Understanding Concrete Spalling: Causes, Prevention, and Repairs

Concrete spalling is a common issue that can affect concrete structures of all kinds, from sidewalks and driveways to bridges and commercial buildings. Spalling occurs when the surface layer of concrete breaks off, leaving behind a rough, pitted, and deteriorating surface. If left untreated, concrete spalling can lead to more serious problems and even compromise the structural integrity of the concrete.


At Alamo Concrete Work, we understand the importance of maintaining the condition and durability of your concrete structures. In this article, we will explain what causes concrete spalling, how to prevent it, and what steps to take if you notice spalling on your concrete surfaces.


Causes of Concrete Spalling

Several factors can cause concrete spalling, including:

  • Freeze-thaw cycles: One of the most common causes of spalling is repeated cycles of freezing and thawing. When water gets into the pores of concrete and then freezes, it expands, causing the concrete to crack and break apart. As the process repeats over time, the surface layer of the concrete can begin to spall.
  • Salt damage: Salt and deicing chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also cause concrete spalling. These chemicals can penetrate the surface of the concrete and cause it to break down, leading to spalling.
  • Moisture: Water can penetrate concrete through cracks and pores, causing the concrete to weaken and spall. Moisture can also cause corrosion of steel reinforcement inside the concrete, which can lead to spalling.
  • Poor installation: If the concrete was not properly mixed or installed, it can lead to spalling. Poor installation can result in a weak surface layer that is more susceptible to spalling.

Prevention of Concrete Spalling

Preventing concrete spalling involves taking steps to protect the concrete from the causes listed above. Here are some tips to prevent spalling:

  • Use quality materials: Use high-quality concrete, aggregates, and reinforcing materials during the construction process.
  • Proper curing: Proper curing of the concrete is important to help prevent spalling. Curing helps the concrete develop its full strength and durability.
  • Seal the surface: Seal the surface of the concrete with a penetrating sealer to protect it from moisture, salt, and other damaging elements.
  • Proper drainage: Ensure that the concrete has proper drainage to prevent water from pooling on the surface and causing damage.
  • Regular maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain your concrete surfaces to detect any issues early and prevent them from getting worse.

Repairs for Concrete Spalling

If you notice spalling on your concrete surfaces, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Here are the steps to take for repairing spalling:

  • Remove the damaged concrete: Use a chisel, jackhammer, or other tool to remove the damaged concrete and expose the sound concrete underneath.
  • Clean the surface: Clean the surface of the concrete to remove any debris or loose material.
  • Repair any underlying issues: If there are underlying issues, such as corrosion or poor installation, address those issues before repairing the spalling.
  • Apply a bonding agent: Apply a bonding agent to the surface of the concrete to help the new concrete bond to the old.
  • Apply new concrete: Apply new concrete to the surface, taking care to match the color and texture of the existing concrete as closely as possible.
  • Cure and seal: Allow the new concrete to cure properly and then seal the surface with a penetrating sealer to protect it from future damage.


Concrete spalling can be a frustrating and potentially serious issue for any property owner. However, with proper prevention and repair techniques, it is possible to address the issue and ensure the longevity and safety of your concrete structures.

It is important to understand the causes of concrete spalling, which can range from freeze-thaw cycles to improper curing and finishing techniques. By addressing these underlying issues, you can prevent spalling from occurring in the first place.

If spalling has already occurred, it is important to assess the extent of the damage and determine the appropriate repair method. In some cases, simple patching may be sufficient, while in others, a more extensive repair or even replacement may be necessary.


Working with a trusted and experienced concrete contractor, such as Alamo Concrete Work, can ensure that your spalling issues are addressed properly and effectively. Their team of experts can assess the damage, recommend the best course of action, and carry out repairs to restore your concrete structures to their optimal condition.


By taking proactive steps to prevent spalling and addressing any existing issues promptly, you can ensure the safety, functionality, and aesthetic appeal of your concrete structures for years to come. So come contact or call us for more information!