Block and beam flooring: Damp protection for the concrete beam ends

23.04.2019
Blog Post
K-Kaps concrete beam damp protector cap

With the continued increase in block and beam ground floor construction it's essential that damp protection for the porous beam ends and exposed rebars (reinforcing bars) is not overlooked.

Where the concrete beams are installed below the main building DPM (damp proof membrane), over time the ends of the beams and the exposed rebars are subject to any moisture occurring in the sub floor void. This can lead to rusting of the rebars and ultimately compromise the integrity of the building.

The 2010 Regulations clearly request that the reinforcement (rebars) are protected against moisture:

"Any suspended floor of in situ or precast concrete including beam and block floors, next to the ground will meet the requirement if it will adequately prevent the passage of moisture to the upper surface and if the reinforcement is protected against moisture."

Typically, the protection has been provided by painting with a bitumen compound or 'wrapping' with DPM material and gaffer tape. Painting can be messy (particularly if working in inclement conditions) and not 100% consistent. 'Wrapping' can be even less effective and comes with a manual handling risk, as the beams must be lifted to facilitate the process.

A new alternative has recently been introduced to the construction industry that is totally consistent and simple to apply. An LABC Registered product (EWW1100 K-Kap) that is a plastic end cap that fits easily over the ends of the beams, gives full protection, reduces the manual handling risk and saves time in the seconds it takes to apply.

Further information can be found at www.k-kaps.com.

Comments

Beam and block floors - beam end protection

Submitted 6 months 2 weeks ago

I agree that the exposed reinforcement at each end of the beams is a problem. I do not understand why they are manufactured that way. Surely it would be simple to give the ends 40mm cover as per other concrete products.
However, this is how they usually arrive on site. I do not think the plastic end caps are a good idea, in fact they are a poor idea which will probably make matters worse by trapping moisture at the end with no way for it to evaporate!

Reply to: Beam and block floors - beam end protection

Submitted 5 months 3 weeks ago

Hi, thanks for your comment. Please see the response from K-Kaps below.

Concrete floor beams (for block and beam flooring) are typically manufactured in one hundred and fifty (150) metre lengths and then cut to the working sizes such as 3.6 and 4.8 metres. By the nature of this manufacturing technique the reinforcing bars will always be exposed at the ends of the beams. Here is a short You Tube video showing a version of this manufacturing technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehQPLdSE_Gc

The plastic caps do not trap moisture as they have two specific design elements to prevent this:

• The caps are not a tight fit and are designed to allow an amount of airflow around the concrete beam ends which prevents and eliminates any condensation build up.
• Additionally the profile of the cap on the underside of the beam is deeper at the open end than the closed end so any excessive water ingress (such as after a flood) will drain away into the void under the floor.

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