Frequent Asked Questions

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No, terms “concrete” and “cement” refer to very different things. The main point that should be recognized here is the relation of concrete and cement. To clear things out, cement is one of the many components of concrete. Aside from cement, you will also need some sand and crushed rock plus some water to complete the mix. Many people even in the concrete companies make the mistake of interchanging these two terms. Concrete in the wet form is the one we see being poured in construction projects. This wet mass is formed when cement reacts with water as they are being mixed.

A lot of different kinds of concrete can be easily made available to you depending on your needs. There may be some situations where you need to adjust the levels of the different components of concrete to achieve a certain kind of hardness, consistency, strength, and durability. Adding a little more of sand or rock can easily produce another kind of concrete. This may be necessary if you want a harder concrete or a more workable one. Other new kinds of concrete that are known to be environment friendly are also now popular. Many of these are porous that lets water through easily.

Yes, you will probably benefit more from a concrete contractor compared to choosing to do everything on your own. Working with concrete requires skills, experience, and equipment that not everybody have. While hiring people may mean some expenses, the benefits are often commensurate, if not, beyond the value for your money. Having a concrete contractor to manage your concrete projects means that you have saved yourself from a lot of possible mistakes and inconveniences that you may not be able to avoid if you try to handle all parts of the project. Most people need a concrete contractor, and you might, too.

No, it cannot set in the rain. This is a very big mistake that many people who try to DIY their concrete can make. Since concrete already contains water, they think that added water will do no harm to the concrete. On the contrary, this can be very detrimental. Concrete that gets extra water from the rain may nor set properly nor harden at all. Therefore, we try our best to make sure that our scheduled pouring does not coincide with these weather events. Just in case, we also make sure that we bring enough waterproof tarps that can serve as covering.

Yes, among the many possible and practical ways to add color to concrete is to have it painted. The other ones are staining and dyeing. For concrete painting, it will be very crucial that you choose the right kind of paint. Ask about masonry paints or masonry paints. These are the appropriate kinds of paints that can be used for concrete. They contain the special additives that help the colorant to stick with the concrete even as it shrinks, expands, or contracts. Remember to use texture rollers instead of paint sprayers since the additives will clog the nozzles of sprayers.

Most people think that concrete cracks because of heavy or constant mechanical trauma on the surface of the concrete. However, on the contrary, there are usually more than one reason why concrete cracks. This is across all settings. While mechanical damage truly contributes to cracking, one of the heaviest contributors to this is the improper techniques used in the preparation phases. For example, adding too much water can be a bad thing. Some workers add extra water since it becomes easier to mix, however, this is wrong because this will result in greater shrinkage which will exert a great force on the concrete.

The length of time at which you should let your concrete cure before you can drive on it is no less than seven to ten days. It is good to know that by this time, most concrete would have already reached at least 90% of their strength. However, this is not the time to be uncareful and complacent since the concrete can remain very susceptible to acute and heavy damages within the period of the first month after it was poured. So do not think about parking a vehicle on it until at least thirty days has passed since pouring.

Sealing concrete is one of the simplest maintenance methods that you can do for your concrete. This does not cost much time and effort, and yet it can protect the surface of the concrete from mechanical damage and spills, even with just seldom application of about every two to five years. These sealers can contain a lot of different active ingredients, including acrylic, epoxy, or polyurethane. These are available in many brands and the application process will not be labor intensive, but it can really provide good quality of protection. So do no think twice about having your concrete sealed.

There are many circumstances in which the weather can affect concrete. For example, on days when the rains are heavy, it may not be advisable to push through with concrete pouring activities since the concrete can be irreversibly damaged by the added water. Another situation is when the temperature is too low. When the concrete is being poured, it can lose a significant amount of heat such that the wet concrete freezes on the surface before it can cure, dry, and harden. Competent concrete companies know how to deal with the complexities of weather and how they may affect the concrete.

You should choose concrete over asphalt because not everything that is cheaper is better. In fact, not spending on concrete may mean that you are trading some quality for meager savings. Compared to concrete, asphalt needs extensive, expensive, and frequent maintenance. This means that whatever you were to save during the first construction could all be spent in the maintenance of the asphalt, which is commonly already needed even within just a few months of being installed. On the other hand, concrete can last for more than three to four decades without even needing any kind of maintenance or repair.

The amount of the contents of the concrete mix can make a difference on the quality of the structure being made. There is no hard and fast rule for the best concrete mix proportion. However, we generally follow the common recommended four-two-one mix. Some of its derivatives which may be closely related are that of the five-two-one-and-a-half mix and the two-four-one mix. The number correspond to the seven main parts of the concrete mix. The first one is composed of four parts of crushed rock, then two for the sand, and the last one remaining is intended for the concrete.

Yes, it is possible to recycle concrete repeatedly and in many parts of its life in use. One of the main sources of recycled concrete is from concrete demolition sites. In some areas, concrete contractors are required to make arrangements with the local concrete recycling facility so that the scrap concrete can be brought to the facility for proper processing before it can be used again. Here, the concrete is converted into usable forms, commonly those of aggregates that can be used in pavements, gravel, driveways, and many other kinds of construction. Even the slag and ash that are made when concrete is processed can be used.

Testing concrete always proves to be of long-term value. This is because early testing when the concrete is still wet can tell us a lot about the potential problems that may be encountered with that concrete in the future. For example, we do simple tests like measuring the air content and the slump test. We can interpret the results from these tests to know if there is any risk of the concrete not gaining its full strength. At the same time, we also get idea whether there is something that we can do about it. Hence, testing is always beneficial.

Stains on concrete can be removed with household products and cleaning materials, and any help from professionals may not even be necessary. The most ideal substance to use as a stain remover are solutions that contain sodium triphosphate. These are not hard to find in local hardware outlets and even in grocery stores. If you do not want to bother with sodium triphosphate, you can simply use simple laundry detergent. Make sure that you soak the stained area with your solution of choice for some time before you try to rub them out. This can be done again as necessary until removed.

Yes, concrete requires maintenance, but this will not take a lot of effort. For example, seeing some signs of structural damage should not be a great concern for you since you can always consult professionals if you want to get them assessed and repaired. The things that you can by yourself to maintain the concrete may also involve applying sealers every so often. Cleaning is also one way. For grossly dirty surfaces, you can wash them off using a garden hose. If there are stains on the surface, you can use simple detergent or some sodium triphosphate to remove them.

The color of concrete which is gray comes mostly from its different components. For example, gray crushed rock and gray sand are not uncommon. But among the components of concrete, it is the cement that gives most of the gray shade to the concrete. Hence, it may also be nice to understand where the pigment of cement comes from. Cement has components that are mostly derived from iron ore and limestone. It is the iron ore, which is black, that becomes lighter when mixed with other materials like limestone which are needed to make cement. Gray concrete can be stained. 

The way in which concrete gains strength is very complex. However, it is straightforward to say that it is not the drying out which allows concrete to become harder and stronger. Rather, the process that make concrete hard and strong have more to do with the interaction of the cement with the water. When water comes in contact with cement, it undergoes the process of hydration. This then binds all the other materials in the mix together in new compounds or crystal lattices. While water is present in the mix, the reaction goes on which results in increased concrete strength.

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