There is some evidence that shows the presence of the most common structural damage. Here are some of the most common ones:
Signs of subsidence damage.
When there is structural damage due to subsidence, vertical deformations in the ground, leaving some unevenness visible. These can measure from millimeters to meters and appear within minutes of the triggering event or even years later.
Another sign that allows early subsidence detection is that doors and windows stop working, or it is difficult to open and close them due to the time lag generated.
Signs of wind damage
These are left on the structures on the windward side (the wind hits) and on the leeward side (the side where the wind separates from the object and takes a curvature). This generates evident marks and damage such as the detachment of the structures due to suction, sinking due to air pressure, and even the lifting of foundations.
Signs of earthquake damage
Signs of earthquake damage in buildings are manifested in the different parts of the building, both superficially and in the structural elements such as beams, slabs, columns, and reinforcement. However, some signs denote severe damage to the structures, such as:
- Horizontal “X” shaped cracks spanning an entire wall or several walls.
- Separations or cracks between the union of beams and columns.
- Cracked floors.
- Floor sinking and base slippage.
- Crushing of columns and exposure of the steel that composes them internally.
- Identifying the source of damage
Now, recognizing the source of the most common structural damages in buildings is essential to solve the root of the problem and avoid more significant risks. This recognition can be done visually or with the help of technical instruments.
To suspend the period of deterioration, efficient maintenance and repair strategies must be applied to adequately recover the structural resistance, stiffness, and safety that help extend the useful life of the buildings. These are some of the most commonly used techniques.
Concrete mass repair.
It consists of the restoration of concrete elements that suffer partial disintegration of the concrete shell; these processes are performed in a simple way when with small scale, the step to remove disintegrating or cleaning surface with jets of wet sand and washing the area until leaving it smooth, clean and resistant within the concrete mass to be reconstructed.
The area should be filled with layers of quality cement mortar no thicker than 2.5 cm per layer, or the concrete should be poured into previously placed forms.
A prevalent method to increase the strength of reinforced concrete pier and beam is to increase the cross-sectional area of the cross-sections and reinforcing bars.
For example, a beam can be strengthened by applying a layer of concrete to the compressed zone of the cross-section, or in the tensioned area, by adding additional reinforcing steel to complement the cross-section, of which the second alternative is the more feasible, since the increase in self-weight is more minor.
Similarly, the cross-section of the columns can be increased by increasing their concrete area with the addition of new longitudinal bars and ties. This increase in strength is achieved by placing an external steel tube around the original column and pouring concrete into the hole. In both cases of the increased pier and beam reinforcement, a perfect adherence between the new concrete and the existing one must be ensured, as well as an excellent continuity of the structural steel reinforcement, that is why it is essential to hire a specialized professional with vast knowledge and experience, after all, your life, safety, and inheritance are at stake, it is not a good time to skimp.