Reinforced concrete bridges are designed to maintain their service and function over long periods of time. During this service life, the concrete is subjected to many aggressive influences, including variable loading and vibration, extreme weather conditions, the presence of chlorides in de-icing salts and cycles of freeze and thaw, plus air borne chlorides in marine environments.


Types of damage obtained by reinforced concrete bridges:

Concrete Spalling

Root Cause Examples

  • Steel Reinforcement Corrosion
  • Freeze/Thaw Action
  • Impact

Structural Cracks

Root Cause Examples

  • Overloading
  • Structural Movement/Vibration
  • Earthquake Impact

Leaching/ Efflorescence

Root Cause Examples

  • Water Ingress

Steel Reinforcement Corrosion

Root Cause Examples

  • Chloride Ingress
  • Carbonated Concrete
  • Stray Electrical Current

Non Structural Cracks

Root Cause Examples

  • Shrinkage
  • Thermal Movement
  • Alkali Aggregate Reaction (AAR)

Structural Steel Corrosion

Root Cause Examples

  • Inadequate Steel Coatings
  • Chloride Ingress
  • Water Ingress

Causes of Bridge Deterioration and Repair Solutions

Sika Limited provide a complete range of innovative products and systems especially designed to solve all of the challenging requirements and situations in the differing specific bridge refurbishment project requirements and site conditions.


The repair and protection of reinforced concrete bridges must always be executed according to all relevant local Standards and Regulations. After a detailed condition survey and root cause analysis, the right procedures for successful refurbishment can be defined. Standards (such as European Standard EN 1504-9) define Principles and Methods to be refurbish damaged concrete. Please refer to our Brochure ‘The Repair and Protection of Reinforced Concrete with Sika’ for more information relating to repair and protection according to EN 1504-9.



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