[Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Ashley Aguirre]
Concrete contractors in Houston often hear many of the same questions from people looking to get a concrete job done. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to pick up everything you need to know to make a well informed decision about concrete. Below we’ll take a look at some of the more popular questions about concrete jobs, as well as the importance of choosing the right contractor.
So what is concrete exactly? Broken into its components, concrete is a combination of cement, sand, and rock. Mixed and laid wet, cement can be molded into virtually limitless forms. Although initially softer than wet sand, concrete becomes stronger every day from the moment it’s poured. After reaching 28 days of maturity, according to professional concrete contractors in Houston, freshly laid concrete will have achieved roughly 90% of the strength it will obtain during it’s service.
What does the average concrete job look like?
Concrete jobs can typically be completed in one to five days, depending on the area that needs to be covered. Fresh laid concrete for a driveway should be left to set for a week before driving on it. For large trucks, it’s a good idea to wait a full month to allow the concrete to near its peak strength.
The amount of strength your concrete needs will vary from job to job. For a normal driveway, many concrete contractors recommend 4,000 PSI strength concrete with a four inch minimum. The thickness of the concrete is the single most important factor concerning the strength of your driveway. Adding a single inch can increase the cost of your job by 20%, but could increase the strength of your driveway by as much as 50%.
How is Concrete Damaged?
Concrete cracks because it has a gradual loss of volume as it sets. As moisture is lost from the wet concrete during the drying process, the concrete experiences a shrinking force, creating stress that eventually lads to cracks in the concrete. While this cracking can be controlled and greatly reduced, it’s not something you can entirely eliminate. One way to control cracking is by creating a joint replacement in the concrete, the placement chosen according to the thickness of the laid material.
Which Concrete Supplements Are Worth Using?
Occasionally, people use wire mesh to attempt to reinforce their concrete. This is a very bad idea. The wire will add no strength, and it will delay the appearance of cracks once they’ve occurred, preventing you from heading off a small problem with regular repair before it becomes a more substantial issue. Conversely, fiber reinforcements mixed with concrete have been shown to reduce the micro-cracking that occurs while a concrete is setting, and drastically reduce cracking as a consequence.
Why Bother with Concrete Curing?
Curing your concrete is a crucial but often neglected part of any concrete job. Curing is the one of the best things you can to do maintain surface durability during construction. Fresh concrete should be kept fairly warm and moist while the water fully mixes in the cement. In the absence of proper curing, the strength of your concrete can virtually be cut in half.
Is Concrete Green?
Because concrete is made from simple materials like sand and rock, it’s non-toxic and not invasive to the ecosystem. Additionally, many contractors are happy to use concrete mixes that are made from recycled materials.
What is Stamped Concrete?
Unaltered, laid concrete closely resembles a sidewalk. Stamped concrete is a way to create a pattern or texture on the concrete surface to closely resemble a different type of stone. To make this effect as beautiful as possible, colors are often added to the concrete in the mixer, and occasionally stamps are used on the wet concrete for decorative effect.