Building solutions – cracks in plaster, render, concrete and screed

A building job can throw up plenty of challenges and one of the big ones is cracks in plaster, render, concrete and screed. As building site problems go, there’s not much that’s worse.

You’ve worked hard all day, whether it’s preparing walls, ceilings or floors, only to get a call from the customer to say that what you’ve put up or laid has cracked. Cracks look unsightly, are a pain to fix and make you look bad.

To help you avoid cracks and ensure that you deliver a top-notch finish and a high-quality building job, we have put together this mini guide to building solutions for cracks in plaster, render, concrete and screed.

How to avoid cracks in your plaster and render

How can you stop cracks appearing in your plaster and render? Step one, which is an obvious one, but we’ll say it anyway, is to stop your plaster or render from drying too quickly. Step two, and this one is just as important, is to make sure that you’re using the right materials.

Shrinkage is the main reason that cracks appear in plaster and render, and most of the causes of this shrinkage are beyond your control – weather erosion, moisture movement and thermal expansion all cause expansion and then shrinkage.

So, it’s essential that you manage this movement and this is where the right materials come in (and it is a matter of management because you can’t stop shrinkage from happening). Our number one recommendation for doing this is to add a specialist plaster and render fibre solution to your mix, such as Siteworx Plaster & Render Fibres.

These fibres will absorb some of the force of the movement – they are specifically designed to minimise the impact of shrinkage – and help ensure that cracks don’t appear in the surface or surfaces you’ve worked hard to prepare

How to avoid cracks in your concrete and screed

How can you stop cracks appearing in your concrete and screed? Just as with render and plaster, it’s usually shrinkage that causes cracks in concrete and screed, although using the wrong type of concrete or screed for the application can also leave you with cracks.

So, again, it is vital that you keep the mix damp on top so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly and that you use the right materials. You’ll know all about the former, but with regard to the latter, we have a couple of tips that we think you’ll want to hear.

Firstly, you can control cracks in concrete and screed by adding control joints, and secondly, you can add a polypropylene fibre solution, such as Siteworx Concrete & Screed Fibres, to your mix – this will help minimise shrinking and, thus, cracking.

These fibres do this by dispersing in the mix and forming a matrix, which helps bind your concrete or screed together. They reduce the tension created in your mixture when it’s drying – often negating the need for reinforcement mesh – and make it more resistant to impact and abrasion.

The importance of the right building materials in avoiding cracks

Building jobs present plenty of challenges and one of the most common is cracking, whether it’s in plaster, render, concrete or screed. As a building professional, it is important that you do everything in your power to avoid this problem. Your reputation depends on it.

What we’ve aimed to do with this post is provide you with the information that you need to avoid cracks appearing in plaster, render, concrete and screed. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision about planning and the materials you use on your next building job.

With 20 years’ experience in the landscape and building industry, Growtivation understands the needs of landscaping and building professionals and has concentrated on providing high-performance solutions with our Product That Works range.

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