careface cracks concrete

Technical Report – Cracking, Rising Damp, Structural Integrity

Welcome to the darker side of decorative flooring

I want to cover a few topics here in a very blunt and direct nature, offering explanations on why these things occur and where it leaves us as professional installers with often, a very tough decision to make.

First I’ll cover cracking and the patching “repairs” of said cracks. Followed by a few things that only pop up from time to time, but need a little technical coverage because on the rare occasion when they do pop up, they can be confusing and hard to manage.

Maybe other professionals in the industry might be able to use this blog format to pinpoint what is happening on their project, or at least I can direct any clients of mine towards this blog to review some technical information from a 20+ year veteran.

So without further adieu and a 0% blood alcohol reading, lets get started.

Patching Repairing of Cracking

To be fair, this topic is such a blatant “logically makes sense” issue, it really does suprise me on the odd occasion when someone doesn’t understand that the decorative overlay and patching that has been applied, doesn’t stop the concrete underneath moving and the crack opening up again.

I actually don’t even know if I need to go into further detail other than that…..The Majority of people will get the point. But, for the those special few who don’t, lets talk more.

Cracking in concrete is considered by both amatuer installers and double decade structural engineers as normal and typical and nothing done during the installation of said concrete is to prevent cracking, on the contrary, everything that is done is to “control” cracking. Where, how far, what angle, what stress levels etc etc. From steel reinforicing holding the crack together, to control joints specially put in to make the concrete crack where we want it to….cracking to concrete is like bubbles in your champagne, you don’t get one without the other.

Legally from the standpoint of Australian Standards, if the control measures installed into the concrete are working effectively on the crack that has appeared, then the crack is to be considered “non structural” and not a problem. In turn, if the control measures are not working effectively, it is to be considered “structural” and in need of rectification.Either way, the warranty provided for the cracks in your concrete, is supplied over a 7 year basis by the contractor who installed your concrete.

Crack Repairs Concrete Resurfacing
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau

Filling Your Crack - Pun Totally Intended

THIS IS NOT A REPAIR!!!! (big letters in bold with exclamations!!!!)

This system of what we do is specifically called “patching”. It is common in the industry and quite normal from home domestic jobs to large commercial sites. Yes, you will have one or more of your chosen contractors come out to quote with a droopy mouth and a few missing teeth and tell you they’ll repair your crack and you won’t see it agian, but that is an absolute load of shit and you should just smile while you subcontiously tell yourself to run for the hills.

Honesty. Simple huh? Someone like myself, makes this one of the main talking points of your project during our initial consultations. Ask any of the quotes we do. I make this topic so blatantly obvious to the client, that no confusion can be present.

“What I am doing, is patching fill your crack with epoxy and silica sand, the strongest substance I have available to do my absolute best to have that crack not return, however, you should expect that crack to return, because once you start driving your 2 ton car over the concrete again, it will supress the ground underneath, cause the concrete to flex and tension again, which will reinstate the inital reason why your concrete cracked in the first place. The good news is, WHEN your crack returns, it will look somewhat like the picture above, a relatively hairline crack that is no worse than it already was.”

I can and might some day, go into a hell of a lot more technical detail on cracking, but I think this part of the blog at least describes things in enough detail so the few who can’t see anything with reasoning, might have a second opion to go through.

PS: Contractors. Stop calling these things fucking repairs. Be professionals and speak from experience. I guarantee very few of your “crack repairs” remained hidden for more than 6 months.

Rising Damp - Lack of Vapour Barrier

This one here is very uncommon. In the last 20 odd years, I think I’ve come across 2-3 of my own works that have encounted this, along with another contractor sending me some photos asking me what it was, which I was happy to explain to him the details, coming directly from experience.

This is called “Rising Damp”. I just had my latest one pop up from a lovely client that we completed some work for last year, which again, due to having dealth with this before, the cause was very straight forward.

Basically, when concrete is installed that is going to be tiled or basically be an internal floor to have coverings, as a concreter, the engineering dictates that a vapour barrier be used (Visqueen), to prevent rising damp which will in turn pop your tiles off over time, and in this case with resurfacing products, leave the sealer looking a little cloudy in the areas that it is rising.

Unfortunately, not being in control of the inital installation for the concrete, we have absolutely no idea during your surface refurb if this is going to occur or not. This latest one, has shown it’s face after we have just received 500+mm of rain in the last wet season down pour, and has primarily occured on the outer areas of the patio, along with control joint and crack infill patching where moisture can rise more easily from the sloppy ground under neath.

Damp Rising Concrete Resurfacing
Rising Damp Sealer

Here is another example sent through from another contractor. They applied a clear sealer to coloured concrete roughly 6 months ago, basically now again after the heavy down pours, the rising damp is starting to cloud the sealer on top appearing to change the colour of the concrete.

Unfortunately with this problem, there is no real fix. The only method of work available, is to firstly try and use solvent to dilute the sealer on top, hoping that the moisture in the sealer will be removed. If / when this fails (rarely does the job), a choice needs to be made to either redo the area in question, or leave it as is because, through no fault to anyone it will only keep occuring whenever heavy rains are received through outside factors that your resurfacing installer cannot control.

