The same thing probably comes to mind when we say cement and concrete, but these things are different. Cement is one the components of concrete. It is composed of ground stuff from lime and clay, which results in a powdery consistency. Concrete is produced when cement is mixed with other materials like sand, aggregates like stone or gravel, and water. A reaction happens between water and cement. The reaction and process will result in the formation of a paste which holds all the other components together. The result is the hard rock-like mass which is what we know as concrete.
Yes, there is more than one kind of concrete. Modifications in the amount and proportions of the components of concrete can be made to produce concrete with varying characteristics. Depending on the proportions, concrete types can differ in terms of workability, hardness, strength, and durability. There are also special kinds of concrete which are made to be more environment friendly. An example is a concrete that is pervious to water to allow drainage of it into the subsoil. At the end of the day, the secret to producing a strong and durable concrete relies on the precise proportions of ingredients and their proper mixing.
You probably do. Working with concrete is not as simple as it looks. Without proper knowledge on the basics of concrete as well as the techniques of handling it, many mistakes can happen. Projects that involve concrete would necessitate the skills with basic tools like saws, chalk lines, hammers, and meters, as well as of more specialized tool used to work with concrete. Moreover, other activities that are necessary for many concrete projects like subgrade preparation and excavation are not minor things that can be accomplished by people without experience and proper equipment. Hence, you most likely need a concrete contractor.
You may think that rainwater may be good for the concrete since water itself is an ingredient of concrete. Water in proper amounts and mixing hydrates the concrete and allows it to gain strength. However, water from pouring rain can be damaging for your concrete. The rain may affect the strength of the concrete that is yet to form. Therefore, there is more risk of scaling, dusting, and cracking in the future. It will be advisable to postpone pouring concrete for a large project if you are anticipating rain. Your contractor will be ready to cover the area with a tarp just in case.
Yes, concrete can be painted. It is possible to add a distinct pop of color to your concrete structures by using paint. Among the best choice for painting concrete is masonry paint, which is also known as elastomeric paint. It has special components like binders which contract and expand with concrete. Ideally, masonry paint should be used and applied with a high-capacity roller or a texture roller. Compared to exterior paint, masonry paint can offer be more tinted and with a much thicker consistency. It may not be advisable to use sprayers for masonry paint since in can clog the air sprays with its particles of special components.
There may be multiple reasons why concrete cracks. Most of the causes of the cracking of concrete can be attributed to missteps when the structure was being constructed. For example, having too much water in the concrete mix can compromise the strength of concrete. The primary reason why concrete cracks can be attributed to shrinking, which is part of the drying process. However, if there is excess water in the mixture, the shrinkage will be greater. The pulling forces of the shrinkage can cause the pulling apart of the concrete quality. Hence the amount of water in the mix plays a very important role.
Do not drive your vehicle on your driveway until about 10 days after pouring. Even if the concrete may seem hard right after pouring, it will remain to be vulnerable to changes and damages for the first four weeks after. You should also not walk on it during the first 24 hours after. Even pets should be kept away during this period. One week after the pouring, concrete typically already has 90% of its strength. However, if you have a heavier vehicle or if you are planning to park on your driveway, it is better to wait for at least 30 days.
Concrete sealer or sealant is a substance composed of any penetrating resin, polyurethane, or epoxy. There are many types of sealants available on the market. Because it is very inexpensive, acrylic sealants are the most popular choice among property owners. If you want to prevent deterioration and degradation of your concrete floor, it will be a wise choice to seal your floor. It is advisable to do this once every 2-5 years. Periodic sealing will help protect your concrete floors from water damage, wear and tear, and chemical spills. Sealing is not labor intensive, nor is it costly, but the benefits are immense.
Yes, the weather can affect the concrete. Most of the time, it is the temperature that has the most intense effects on concrete. At high temperatures, the rate of heating and the type and stability of aggregate can affect the behavior of the concrete. There are also several challenges that can be faced by concrete in cold weather. At freezing temperature points, loss of heat in the time between heating and pouring can be detrimental to the structure. If the concrete freezes before it has properly hardened, it can lose much of its expected strength. This damage will be irreversible.
