Concrete is one of the most used materials on the planet.
Everywhere you go you’ll come across concrete in some form or another. Working in this field means appreciating the inherent promise that comes with laying down a slab of commercial concrete. You’re promising your clients durability, a polished sheen, and a long-lasting result that can go years without signs of damage. Concrete quality and productivity management is more coveted than ever these days, with driveways, sidewalks, and streets in dire need of maintenance. Are you up to the task?
Whether you’re new to the industry or have worked in contracting for years, the list below will cover the basics and give you an idea of what to expect.
A common mistake made by many is confusing cement and concrete. While they’re certainly related, there are a few key differences that still keep them distinct. Cement is an ingredient of concrete, while concrete is a specific mixture of aggregates and pastes. The former can include (but isn’t limited to) sand and crushed stone, while the past is water and Portland cement. Both have their uses in day-to-day life, with texture and consistency being the deciding factors. Some are carefully textured and used for roads, while others are extremely smooth and perfect for sidewalks.
Today concrete remains the most used manmade material around the world. This even beats out wood, brick, plastic, paper, and metal. The concrete industry is worth an astonishing $35 billion and employs over two million people in the United States alone. Some work in civil engineering and focus their attention on restoring roads, bridges, and sidewalks. Others work in concrete consultation for commercial properties and establishments. Yet more will specialize in exterior designs, polishing up homeowners’ driveways and walkways.
Concrete is used not just for how tough it is, but for how long it lasts. It’s estimated concrete can last for not hundreds, but thousands of years. The oldest known manmade mixture dates all the way back to 500 B.C.. Portland cement remains the most commonly used type of cement around the world, with its basic ingredients including concrete, mortar, stucco, and a form of non-specialty grout. Today’s concrete contractors are always looking for new and improved ways to provide the same classic support.
It doesn’t get much tougher than concrete. The average concrete strength is around 3,000 psi (or pounds per square inch). Some concrete has the ability to reach strengths of over 20,000 psi, depending on its density. Back in 2017 the United States produced an impressive 80 million tons of portland cement, with nearly two and a half million tons of masonry cement, to boot. It’s estimated nearly 30% of interstate highways in the country are also built using a concrete mixture.
Creating the best result means respecting history and still keeping an eye out for the future. Through a process called ‘hydration’ cement and water harden to bind the aggregates into a rocklike mass. This hardening process actually continues for years and years, meaning concrete gets tougher as it gets older. Concrete materials include different colors and textures to expand design options. It’s a great time to be working in Delaware concrete construction.
Cement is at the top of the mountain and is yet to be toppled. What will you bring to the mix?