I know we’re always looking for someone to blame in modern society, but sometimes, accepting that shit happens, is the only thing to do when no one is to blame.

This leads me to my final topic of discussions…….

Risk VS Reward

There is absolutely no point making something look amazing if it’s not going to hold together. – Me (all the time).

We do some awesome designs and quality of work. I know I say that about myelf being a little pretentious, but I am just ask quick to point out a negative as I am to verbally uplift my own workmanship.

We do however run into tough decisions from time to time that clients sometimes don’t fully understand. There is a point where we need to leave well enough alone. To fiddle, is to lessen the structural integrity of the product, and lessing that integrity will lead to problems in the future that shouldn’t need to arrise. I’m not talking about the warranty periods that we’re responsible for, I’m talking about the long term integrity of your product install.

Take for instance the cracking issue, there is nothing that can be done to stop concrete from cracking, apart from removing the actual concrete and replacing it with new concrete…..which will most likely crack somewhere else then….because….it’s concrete ffs.

Rising damp. We hate to see this as much as you do. It sucks. All that hard work put in. But to play with the surface to try and rectify a small colour clouding issue, and run the risk of having your product not last 10 – 15 years like it should. To try and fix something that is just going to come back again next time it rains…it’s just madness.

If something does need to be done, there is a limit to how much can be done. Scuff grinding and re-coating a section that was showing an obvious miscolouration, is sometimes worth the effort in the attempt to bend over backwards to keep a customer happy. Re-doing that same process a second time to the same concrete, is most often not worth the risk for the reward to be achieved, as further degredation to the product is only going to bring forward failures at a later date for the client.

Our goal should be giving our clients a structurally strong, hard wearing coating to their concrete that is intended to last 10-15 years with simple maintenance, and then worrying how pretty it looks.

If 95% of that floor looks great with 100% structural integrity, the job is complete.Perfection lies in more areas importantly than a shade of colour from a certain angle.

Sometimes, a stand needs to be made to ensure the client has a long lasting finish, even in the face of criticism from them. After all, there is no point making something look amazing if i’ts not going to hold together. (badumtish).

Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau

Black Granite Epoxy Flake Floor at Ormeau

Project Description

Location: Ormeau
Project Size: 40sqm

Another one of these Black Granite flake epoxy floors installed this week during starting one of our larger projects. Full floor grind, heaps of crack repairs and Black Granite Flake on Black Ultra Epoxy Base and finished off with Urethane Top Coat.

Thanks Hope family, see you soon for the driveway.

Project Photos

Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
Epoxy Flake Floor Ormeau
smell the roses walker concreting gold coast

An Encouraging Scent

Holy freaking bejingles what a roller coaster the end of 2019 was.

We got smacked in the ass early into the 2nd quarter and put our nose to the grind for what seemed an eternity busting our butts to put ourselves in front again, or at least level pegging, then finally Christmas came and we found ourselves with a few weeks to unwind and relax.

Enter the Dimentia zone.

You see, nothing we do in our Walker family is….normal. We’re either smashing our heads into the brick wall in top of 5th gear at full throttle, or laying face first unable to reach the accellerator, middle ground just doesn’t exist. So when our parents decided old age wasn’t enough and they needed something to be cared for, they both decided Dimentia….at the same fucking time was appropriate.

This pulled our holiday up by a few weeks and back to reality to try our best to support / guide the situation, but I think with all situations with Dimentia, it quickly becomes apparent that the person suffering, can’t be saved, just cushioned as they enter the next stage of their life.

That’s enough about that though, no need for too much solemn text. My parents have had a full life lived rich in travel and experiences, even if the remaining years are clouded with Dimentia, I know many a soul envious of their endevours.

Given this situation, it’s brought us into 2020 with such a confused outlook. We’ve worked so hard for so long with the business, house and all of things that are life, that we’ve finally reached a stage where we can let off the throttle a bit, take a bit more time off, go fishing a bit more and re-find a balance between life and work that we all strive for. At the same time though, the inevitablity of where life is headed is in our thoughts constantly. It’s actually a little surreal and for the first time in my life, leaves me with uncertainty of how I should handle my life.

2020 so far, has begun with countless quotes, slugging it out 6 days a week and back into the usual grind that is modern day business. The fragrant aroma of promise though is in the air and pushing us towards “us” time that we haven’t had in years. There’s just a feeling in the air, that we’re reaching the peak of our climb and the sunrise is looking pretty damn good.

Today for example, we finished off a lovely project in Wellington Point, everything went swimmingly, then to do our usual 3-4 quote inspections on the way home. Camilla got an address wrong for an inspection, I maybe said a few little cuss words towards her, we rocked up to the wrong house, apologised to the home owner, to which he wanted a quote for something he was thinking about, only to have it approved on the spot for another mid sized refurb project. Pretty uncanny, but we’ll take the good when the bad doesn’t seem to give a shit what time it hits.

