Concrete is an important construction material used in all types of building projects. Since it is strong and versatile, it is suitable for various parts of buildings. You will require it almost everywhere, from the foundations to the walls, columns, slabs, and pavements. However, there are several facts that you may not know about the material. And it can be a real mystery for you, particularly if you are new to the construction industry. Let us share some surprising and random facts about concrete that you may not know as a newbie.
Fact #1: Concrete and cement are not the same things
If you are building your first home, you may think that concrete and cement are the same. In fact, people tend to use these terms interchangeably. But cement is different from concrete and is actually used as an ingredient in it. It is mixed with other ingredients including water, paste, aggregates (such as sand and crushed gravel), and additives to create a concrete mix. Typically, cement comprises 10-15% of the concrete mix depending on the purpose you are going to use it for.
Fact #2: Concrete is porous
Even though you may believe that concrete is impermeable, it is a porous material. In fact, even the densest types are porous in nature. It is possible for moisture and other substances (liquid or vapor form) to pass through. This may take from a few hours to a few months, depending on how porous the concrete type is. However, you can take certain precautions to make it watertight. These include using a mix with a low water-cement ratio and adding chemical and mineral admixtures. Uniform aggregate gradation and providing a vapor retarder underneath the slab can also help.
Fact #3: Concrete requires water for continued hydration
The hydration of cement results in the formation of new chemical compounds in concrete. These compounds add to the strength of concrete and help in setting and hardening it. On the other hand, the inadequacy of water prevents proper hydration. Curing is an essential process as it maintains optimal temperature and moisture content within the concrete. The longer you cure concrete, the more durable it becomes.
Fact #4: Specify a mix by purpose and performance
No two construction projects are the same and neither are their requirements. So you cannot use the same concrete mix everywhere at the site. If you are opting for ready mix concrete, you need to share specifications with the supplier. Do it on the basis of factors such as the purpose and performance requirements. For example, the cement-water ratio governs the compressive strength of the concrete mix and you must convey it clearly. Specifying the proportion of cement without tying in the water content is the wrong approach.
Fact #5: You need to consider the weather conditions while pouring concrete
Concrete is a durable material by nature. But you must ensure that the weather conditions are right at the time of pouring it. Laying concrete when it is too hot or too cold can compromise the results. This is because extreme weather conditions can interfere with the hardening of the material. Experts suggest that spring or fall are the best times for laying concrete if you want optimal results. So you should schedule your project accordingly. Experts suggest that spring or fall are the best times for laying concrete if you want optimal results. So you should schedule your project accordingly. In cases when you need concrete sawing and drilling services, it’s highly recommended to get in touch with a professional company like Cascade Concrete Sawing and Drilling.
Fact #6: You must take precautions while placing concrete on frozen ground
As a rule, do not place concrete on the frozen ground because it may settle unevenly when the snow thaws. This can result in cracking. The temperature difference between the warm concrete and frozen soil can result in the rapid cooling of the concrete. This can retard the rate of hardening of the material. The temperature of the soil should be close to the concrete temperature when it is placed. As a precaution, you can thaw the ground before placing concrete over it.
Fact #7: Always prioritize quality while ordering concrete
When you order concrete, always buy a quality product from a reputed supplier. Look for someone who has good experience in the industry. Such suppliers are capable of understanding specific requirements. Moreover, they can even guide you about ready mix composition according to the needs of your project. Quality is something that you should not compromise on because it determines the durability and strength of the building.
The facts make it easier to choose the best. And now that you know the facts associated with concrete, hopefully, you’ll make the right decision. Just remember that performance and quality of concrete matter the most because these are the factors that can make a construction last over decades or even more.