Diagnosing Common Concrete Problems

Concrete is one of those things in life that we barely ever take notice of until things start to go wrong. Given how much fanfare surrounds DIY concreting, it may come as a surprise to know that a solid, dense surface material like concrete can actually develop a lot of structural and aesthetic problems if improperly laid. In this article, we examine some of the most common concrete problems which we are sent out to fix or replace.




Otherwise known as ‘concrete cancer’, spalling is a very serious problem and often the first symptom that the steel reinforcement in the concrete is rusting. Spalling is essentially flaking which is caused by the rusting steel expanding and displacing the concrete. Low quality materials, improper installation, using incompatible materials and not properly encasing the steel are some of the most common reasons for spalling. Spalling concrete is a serious hazard which can case structural damage and substantial costs if it goes untreated. It isn’t possible to repair spalling simply by rendering over the top and completely replacing the concrete is often the only solution.


This is when a crystalline salt deposit forms on the surface of bricks and concrete. Efflorescence occurs when salt is carried in groundwater up through porous materials. Efflorescence is more of an aesthetic, rather than a structural problem but it does stem from improper material preparation and installation. A small scale efflorescence can be temporarily managed by dry brushing and then washing the area with water and larger scale problems can be dealt with using a sand blaster.


This term refers to the distortion of a slab once it dries where the concrete will either ‘curl’ upwards or downwards which creates an uneven surface and leaves parts of the slab unsupported. The most common cause of this issue is differences in temperature or moisture between the top and the bottom surfaces of the slab. Causes of curling include improper curing or bonding techniques, high water content cement mixes, and incorrect placement of concrete joints.


Fine hairline cracks all over the surface of a concrete slab are known as crazing and they tend to be caused when the upper surface of the concrete dries faster than the lower layers and shrinks differently as a result. Crazing is chiefly caused by temperature and weather conditions but most professionals can manage this issue by starting the curing process as soon as possible.

If your concrete is old or improperly laid, chances are that it has one of more of these problems. To ensure the best result, we recommend investing in professional services. Prestige Concrete Services is one of the leading concrete contractors in Melbourne. To learn more about our range of services call 0411 440 157.