Frequent Asked Questions

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No. Concrete and cement are not one and the same. Rather, cement is one of the many components of concrete. Concrete is formed from the mixture of cement with aggregates like sand, stones, gravel, and water. Cement is the grayish powder in the mix. This is made from components like iron ore and ground lime and clay. When the ingredients of cement are mixed together, a chemical reaction known as hydration takes place. This forms the gray paste-like material that we know as wet concrete. This is the same mass which will harden and solidify to form the hard concrete we know.

Yes, concrete is not confined to only one kind. Many kinds of concrete can be produced by simple alterations in the amount and proportions of its specific ingredients. This can result in either harder or more workable and flexible concrete, depending on what you need. While most concrete is recyclable and eco-friendly, there are also special concrete types which are made so that they do not disrupt the ecosystems to much. An example of this is the innovative concrete which allows the passage of water through it. This allows the water to drain directly into the soil, preventing any flooding.

Yes, if you are not a concrete contractor yourself, you most likely do. Aside from having more than the basic knowledge of concrete as well as the techniques to handle it, working with concrete would also necessitate you having the right tools and equipment. If you have no prior experience of even the right equipment, there are many things that can go wrong. This can cost you a lot in repair in the future. Moreover, even the preparation that needs to be done, like readying the site will need equipment and skilled laborers. Concrete work is one of those things where DIY is not ideal.

Concrete can set in the rain, but it will NOT set properly in the rain. One might think that it is okay to have the poured concrete rained on since it has water anyway. However, this is wrong. Water must only be in the right proportions to work well in the mix. Aside from that, it is also imperative that proper mixing is done, or else, the water would not be able to react properly. If there is weather forecast about a significant raining event, it will be better to reschedule. Otherwise, your contractor should have a tarp ready just in case.

Yes, painting is an option for concrete. No, concrete does not always have to be gray and dull. But given the special properties of concrete, it is prudent that special kinds of paint are used so that the paint can adhere properly. Elastomeric paints of masonry paints are the ones that are designed to work best with concrete. These paints have special additive that make them capable of stretching and contracting with the concrete underneath. Paints like this usually have thicker consistencies due to their added ingredients. It will be better to apply them using roller since the additives clogs sprayers.

Most of the time, more than one reason can be pointed as to why concrete cracks. It is easy to think that acute strong forces are the ones that cause this. However, impacts hardly have effect on the concrete unless substantial enough. Among the more feasible reasons why concrete cracks are inconsistencies in the preparation and mixing. Imprecision in the amounts of the ingredients of the concrete can compromise the strength of the concrete. Having too much or too little water in the mix can be detrimental. Excessive water can cause the wet to have greater volume that it will have after drying, causing greater shrinkage. 

You must allow your concrete driveway to cure for almost two weeks or at least 10 days before you can drive on it. If you need to park on it, you must wait for at least a month, especially if you have a big and heavy car. During the first day after pouring, it is advised not to walk on it because it can deform. Even children and pets must be kept away. Within seven days since pouring, the concrete would have gotten almost 90 percent of its potential strength. However, it remains vulnerable for a few more weeks thereafter.

Concrete sealers provide you with a simple yet reliable way to protect your concrete from normal wear and tear, moisture, and even damaging chemical spills. This are easy to use and they can be applied and reapplied as infrequent as 2 years to 5 years. The sealer itself can have different ingredients. The most used in many settings is acrylic. This is inexpensive and is often readily available in hardware stores. Other options are penetrating resins, polyurethane, or epoxy. Applying the sealing is not backbreaking work, but it can help extend the time that your concrete is in good appearance and condition.

Yes, it is not uncommon for concrete to be affected by the weather. Temperature if the aspect of weather which affects concrete the most especially during placement. Some amount of heat is needed for the reaction between water and cement to take place. High temperatures have effects on the behavior and stability of concrete. The temperature of concrete can easily drop when it is being poured in a cold environment. In situations like this, the concrete can freeze prematurely before the concrete has sufficiently hardened. Therefore, the concrete structure cannot reach the full strength that it is meant to have.

