Replacement of concrete buildings, bridges, roadways and other structures is becoming more and more expensive as costs of materials and labor continue their upward spiral. More attention is now being directed to development of materials for repair and restoration of concrete since, when effective, they represent and increasingly economical solution and sometimes the only alternative. Among the materials being more closely evaluated and more widely accepted are the epoxy resins. Used alone or in combination with other standard construction materials, epoxies have made repairs possible where before only replacement was considered. Although epoxies themselves are somewhat costly, their total cost often becomes minimal when the quality of repair achievable with other materials is considered. And it becomes practically insignificant when compared to the cost of new construction.
Discussion in this article involves: development of epoxies; bonding epoxies; epoxies for extensive repairs; patching; crack repair; epoxy sealers; and epoxy coatings. Many special-purpose epoxy coatings have been produced for use in the protection and repair of surfaces subject to abrasion and wear. Special formulations are available for industrial and commercial aisle and floor areas, parking garages and other areas subject to traffic wear and deicers. Normally of 100 percent solids by weight and with viscosities varying from that of a heavy oil to a heavy paste, they can be applied as a coating or even as a topping material.
The various families of epoxy resins are not cure-alls. However, in the hands of competent personnel, they can be excellent tools for the repair and restoration of concrete structures. Most manufacturers are more than willing to assist in the proper selection and use of epoxies for particular applications. Users should avail themselves of these services to get the desired results with optimum economy.