Concrete Spalling Can Signal It’s Time for a NACE Inspection

Concrete Spalling Can Signal it’s Time for a NACE Inspectionfeatured image

Posted on December 28, 2022 by Brent Phillips

Concrete spalling is a common yet detrimental issue for municipal water towers and other structures constructed of concrete or masonry material.

Spalling occurs due to corrosion caused by moisture penetration into the concrete structure. As this corrosion progresses, it causes the surrounding concrete or masonry to expand, eventually forming cracks in the concrete tower.

Caring for A Concrete Water Tower is Essential

That repair is essential for large concrete structures such as water towers. If water infiltration is left unrepaired, it can cause extensive structural damage and potentially result in a catastrophic failure of the tank and tower.

Well-performed coating repairs on above-ground water tanks can protect the structure from water leaking and safeguard the community’s most precious commodity for years. With spalling repairs, concrete structures are better-protected long-term, helping preserve and extend the life of critical infrastructure for town municipalities.

Concrete Spall Repair

When a concrete surface becomes damaged due to exposure to extreme weather conditions or other environmental factors, unsightly cracks, chips, and pits begin forming on the surface of the concrete structure, leading to surface deterioration of protective coatings if not repaired. 

Concrete spalling repair is designed to restore the concrete bonds in a water tank so it can continue providing many years of service without overextending the municipality’s budget by replacing the entire water tank. A costly and time-consuming process for municipal water districts, since they may be left with no choice but to ship water in to keep up with high water demands.

Protective Coatings Strengthen Weakened Bonds in Concrete

The most common type of concrete spalling repair is water infiltration. When water seeps into those tiny cracks of a concrete structure, it weakens the bonds within the concrete and begins to crack further due to freeze and thaw cycles. 

Repair spalling helps address those issues by applying an impermeable coating to the surface of the concrete structure. A protective coating that prevents further water intrusion and can help protect against further deterioration or weakening of the concrete structure.

If tower coating repairs are necessary, there are a variety of FDA-approved epoxy coatings on the market today. But to ensure the highest possible quality of protection, it’s critical that the surface coating correctly address any problems while also being a suitable coating type for the substrate. 

An epoxy coating acts as a waterproofing agent for the interior walls of a water tank and helps protect it against water exposure. On the exterior a polyurethane coating is often used to help fight against environmental threats. 

These protective coatings repair and seals off affected areas from water seepage and prevents it from further damaging the concrete structure. With proper maintenance, water towers can remain in service for many years.

Routine NACE Inspections and Maintenance

To ensure tanks and towers are adequately maintained, and water infiltration measures are taken, regularly scheduled NACE inspections should get conducted. Above-ground tanks and towers will remain watertight and structurally sound by repairing a concrete spall.

Protective coatings are considered an industry best practice to prevent tank and tower failures. The highly durable material protects a municipality’s water tank from moisture exposure, UV rays, and other environmental conditions. When properly applied, epoxy and polyurethane coatings form a rigid protective shield lasting many years.

For towers affected by spalling, it’s vital to repair the coating as soon as possible to prevent further damage or risk of water contamination. While protective coatings are a great way to protect towers from water infiltration, the structures should get routinely inspected for signs of aging and weathering.

Schedule Your Next NACE Inspection

The application process for epoxy coatings is complex and should only be completed following a certified NACE Inspection and by a team of coating specialists. Whether your municipality’s water tower needs repairs or maintenance, you must start with a NACE-certified Inspection.

The team at Cunningham Inc. has an entire staff of NACE coating Inspectors and in-house coating experts under one roof. Complete an online form to begin scheduling your next NACE Inspection today! You can also contact the team at Cunningham at (602) 848-3030.