for cracking and splits in the concrete. Addressing these issues proactively will help prevent the need for a more expensive intervention by concrete restoration companies

2. Signs of Aging Like Moisture Buildup or Pooling

Another indication of damage that needs to be addressed is signs of aging. Aging looks like water penetrating the structure and pooling or leaking. With concrete buildings, excellent waterproofing can mean the difference between structure longevity or needing a repair via concrete restoration and repair in the short term. In addition to the presence of water, other signs of aging include potholes, unevenness in the building, or simply just a lackluster appearance. 

3. Flooring Begins to Sink or Dip and Other Signs of Foundational Issues

For a lot of building owners, flooring appeal and consistent quality are essential features. If the foundation crumbles, the entire building will deteriorate. When the flooring begins to dip or sink, this might signify the foundation is compromised. This might not appear strictly in flooring; signs might also be present on walls as they dip when the floor shifts. When this happens, contacting concrete restoration companies will help to fix these issues. 

4. Uneven Appearances of Concrete

The uneven appearance of the concrete can indicate the need for repairs. According to Facility Executive, ongoing building maintenance will help minimize structural damage. Each team needs a team dedicated to performing routine checks and maintenance. The more eyes on the building, the earlier a business can identify and repair the damage. 

5. Struggling With Sticky Windows or Doors

As well as signs of a damaged foundation and uneven appearances, doors or windows that stick also mean it could be time to consider contacting a contractor for commercial concrete restoration and repair

6. Visible Damage to The Walls of the Interior and Exterior

In addition to the structural damages and other issues with doors and windows, all visible damage can indicate it is time for concrete restoration or repair. Damages to the walls or floors on the interior can permeate to the outside. Seeking exterior maintenance solutions will also prevent the damages from spreading to the interior. Essentially, any damage to the waterproofing, insulation, windows, doors, walls, or roof that can be seen needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Get the Best Out of Commercial Concrete Restoration & Repair by Choosing the Right Partner 

For building owners, protecting their most valuable asset means restoring and repairing the exterior or interior concrete as needed. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services to improve the strength and integrity of your new and existing concrete assets today.