Concrete is a mixture of natural materials – sand, rock, cement, and water – and is the most widely used building material in existence.There are elaborate structures and aqueducts from the time of the Roman Empire that are still standing today which were built built over 2000 years ago. Therefore, properly designed and placed concrete can offer years and years of strength, durability, and enjoyment. In addition to concrete’s benefits as a building material, the natural ingredients used in concrete make it an eco-friendly choice.
Today, with the recent advancements that have been made in the industry, there are more choices to use concrete in exciting new ways. Concrete homes built with insulated concrete forming systems (ICF) offer storm protection, increased energy efficiency, ease of maintenance, and fire resistance. Decorative concrete offers a wide range of concrete colors, textures, stains, and sealers. Concrete counter tops are also becoming an exciting new choice. For any application and use of concrete, a quality finished product should be the objective. The following eight-point checklist is an outline for quality concrete construction.
1. MIX DESIGN – Make sure to select the proper design based on end use.
Here are some typical concrete mix designs:
3,000 psi – used for walks, driveways, patios.
3,500 psi – used for residential concrete and light-duty parking lots.
4,000 psi – commercial concrete and heavy-duty parking lots.
Special Mixes – High strength used for bridges, airports, and pervious concrete
2. SUB GRADE PREPARATION – Good compaction is vital. For favorable results, make sure the sub grade is properly prepared, uniformly compacted, and proof rolled.
3. FORMING – The temporary molds or boundaries of the concrete, normally wood or metal, provide the final shape or size of the area. The forms should be straight and have sufficient strength or bracing to resist the concrete pressure without bulging.
4. UNDERSTAND WATER-TO-CEMENT RATIO – Do not add excess water to the concrete mix. The strength and other desirable properties of concrete under given job conditions are governed by the quality of mixing water used per unit of cement or cementitious materials. Cracking, surface problems, and lower strength can result from too much water being added.
5. PLACING – Deposit the concrete continuously as close to its final location as possible. Less movement is the better.
6. FINISHING – Use an experienced craftsperson to finish the concrete. Contact B & B for referrals as desired.
7. JOINTS – Make sure to have a plan prepared for jointing. Jointing divides the concrete into panel sections, and allows for expansion and contraction of panels. Typically, 4” thick concrete should have joints at least every ten feet. Proper joints are the most effective method of controlling unsightly cracking.
8. CURING – Proper curing of concrete should start immediately after finishing. The process of curing affects the final strength, durability, and appearance of the concrete. Curing your concrete can be as simple as continuously water-sprinkling the concrete or covering the concrete with a moisture-retaining barrier or applying a curing compound membrane. Proper curing should be maintained a minimum of five days.
Following these guidelines will enhance the results of the concrete construction. Don’t forget, concrete is a great choice for durable driveways, carports, patios, walks, garage floors, counter tops, home building, and much more. For a free information package on some of the innovative new ways to use concrete, contact B & B Concrete at 662–842–6312.