Concrete Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful answers to common questions about concrete.

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What is concrete?

Concrete is a composite stone-like material made by mixing cement or lime with aggregates, water, and chemical additives in specific proportions. The aggregates could be sand, gravel, crushed stone, and brick chips.

The quality and strength of the concrete will depend on the proportions of the raw materials. A concrete mixer will produce the best mixing results.

Why is concrete gray?

Concrete is natural gray because the cement used to make it is also naturally gray. The conventional gray cement contains Iron Ore as one of the primary constituents.

Iron Ore is black and, when combined with other ingredients, tints the cement gray. However, you can get concrete in many different colors.

What is the difference between concrete and cement?

This is perhaps the most common concrete FAQ. Cement is one of the components of concrete, whereas concrete is a component of various finished products, such as foundations, sidewalks, walls, and roads.

Cement is the gray powder that hardens the concrete mix, and it comprises 60% lime, 25% silica, 5% alumina, and 10% other materials.

Does the concrete have to meet any quality standards?

Quality concrete should comply with local building codes, the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

How do I measure concrete mix?

You should measure concrete by the cubic yard. A cubic yard of concrete is roughly 4,000 pounds in weight.

How do I control the concrete strength?

Adding cement is the simplest way to improve concrete strength.

The primary factor that impacts concrete strength is the ratio of water to cement in the cement paste binding the various ingredients together.

An increase in the ratio weakens your freshly mixed concrete and vice versa.

How long should I wait for concrete construction to cure?

The curing time for concrete varies depending on the weather condition and other environmental factors.

The general curing time is seven days, but the concrete can take over a month to achieve its full strength, depending on the amount poured.

What causes concrete cracks?

Like other materials, concrete experiences a slight volume change upon drying. This change translates to approximately 500 millionths or roughly 1/16 of an inch in ten feet.

Contractors put joints on concrete pavements and floors to ensure the cracks develop in a neat, straight line at the joints during volume change or shrinkage.

Does concrete require maintenance?

While concrete is quite durable, even the reinforced concrete would need maintenance to ensure it stands the test of time. Follow these tips to keep your concrete sidewalk or other surfaces in good shape:

  • Don’t apply deicing chemicals to your concrete surface during the winter
  • Avoid removing stains using harsh acids
  • Clean your surfaces regularly
  • Apply a sealant to protect your concrete from the elements
  • Use professional snow and ice removal services

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