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What is Concrete?

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HG Flooring - What is Concrete?

If you’re looking to create a driveway, a poolside surface or a garage, you’re probably considering the option of concrete.  Durable, cost-effective and long-lasting, concrete is a great option and has been used for a long time for just these reasons.  But, have you ever found yourself wondering what exactly is concrete?  You aren’t alone.

What is concrete made of?

Often, people will often say that their sidewalk or driveway is “cement” when they actually mean “concrete”.  Despite popular thought, these are not synonyms for each other.  In fact, cement is actually an ingredient in concrete.  Your basic mix is made up of:

  • Cement: This is the key ingredients in concrete itself and while it can be switched out for other ingredients such has fly ash, it is still widely used in its classic powder form. 
  • Water: This is what brings the ingredients together as the mixer and helps create the chemical reaction with the cement.  It’s important to get the ratio just right for the concrete you are looking to make.  Lower water content means stronger concrete.
  • Rock, Sand or Gravel: Sometimes all three are combined, but most of the time one of these is used in the mix.  It often comes down to the decision of the concrete pourer.

Concrete upgrades

You can also take your basic mix for concrete and add a few things to it when looking at giving it a little extra something during pouring and setting.  Some of the most common extras include:

  • Accelerating agents: If you want your concrete to set faster and give it a little bit more strength in the process, you’ll find that adding an accelerant is going to be the best solution to it.  This is often used when contractors have a tight deadline or are in colder temperatures.
  • Slowing agents: Likewise, if contractors need more time to set concrete, they can add products to slow down the setting process.  This is often used in those complex moulds  or when contractors are working in particularly hot weather. 
  • Air bubbles: When concrete is exposed to thawing or freezing, it needs to be infused with air bubbles so that the process doesn’t damage the concrete. The shifts go into the air bubble instead. 

Here at HG Decorative Flooring, we of course know how all of these work and which details we need to take into consideration for pouring concrete for your project.  While it often all looks the same to those who have ever seen concrete poured and set, the mix that is used is very specific and best determined on a case by case basis. We’re always happy to give advice

While you may not know what mix of concrete is going to be best for the project that you had in mind, it is nice to understand that those details are critical to get right.  Just another reason that you’re going to want to make more certain than ever that you’re hiring the right guys for your next concrete job.