This is the first article in a series about common substances that attack and destabilize concrete.
Concrete is an alkaline substance, chiefly due to its primary component, cement. Therefore, if concrete is exposed to acids, it starts to break down. There are many potential sources of acidic substances and California Custom Coatings wants our clients to be aware of these so that they can protect their concrete long-term with acid and liquid resistant concrete coatings. The first substance we will examine is oil.
Concrete and Oil is Unsightly
Combine untreated concrete with motor oil (or even food oils), and you almost always end up with stains. Besides being alkaline, concrete is also porous. When oil comes in contact with concrete, it immediately starts to seep into tiny little pores, cracks and imperfections. This leads to stains that are often permanent. So a primary reason for coating concrete exposed to oils is to simply prevent unsightly stains. But can oil also damage concrete?
Long-term Oil Damage to Concrete
Many reports indicate that over the long-term, oil does damage concrete. Petroleum products contain sulfur, and when that seeps into concrete it combines with other molecules in the foundation to create acids. These acids destabilize the concrete matrix.
Food oils also cause damage to concrete. For example, the Portland Cement Association (all cement is technically called Portland cement) lists the following common oils as damaging (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Coconut oil,
- Mustard oil,
- Rapeseed oil,
- Castor oil,
- Cocoa butter,
- Cottonseed oil,
- Cocoa bean oil.
You won’t see these oils in a mechanic’s garage, but you will find them in food processing plants and restaurants (in the case of cocoa butter and cocoa bean oil, even at a chocolatier’s kitchen). Therefore, besides the typical places where petroleum products are used and seen, such as repair shops, smog stations, gas stations, auto parts stores, parts recyclers and parking garages, you also have to worry about oils in processing plants, food warehouses, restaurants, fast-food places and industrial kitchens.
- On August 16, 2018