There are plenty of reasons for companies or home owners to redevelop outdoor surfaces. Commercial organisations may need to expand car parking facilities for customers or provide access for larger trucks, while home owners could require extra space for additional vehicles or desire a less labour intensive outdoor surface than grass lawns.
In any case, there are some things that you should do before you break any ground on existing concrete surfaces. If you check for moisture, assess the integrity of your concrete and map out any reinforcing cables inside the concrete you will save time and get the job done more effectively.
Ensure Your Concrete Hasn't Sustained Moisture Damage
When concrete driveways, forecourts or paths have been in place for over a decade, they will probably have taken on a large amount of moisture. How much depends on the drainage systems that transport water away from concrete surfaces, the quality of the concrete used and whether waterproof membranes have been used to reduce permeability.
If water gets inside concrete, there's a good chance that the rebars supporting it will corrode, causing them to expand. This expansion can then exert greater pressure on the concrete surrounding the bars, and in time this results in cracks appearing. In some parts of Australia, freezing and thawing will have the same effect (although this probably isn't a major concern outside higher altitude areas and the south-east).
If you suspect your concrete has taken in excessive amounts of moisture, book a calcium chloride test. This simple chemical reaction gives you a good idea of how much moisture a concrete slab is emitting, allowing you to tell whether any repairs are required.
Check for Pipes Beneath the Surface
After checking for moisture, it's sensible to check for any pipes within the concrete that could leak in the future. These pipes aren't always self-evident and may not appear in your building's plans. If you don't know where they run, this can lead to accidental damage during concrete remodelling work, resulting in sudden floods and emergency repairs, so it's a good idea to map your pipes before starting. If your plans aren't sufficient, arrange for concrete experts to either use metal detection or GPR scanning to create a picture of the actual pipe layouts.
Map Out Any Hollows, Wires or Reinforcing Cables Inside the Concrete
Pipes aren't the only thing that you'll find inside concrete floors. As noted before, steel cabling is usually present to add strength to concrete. When concrete ages, hollows can also appear for various reasons, and these may not be detectable from the outside. At the same time, electrical wires can pass underneath concrete floors, posing a hazard for contractors and a risk of damage for both homes and businesses.
So don't just focus on water pipes. Ask your concrete contractors to arrange concrete GPR scanning to create a comprehensive map of everything that lies beneath your floor. Whether it's your driveway or a business car park, you'll be surprised by what the scanners find. You'll also be delighted by the money you save when their maps make your concrete redevelopments easier to complete.