If that isn’t circumstancial prosperity filled with optimisim for the year to come, then I’m a Tooth Fairy wearing a fucking mini skirt.

The smell of 2020 so far is sweet, lets hope people don’t cover it in shit.

Good luck to you all for the year to come.

Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point

Concrete Grind and Resurface Refurb Wellington Point

Project Description

Location: Wellington Point
Project Size: 60sqm

We contractred this project around the end of November 2019, finally getting here last week to start work. The old resurfacing was ground back to bare concrete, epoxy / silica infill repairs to the cracking, hand trowel base coating and final application of Coal with Shale and Graphite flecking for our clients request of a subtle, bitumen appeal.

Thank you Rod and Sharon, look forward to chatting again some day.

Project Photos

Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Concrete Refurb Grind and Resurface Wellington Point
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast

Major Concrete Reworks Robina Waters

Project Description

Location: Robina Waters, Gold Coast
Project Size: 235sqm Driveway + 36sqm Garage

Our client here is selling his house early this year and contacted us for the refurb works on the driveway / garage area, getting everything up to scratch in this multi million dollar house in Robina Waters.

The driveway received a full floor grinding of all the old resurfacing back to bare concrete, major crack infill repairs throughout and finished with off set tiles in Coal / Natural colourings.

The garage was ground back and crack repaired, then our flake epoxy system in Black Granite over Black epoxy was installed, finished off with a Urethane top coating.

Thank you for your business Steve and all the best with the sale of your lovely home.

Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast

Project Photos

Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast
Major concrete refurbishment works resurfacing and epoxy Robina Gold Coast

Exposed Aggregate Driveway Extension Arundel

Project Description

Location: Arundel, Queensland
Project Size: 25sqm

Just another quick little fit in before Christmas. Time is not on our side this year. A little driveway extension poured, along with a shed extension and floor grinding of the existing patio to remove the tile glue.

Project Photos

Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank

Pool Area Concrete Resurfacing at Greenbank

Project Description

Location: Greenbank, Queensland
Project Size: 40sqm

Pool surrounds completed today in the popular Shale with White / Graphite flecking. Suited the situation well and we toned down the Shale slightly to a colour more in between Natural and Shale. Love the results. Thanks guys and have a great Christmas.

Project Photos

Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Pool Concrete Resurfacing Greenbank
Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek

Concrete Resurfaced Patio Reedy Creek

Project Description

Location: Reedy Creek, Gold Coast
Project Size: 25sqm

Quick little fill in leading up to Christmas. Grind off existing painted surface and respray with following.

Coal taped off set tile lines with Shale main colour and White / Graphite flecking

Project Photos

Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek
Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek
Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek
Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek
Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek
Concrete Resurfacing Reedy Creek
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale

Residential Concrete Make Over at Helensvale

Project Description

Location: Helensvale, Gold Coast
Project Size: 100sqm

Completed this puppy today for a full rejuvination of pathways, pool surrounds and patio section. The existing overlay was around 10 years old and run down, but it had been Urethane top coated at some stage which made grinding somewhat difficult……I won’t lie, I swore often and loud. But we got there and removed it all ready for our new coatings.

Shale Grey Main with White taped lines and White / Coal mid application flecking throughout for a nice, modern finish that will last for years more to come.

Thank you for your business McCathie family and all the best for Xmas and the New Year.

Project Photos

Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Concrete Grind and Resurfacing Helensvale
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast

Back in the mud doing what we love on the Gold Coast

Project Description

Location: Gold Coast
Project Size: 30sqm + 30sqm

You know what? I love doing our custom works. Desert Dreams to Stormy Skies and some crazy custom stamped design. But at the end of the day, I’ve spent years in the concrete doing the basic shit and it’s abso-freaking-lutely great to take a “mental” break sometimes and just go through the paces with a few simple pathways.

This week we put in two separate, plain concrete pathways for different clients.

The first set of photos was for a customer at Labrador that had 1200mm wide pathways with a 40mm x 90mm rebate along both sides for a track running system to haul loads from the back of proprty to front of property….structural pathway I suppose you could say. I finished this with a stipple but no highlighting here…..too hot…too summer…too many rebates….I’m not superman.

The second was a pathway out at River Links that we will be attending later to apply a Saxon Brown water based stain to and sealing to add some lifelike colour throughout. Finished with a highlighted stipple and hand installed control joints. Got a little unlucky on this one, even though the client was mist spraying water every hour, she still opened up with hydration cracks in a couple of spots simply due to the area was in direct 40 degree sun and it sucked the water out too quickly. Not to stress though, I’ve been around long enough to not let that ruin my day. A quick patch and repair to the small 1mm cracks before we stain and seal and you’ll never be able to tell.

Thanks to both our clients this week. Typical Christmas lead up, too many jobs and not enough hours to get them all done. Praying we don’t get any solid rain delays.

Project Photos

Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast
Plain concrete pathways Gold Coast