Asphalt may be cheaper when installed but investing on concrete may save you more money and even stress in the long run. Compared to concrete, asphalt would need more maintenance. It needs to be sealed a few months after it was installed, then every few years thereafter. While asphalt may be simpler and easier to repair, it typically needs more frequent repair than concrete. This is because asphalt can degrade faster due to its softer consistency. For long-term considerations, concrete driveways can last about 10 times as long as asphalt driveways. Concrete ones can endure 30-40 years compared to 20-30 years for asphalt.
The composition and proportions of the ingredients in the concrete mix can make the biggest difference on how long your concrete structure will last. In general, the most recommended mix is the four-two-one mix. This is a proportion of four parts crushed rock, two parts sand, and one part for cement, for a total of seven parts. While this four-two-one mix is highly recommended, it will not be the best for all situations. To enhance compressive strength, we can add more rock to make a five-two-one-and-a-half mix. If you need more flexibility, more sand and less rock is better, such as a two-four-one mix.
From production to the end of its life in service, there are several points in the life cycle of concrete where recycling can take place. Manufacturing concrete produces waste materials and byproducts like furnace slag or ash. These seemingly useless materials can be combined with aggregates in the concrete mix. Therefore, there is less demand for the production and mining for more raw materials. When a concrete structure is demolished, the disposed concrete can be recycled for other construction jobs. They can be used for gravel, pavements, and as aggregates in any concrete project like walkways, driveways, and other outdoor surfaces.
The value of testing concrete when it is still fresh and while the placement is still ongoing has so much long-term benefits. This allows the contractor to recognize any problems early, and thereby, intervene as appropriate. Some of the possible problems that may be obvious at this point are low strength and cracking. Some of the specific concrete tests like slump test and air content measurement can guide the investigation so that the solutions can be properly directed. A good concrete company will be keen on these details. While it may seem tedious, these steps are necessary to ensure the integrity of your structure.
The common stains seen on concrete surfaces especially driveways are those from oil and grease. There are many strategies to remove these stains. Many commercial products can be purchased from hardware stores at cheap prices. One is sodium triphosphate. This is applied on the stained area and left on for half an hour. After, it should be brushed with a stiff brush and hot water. Then, clean water should be used for rinsing. Other techniques include the use of a detergent which is scrubbed on the concrete ground with a stiff brush. In any of the methods, repetition may be necessary to complete the removal.
Among all the materials being used in construction, concrete is among the most durable. However, there are still maintenance strategies that you can do to help your concrete structure stay in good condition for a longer time. If there are stains of dirt on the surface, these can be addressed by using powerwashers. For prevention, using a sealant is a simple solution. For cracks or chips in the concrete, it is best to contact your contractor for early repair before anything gets worse. If there appears o be cracks on the edges, it will also be better to call you contractor.
Gray may be the “default” and natural color of concrete, but there are still many ways to modify it. However, concrete is normally gray because the cement, which makes up a lot of it is naturally gray. Now why is cement gray? The main reason relies on the origins and manufacturing of cement itself. Among the main components of cement is iron ore. This has a deep black color. When combined with the lighter colored ingredients that make up cement, gray color is the result. If you do not like this color, there are many ways to change the color of concrete, either by staining, using dyes, or adding paint.
No, the drying process is not the main mechanism that strengthens the concrete. The role of water in concrete is mainly in facilitating the chemical reaction that takes place when cement mixes with it. This process is called hydration. Hydration is the mechanism responsible for the formation of compounds and crystal structures within the mixture, trapping and interlocking the rock, gravel, and sand together. Concrete structures gain their top strength during the first month from placement because this is the amount of time where majority of the strengthening reaction happens. When water has completely dried out years later, the concrete stops gaining strength.