Help! Why is my concrete floor cracked every 8 feet?
Oooh I do love fascinating physics questions like this! Yes, I did say ‘physics’ – but don’t fall asleep quite yet! The answer to this common question is quite fascinating.
When concrete is first poured, before it has solidified and while it is still curing, it is in a ‘plastic’ state. No, it doesn’t look like one of those plastic garden chairs from Home Depot – ‘plastic’ simply means it is in a formative, impressionable state. So it’s the point when you can stick your foot in it (literally and metaphorically) and leave a permanent impression. Anyway, I digress. When concrete is in this plastic, or formative, state, it is full of water. As the water evaporates, the concrete hardens. But concrete is not just one substance mixed with water – it is a combination of ingredients. As the water leaves the mix, the other ingredients contract and shrink to fill the gaps left by the water. This contraction grinds the ingredients against each other, creating stress on the drying concrete. And what do we all do at some point under stress? Oh yes, we crack – and concrete doesn’t do anything by halves. It cracks big-time to relieve the stress. And, often unlike us, concrete knows its limits very well – a fresh pour will usually crack at regular intervals of around eight feet. This is completely normal and is actually a feature of the concrete itself – it’s not really a defect.
At Stone Surface Specialists, we get very excited about these cracks – each one is totally unique to the concrete. If you ripped out that concrete and poured it again, you would get completely different-looking (but still regularly spaced) cracks. This natural cracking is actually why a company will usually lay concrete for a driveway in big slabs of around eight foot square – they plan for and prevent cracking by laying concrete in sections small enough to handle the stress of contraction. Great for driveways, dead boring for a concrete floor.
Stone Surface Specialists geek out over cracks in your concrete because each one adds to the unique personality of your floor. We love to highlight their natural beauty with creative grinding, staining and polishing. Wowzers, you can make those babies look incredible with a bit of strategic color!
If you’ve got some dodgy-looking cracks – new or old – in your floor or countertop, give us a call and set us loose with our fancy professional art supplies – you’ll be jumping about with joy that your concrete cracked in the first place. And who knows – maybe all that jumping will create even more gorgeous cracks…..