Tomorrow’s pain points killed today

Culling future maintenance costs

This is not about getting a few more years’ life out of your Ford F100 and saving some bucks at the mechanic.

This is about concrete, construction, and proactivity.

How did the decay get this bad?

Think about the last time you saw concrete getting old. Weeping, stained cracks; maybe bits missing; perhaps you could even see the rusting reinforcement. You may know this deteriorating condition as ‘concrete cancer’.

If you yourself have the responsibility of maintaining that structure, you may have been already wondering where you would find the repair costs in your budget.

That’s quite a thought. Where is that money coming from?

Wait. Let’s take a step back.

It was so good when it was new.

Think about the last time you saw a brand-new concrete structure. Cool, hey? Strong. Durable. 100-year service life, or at least well beyond your own remaining lifespan.

When will this structure start breaking down, and what will trigger that process? Is a 100-year lifespan realistic – without any maintenance at all?

It’s best to be proactive

You’ve probably seen Kyosti Tuutti’s service life graph (and related reading in the footnote below), which shows how deterioration accelerates.

We’d like to overlay this with this suggestion: if you act early with proactive, protective maintenance, you can defer that acceleration – push out the damage line.

Modified Kyosti Tuutti damage model

This is nothing new. Have you heard the old saying, ‘A stitch in time saves nine’?

One thing we would say, perhaps controversially, is that 100-year and other long-range design lives will rarely be achieved without some form of maintenance along the way. And we submit that it’s better – and very much cheaper – to act on that fact early, rather than being complacent about the alleged service life.

Cause – and solution

You can read elsewhere about the internal reason concrete starts deteriorating early. Concrete is more porous at the microscopic level than many people realise. Deterioration is internal, and unseen. When significant cracking or rust stains appear, damage is well advanced.

All of this is why MARKHAM recommends applying hydrogel durability treatment early in the structure’s life. You can learn about the science of that too (here, here and here), but you need to know that this is a significant long-term cost saver. Application of appropriate, proven quality hydrogel treatment can enhance durability, reduce later maintenance, and delay the need for repairs. But for best results, you should act early – even incorporating the treatment into the structure on Day One.

MARKHAM has proven over decades of experience, that blocking or immobilizing the reactive contaminants that enter concrete will prevent, arrest, or significantly reduce the deterioration cycle.

Intrigued? Get in touch!

Wait, your structure is 25, 50 or 100 years old? Get in touch anyway! The correct hydrogel treatment can still go a long way to arrest deterioration or, conversely, be a valuable part of a repair process. And we strongly support repair and re-use against demolition – that’s called sustainability.

Meet MARKHAM’s INFRA-TECT system for durability of exposed new concrete; and CIVIL-TECT for protection and remediation of existing concrete.

For further reading, see Tuutti’s thesis at Lund University, 1982, “Corrosion of steel in concrete”. This examines the link between permeability, cracks, and the corrosion of the reinforcing steel.

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