There are trade-offs when choosing cheaper options, and this is something that you may encounter in choosing between concrete and asphalt. While you may have some initial savings for an asphalt driveway, a concrete driveway would cost less in total in the long run. This is because compared to asphalt, concrete does not need as much maintenance. In just a few months after it was initially placed, you would already need to be sealed. Moreover, since asphalt is generally less hard than concrete, it is more easily damaged, and you would need to pay for its repair services more often.

The proportions of the concrete mix are usually the basis of the baseline characteristics of the concrete you are using. Concrete has many ingredients. The components that are accounted for in measuring proportions are the cement, rock, and sand. In total, the mix is divided into seven parts. The proportion that is often applicable for most situations is the 4-2-1 mix proportion. One part of this is composed of cement, two parts for sand, and the remaining four parts are that of crushed rock. This mix is good for most settings. Modifications in the amount of rock are sand can be changed if needed.

Yes, it is. Concrete is known to be an environmentally sustainable material because it is recyclable. Concrete itself and its byproducts can be reused and recycled. At any given point in the existence of concrete, recycling is possible. For example, in the manufacturing of concrete, some waste materials like ashes and furnace slags are produced. These are not thrown out as they can be sources of pollution. However, they can still be added to the aggregate mix, giving them a productive purpose. Used concrete from demolished roads and buildings can also be ground again and utilized for new construction developments.

It is imperative to test concrete right after placement and even when it is still wet and unformed. Conducting specific tests this early on can help predict any possible future problems. Early detection of any errors also means that solutions and interventions can be instituted faster and earlier. Shortly after the placement of concrete, testing may already predict low strength and risk for cracking. Depending on what is deemed to be the problem, the interventions can be target as appropriate. Some examples of specific tests are measurement of air content and slump tests. These are usually part of the company’s protocol.

Stains on concrete can be unsightly and annoying. Usually, the stains are from motor oil or grease from cars and other vehicles. Fortunately, there are quick and simple home remedies to remove these stains. It will be ideal to use an appropriate chemical remover. A cheap option is sodium triphosphate, which can be easily purchased in hardware stores and supermarkets. Simply apply this on the stained surface and let it stand for about thirty minutes. After that, it is recommended to apply warm water with concurrent brushing of the concrete surface. An alternative to sodium triphosphate is simple household laundry detergent.

Yes, concrete requires maintenance. Keep in mind that concrete is known to be a very durable material. While it may need maintenance, it is worth noting that the maintenance it will need will not be as extensive as what must be done for other construction materials. Simple cleaning is part of the maintenance strategies. These can be done by powerwahers to remove dirt. Stains, on the other hand, can be rubbed off with special products like detergents or sodium triphosphate. If you are having issues with cracks or chips, have a professional from your concrete contractor to assess the structure for possible repair.

Concrete has many ingredients. Among its components, the material which confers the gray color is cement. Therefore, a substantial amount of cement makes concrete gray. On the other hand, cement gets it gray color from its components also. Among these components is iron ore. However, iron ore itself is black. When this substance is mixed with other substances like clay and lime to produce cement, the gray color is produced. Not many people love this gray color of concrete and cement. Thankfully, many options are available to change this hue. The options for coloring concrete include dyeing, concrete staining, and painting.

No, concrete does not become stronger by the drying out process per se. We know that concrete cannot be made without water. This is because water plays a major role in the chemical reaction that produces the stable and hard characteristic of concrete. Water, when mixed with cement reacts in the process called hydration. Here, compounds and crystal lattices are formed, which allow the trapping of the aggregate materials like crushed rock and sand in the mix. This chemical reaction strengthens the concrete. Therefore, while there is still some of this reaction taking place, concrete will continue to gain strength.

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