How to strengthen concrete columns?

Column strengthening is a process within concrete repairs that involves adding or restoring to the `load capacity`, or how much weight the columns can hold up. The process includes all types of columns – including circular, square or rectangular, L & T shaped, or tiered – of which you will find within buildings, bridges, and other large structures. 

What is concrete column strengthening used for?

Concrete columns need strengthening or reinforcement either due to failings in the original design or because of general signs of ageing and wear & tear. Both of these can lead to weakness in the columns. Usually, specialist tradespeople complete integral concrete repairs work on columns for the following reasons: 

  1. Adapting the original structure to protect it from ground motion or poor/weak soil, if the structure is built upon it
  1. To support additional `live load` or `dead load` 
  1. Minimise stress caused by poor craftsmanship of the original design 
  1. To restore the original load capacity of the columns (how much weight they can hold) 
  1. To restore damaged or aged structural elements caused by corrosion, erosion or impact damage 

Which techniques are used in concrete column strengthening?

The techniques used depend on several factors – including the ground the structure is built upon, what kind of reinforcement is needed and to what level, and which parts of the structure are worked on.  

Our top three methods are:

  1. FRP confining & jacketing: this involves using carbon fibre to strengthen 
  1. Reinforced concrete jacketing 
  1. Steel jacketing 

Jacketing is a method of structural retrofitting and strengthening. It’s commonly used on columns, and in combination with walls, beam sides & bottoms. As the name suggests, jacketing involves creating materials to the spec of the original column then encasing them around like a protective jacket.

At CCUK, we always recommend booking a free feasibility survey and cost analysis, where one of our specialists will visit your structure and recommend a plan of action. Most often, we like to recommend FRP confining & jacketing (carbon fibre strengthening), which use an advanced Fibrwrap system created and tested by structural engineers.