A successful concrete installation requires attention to detail. You want to ensure that the right tools are on hand and that crew members know how to use them.
Experts avoid pouring concrete during the summer and winter because rain and other weather events can oversaturate new concrete, causing delamination. This occurs when hollow spaces develop deep inside the concrete and are identified by tapping on the surface and hearing a thump. Visit Website to learn more.
Concrete is a ubiquitous building material with a wide range of applications. It is a cementitious mixture of coarse and fine aggregates, water, and sometimes admixtures. It is versatile, durable, and inexpensive, but it requires special care to prepare for installation. The success of any concrete project depends on a complex series of events that take place before the first drop is poured. Often, mistakes made in the process can be costly and frustrating. To avoid these mishaps, follow this guide to properly prepare for a concrete pour.
The first step is to clear the area where the concrete will be poured. Remove grass, rocks, shrubs, and old concrete, and dig the ground to the right depth. This will help reduce the chance of heaving later on, which is common in areas with expansive soils and frost. The site should also be levelled and tamped. Adding a layer of gravel and tamping it will prevent shifting and compacting of the concrete, which can cause cracks in the finished product.
Once the site is cleared, a form board will be put in place to indicate where and to what depth the concrete will be poured. To help make the process easier, it is a good idea to treat the form boards with light bodied petroleum oil, or shellac if using plywood. This will prevent the concrete from sticking and will promote easy form removal when the concrete is ready.
To make sure that the concrete is thick enough, it should be measured with a tape measure, and the dimensions should be marked on the form boards. The exact thickness required will depend on the load bearing capacity of the concrete. For example, a driveway that will support the weight of four vehicles needs to be much thicker than one intended for pedestrians.
To ensure that the concrete is placed and cured correctly, it is important to be aware of the weather forecast. The temperature, wind speed, and humidity all play a role in how long the concrete can be worked before it loses its workability. The contractor should also be aware that the type of concrete being poured will affect its workability as well.
Concrete is a versatile material used in construction for decades, but it takes the right tools and knowledge to work with. While many DIYers take on a project requiring concrete installation, it is important to hire a professional crew with the tools and skills required. From pouring a patio to building a sidewalk, concrete is a strong and durable material that can last a lifetime if it is properly installed and cared for.
One of the most critical steps in concrete installation is the mixing. While the basic recipe of concrete is simple with only four ingredients, there is a lot that goes into selecting the right mix for the job at hand. Civil engineers refer to this process as “mix design,” and it can make or break the strength, workability, finish and cost of the finished product.
Once the correct mix proportions are determined, it is time to start mixing. Depending on the volume of concrete required, this can be done either by hand or machine. Hand mixing involves placing the concrete ingredients on a flat surface and stirring them with hand tools. Machine mixing utilizes a concrete mixer, which can vary in size, shape and motor power. Whether a project requires a small batch or a large volume, the equipment must be carefully chosen to achieve the optimum results.
The process of transporting concrete from the mixing plant to the construction site must also be carefully managed. The goal is to keep the concrete from segregating while ensuring that it is still workable when it reaches its destination. If a concrete truck is used, agitating equipment will be used to prevent the concrete from becoming dense and compacted during transportation.
Once the concrete is poured, it must be consolidated to remove air voids and achieve a smooth surface. Concrete rakes are used to manipulate the concrete while it is in its early stages, and special screed boards can be run across the surface to create a finished look. It is important to work quickly because the concrete has only a short window of time in which it can be worked before it becomes too hard to shape.
Concrete is poured into formwork, or “molds,” to create a structure like a sidewalk, patio, driveway or road. The type of form used depends on the type of project. Formwork can be made of wood, steel or another material. A contractor will decide on the best type of form for a job and prepare it to hold concrete. Wood forms are commonly used for flatwork projects. Steel is often used for tall structures and highways.
Preparing the form for concrete takes time and preparation. The contractor must measure the height of the finished wall and mark the location of the form on the ground. He will then set stakes in the ground around the area to support the form. The stakes should be placed every two feet. Wood boards, typically 2x4s, are then nailed to the stakes to create the first side of the form. The contractor must make sure the board is straight and level before nailing it to a stake. He should then use a mason’s string to mark the line on the second side of the form, and repeat the process on both sides of the structure.
Insulated concrete forms, or ICFs, are a popular choice for building energy-efficient homes. These concrete walls feature foam insulation with a high R-value and are combined with concrete to provide a strong, durable structure. The concrete and foam provide thermal resistance and minimize air infiltration. ICFs are also easy to install plumbing and electrical conduit through the foam, as well as windows, doors and roofs.
Wooden forms have a tendency to stick to concrete, so the wooden planks are often coated with a low-grade oil or a specialized form release agent. This prevents the concrete from sticking to the wood and allows contractors to reuse the boards.
ICFs are also available in manufactured sections, or “gang forms,” that can be assembled on the ground and flown into place by crane to reduce construction time. Some of these forms can even offer rain-resistant technology to keep wet weather from impacting the pour or causing the concrete to fail when it sets.
Concrete is used in the foundation of most building projects, and it’s also frequently poured for basements, garages, driveways, flooring and other utility-based applications. Whether the concrete is being poured as a slab or to form a specific structure, there are several steps involved in the process that must be completed correctly to ensure proper curing and strength development.
The first step is to dig a hole and set the forms that will contain the concrete as it sets. The forms can be constructed from wood, plastic, or metal, depending on the project’s specifications. Reinforcement may be added to the concrete, such as rebar or wire mesh, which helps strengthen the concrete and prevent cracking.
Once the forms are in place, concrete can be poured. It’s important to use a high-quality concrete mix with the correct water-cement ratio to get the best results. Too much water can cause drying shrinkage and cracking, while too little will create concrete that’s difficult to work with (see Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather). It’s also important to pour the concrete on a day with a moderate temperature and no rain. Rain will ruin the appearance of the finished concrete and increase its tendency to crack (see Pouring Concrete in Rain).
After the concrete is poured, it’s important to level it quickly before it begins to set. This can be done by using a long plank of wood, such as a 2×4, to drag across the concrete surface. Once the concrete is leveled, it can be smoothed with a magnesium hand float, using long sweeping motions.
For a professional-looking finish, it’s important to add finishing products after the concrete has set. This can include staining, polishing, or painting the concrete to achieve a desired look and texture. If properly cured, these finishes can dramatically improve the lifespan of the concrete and enhance its beauty. These finishing products are available from many hardware and home improvement stores. They can also be purchased from online vendors specializing in construction supplies.