Get In Touch

Get Answer To Your Queries

Select a valid category

Enter a valid sub category


Please check this box to proceed further

What Causes Corrosion in Concrete and How to Prevent it

Concrete is a widely used construction material known for its durability and strength. However, it's not immune to issues emerging from corrosion, this is why learning how to avoid it is necessary. 


It's essential for constructors and property owners to be aware of the causes of corrosion and how to prevent it, especially considering the potential damage it can cause, both structurally and economically.


In this blog, we will delve into the causes of corrosion in concrete, exploring the factors that contribute to its onset. From environmental factors to poor construction practices, understanding the root causes is essential to devising effective prevention strategies. Moreover, we will empower you with practical steps to prevent corrosion in these structures. By implementing these preventative measures, you can ensure the longevity and reliability of your concrete creations, saving both time and resources in the long run.


Causes of Concrete Corrosion

Concrete corrosion is a complex process influenced by several factors, both internal and external. Understanding these causes is crucial for developing effective prevention strategies. Let's delve into some of the key factors contributing to the corrosion in concrete structures:


1. Water-Cement Ratio

The water cement ratio plays a vital role in determining the strength and durability of concrete. An excessive water-cement ratio can result in increased permeability of the concrete, making it more susceptible to water penetration and therefore corrosion. The excess water acts as an entry for corrosive agents, such as chloride ions, to reach the reinforcement steel, accelerating the corrosion process. Maintaining an appropriate water-cement ratio is essential to minimise the risk of corrosion.


2. Shrinkage in Concrete

As concrete cures, it undergoes a process of shrinkage due to the evaporation of water. This shrinkage can lead to the development of cracks in the concrete, providing pathways for corrosive agents to reach the reinforcement steel. Cracks not only compromise the structural integrity but also weaken the structure and make it easier for corrosion to start and spread


3. Quality of Material

The quality of materials used in concrete construction directly impacts its resistance to corrosion. Low-quality aggregates or steel reinforcement with insufficient corrosion resistance can expedite the onset of corrosion. Investing in high-quality materials can significantly enhance the longevity of concrete structures.


4. Permeability of Concrete

Permeability refers to the ability of water and other substances to pass through the concrete. Highly permeable concrete allows corrosive agents to penetrate and reach the reinforcement steel, leading to accelerated corrosion. Proper mix design and the use of additives can help reduce concrete permeability and enhance its durability.


5. Moisture

Moisture is a critical factor in the corrosion process. Areas with high humidity or consistent exposure to water are particularly vulnerable to corrosion. Moisture creates an environment where corrosive agents can react with the reinforcement steel, beginning corrosion over time.


6. Strength of Concrete

While concrete is inherently strong, factors such as poor design, improper mixing ratios, lack of proper curing, and incorrect placement can negatively impact the strength. Weak concrete is more prone to damage, cracks, and eventually corrosion.



How to Prevent Concrete Corrosion?

Preventing concrete corrosion involves a combination of sound construction practices, strategic material selection, and ongoing maintenance. By taking proactive measures, we can safeguard our concrete structures from the damaging effects of corrosion. Let's explore some effective preventive strategies to prevent corrosion in concrete:


1. Quality of Concrete

The foundation of corrosion prevention lies in using high-quality concrete. Employing the right mix design, proper curing techniques, and appropriate aggregates can enhance the durability and corrosion resistance of the concrete. A well-constructed concrete structure forms the first line of defence against corrosion.


2. Epoxy Coating

Epoxy coatings offer an excellent protective layer for concrete surfaces. These coatings act as barriers, shielding the concrete from exposure to corrosive elements. Epoxy coatings not only prevent corrosion but also provide added benefits such as improved chemical resistance and aesthetics. Additionally, epoxy grout can be used to repair and reinforce damaged concrete, extending its lifespan.


3. Polymeric Fibre

Incorporating polymeric fibres into the concrete mix can help control shrinkage cracking, which is a common pathway for corrosive agents to penetrate the concrete. These fibres enhance the overall toughness and durability of the concrete, reducing the risk of corrosion initiation.


4. Proper Workmanship

Skilled and careful construction practices play a vital role in corrosion prevention, especially crucial for preventing corrosion of steel in concrete. Proper compaction, adequate cover to reinforcement, and attention to detail during construction minimise the likelihood of defects and cracks that could lead to corrosion vulnerability.


5. Use Non-Corrosive Metals

When selecting reinforcement steel, choose non-corrosive or corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel or epoxy-coated steel. These materials are designed to resist corrosive environments and can significantly increase the life of the concrete structure.


6. Use a Coating

Finally, applying a concrete coating provides an additional protective layer against external damaging elements. These coatings can range from anti-corrosion paints to sealants that prevent water and corrosive agents from penetrating the concrete. Regular inspection and maintenance of these coatings are essential to ensure their effectiveness over time and prevent corrosion in concrete.

Corrosion in concrete structures is a serious threat that can compromise their integrity over time. By understanding the root causes, such as water-cement ratio, shrinkage, and material quality, we can take proactive steps to prevent corrosion. Epoxy coatings, polymeric fibres, and proper workmanship are key preventive measures. Remember, investing in prevention today ensures the longevity and reliability of concrete constructions for tomorrow.

Frequently Asked Questions


1) Which concrete is more prone to corrosion?

Concrete with a high water-to-cement ratio, poor quality materials, increased permeability, and inadequate curing process is more open to corrosion. In addition, structures exposed to corrosive elements such as chloride, sulphates, or extreme weather conditions can also be more vulnerable.


2) What is the effect of corrosion on RCC?

Corrosion in Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) can lead to volume expansion, causing internal stress and cracking, leading to reduced load-bearing capacity and structural integrity. This, in turn, can lead to reduced load-bearing capacity, poor performance under stress, and ultimately compromise the structural integrity.


3) What is the effect of corrosion on the durability of concrete?

Corrosion enhances the permeability of concrete, leading to cracking, spalling, and eventual crumbling. These factors significantly reduce the durability and lifespan of concrete structures and increase the need for early and costly intervention for repairs or replacement.


4) What materials can prevent concrete corrosion?

Preventive materials include high-quality aggregate and cement, epoxy grout, polymeric fibres, non-corrosive metals like stainless steel, and protective concrete coatings. Incorporating these materials and tools during the construction phase ensures greater resistance against corrosion in the long run.


5) Which metal does not corrode in concrete?

Metals like stainless steel and galvanised steel are less likely to corrode in concrete due to their lower reactivity levels. Their corrosion resistance makes them an effective choice for long-term durability and maintenance savings.

 Related Articles

Recommended Videos

Tools for Home Building

Cost Calculator

Every home-builder wants to build their dream home but do so without going over-budget. By using the Cost Calculator, you’ll get a better idea of where and how much you might end up spending.



EMI Calculator

Taking a home-loan is one of the best ways to finance home-building but home-builders often ask how much EMI they’ll need to pay. With the EMI Calculator, you can get an estimate that will help you better plan your budget.


Product Predictor

For a home builder, it is important to find the right store where one can get all the valuable information about home building. Use the Store Locator feature and visit our store for more information on home building.


Store Locator

It is important for a home builder to select the right products during the initial stages of constructing a home. Use the Product Predictor to see which products will be needed while building your home.