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Concrete Cancer Repair – Concrete In A Coastal Environment

Overhead concrete cancer in car park. Waterstop Solutions.

Concrete Cancer Repair – Concrete In A Coastal Environment


Concrete in a salty and humid environment

As you would expect in a coastal climate as we have on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Central Coast, high humidity, salinity in the soil, salts in rainfall and exposure to a high level of airborne salts are greater along the coastline in comparison to an inland climate. High salinity levels can have an impact on the durability of some building materials such as concrete and masonry. They are susceptible to accelerated degradation such as cracking and spalling concrete caused by the higher concentration of salt and humidity in the environment.


Spalling concrete/concrete cancer repair by Waterstop Solutions

Removal of spalling concrete/concrete cancer. Repair by Waterstop Solutions

The photo above is from an underground car park. It shows the process of breaking out spalling, unsound concrete and exposing reinforcing steel until sound concrete and clean non-corroded steel reinforcing are found.

After completion of material removal, concrete primers and rust inhibitor to the steel are applied prior to reinstating with a high build shrinkage compensated repair mortar. The treatment of concrete cancer must consider appropriate waterproofing as part of a complete solution. Otherwise, the repair work may remain a temporary fix as the underlying cause is likely to continue to affect the structure, depending on the situation.

We frequently carry out concrete cancer/spalling concrete repairs on the Queensland and New South Wales coastline (Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Central Coast).


What is spalling?

Spalling is often referred to as concrete cancer, as (like cancer) the problem is not obvious initially, and as the problem advances, the remedial repairs become increasingly more extensive.

Spalling/concrete cancer is a result of water with mineral salts entering the concrete structure causing the reinforcing steel to rust deep within the concrete. As steel rusts, it can expand up to seven (7) times its original size causing the surrounding concrete to be displaced and break away from the rebar or reo (reinforcing steel).

The small rust stain may just be a simple thing like a rusting steel tie, or it could be more comprehensive such as rusting reinforcement steel.

Cracks provide easy access for oxygen, moisture and chlorides, and thus, minor splitting cracks can create a condition in which corrosion and cracking are accelerated.

As soon as you see the symptoms such as a crack, seepage or a small rust stain, it is best to get an expert in to carry out an assessment. Book an assessment with our experienced inspectors by calling (07) 3205 1899 or via our contact form.


The deterioration of steel reinforced concrete, and is generally characterised by the appearance of:

  • Cracks and reddish/brown rust stains adjacent to the cracked concrete
  • Rust stains leaking out of the concrete
  • Flaking, spalling concrete
  • Bubbling, blistering, plating of concrete render
  • Leaks in overhead concrete surfaces
  • Rusting, exposed reinforcement steel pushing concrete to become loose and break away from the rebar
  • Other cracks with signs of moisture seeping through the concrete are potential problems
  • Look out for cracks showing white crystals or efflorescence. Once water enters a crack, it’s usually only a matter of time before the water leads to oxidization of the rebar/reo.


Follow this link to read more about how to repair concrete cancer: CONCRETE CANCER REPAIR WORKS – HOW WE DO IT AND OUR RECOMMENDATIONS



Are you interested in finding out more about the various remedial building services we are providing?

Please click on the image below to download Waterstop Solutions Capability Statement

Waterstop Solutions Capability Statement

Waterstop Solutions Capability Statement is now available to download as PDF. (The image is clickable and opens up a link to our Capability Statement). 




Good maintenance begins with a proactive approach to maintain, keep, preserve and protect a building. 

Remember that seepage/water ingress into areas such as balconies, basements, concrete roofs, car parks and retaining walls, should not be ignored – call a remedial waterproofing professional today for an assessment to provide you with the best solution for your situation.

At Waterstop Solutions, we carry out a wide range of remedial works to concrete structures post construction stage in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney and outlying areas in Queensland and New South Wales.

Equipped with major civil works experience, we can quickly determine the best approach to rectify all seepage and concrete deterioration issues.


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