The saying goes, “It’s not if your concrete is going to crack, it’s when your concrete is going to crack”.
There is not much you can do to get around it, all concrete is more than likely going to crack over time. If your concrete contractor tells you otherwise, they are either ignorant or lying. Cracking is just the nature of concrete.
This article, however, is not meant to scare you away from choosing a concrete slab for your project. Instead, we wish to further your concrete knowledge to minimize potential cracking and help you understand that even hiring the best concrete contractor in the world or paying an engineer to calculate a design, may still lead to some issues with cracking.
How to Prevent Concrete Cracking
There is no one reason that concrete cracks, but instead there are a multitude of potential causes.
1) Crushed Stone Base
With a crushed stone base, a concrete slab is less susceptible to forces from the environment such as soils movement or water washing away the subgrade.
2) Control Joints
Control joints are the lines that are cut or tooled into the slab when the concrete is placed. These joints don’t exactly prevent the slab from cracking, instead they aid in planning where the concrete will crack.
3) Construction Joints
Construction joints are used to connect two separate slabs. Without construction joints, the two slabs could slip and push against one another. This can cause cracking and tripping hazards.
4) Concrete Mix Design
Everything from water content, air, and temperature has to be just right when it comes to your concrete mix design. Fortunately, modern concrete mix designs supplied by knowledgeable companies rarely lead to cracking.
Curing is the process of maintaining an adequate water cement ratio and temperature in concrete from the time the concrete is poured, and until the concrete has met the specified strength of the concrete mix design. Inadequate curing will ultimately lead to weak concrete that is more susceptible to cracking by allowing the concrete to dry too quickly.