Concrete Thinking The World’s Favorite Material

Professional concrete contractors

These days it might seem like plastic is the most commonly used material in the world, but believe it or not, it’s actually concrete. Every year over 2 billion tons of concrete are produced. The material has been a staple of human construction for thousands of years, dating back to the Ancient Egyptians who used early forms of concrete to build the pyramids.

Today, concrete isn’t used to build pyramids (though it would still work, if only pyramids were in vogue). Instead, concrete has far more applications, for both residential and commercial purposes. The most common uses for concrete today are for the foundations of houses and buildings, as well as pavement and curbs. Because concrete is easily made and extremely sturdy and durable, it makes for superior driveways and architecture as opposed to many other materials.

How is Concrete Made?.

Concrete is a dried and hardened mixture of cement and various rocks and aggregates (sand, gravel, other crushed stones). Cement and concrete are not the same thing, as is sometimes thought. Rather, cement is a component of concrete, acting as an adhesive that keeps all of the materials of concrete in place. Concrete is made, then, by combining cement with water and the aforementioned aggregates. It is much stronger than cement alone, and therefore can be trusted for larger construction jobs and increase the value of property.

The most important aspect of making proper concrete lies in the ratio of the materials. The aggregates must make up about 67% of the mixture, with water at 16%, cement at 11%, and air 6%. If these ratios are imbalanced, it will result in a concoction that is either inflexible or not durable.

Coated Concrete Driveways vs. Asphalt.

Concrete can make for superior driveways. Asphalt is the standard driveway material, but it wears down easily. After just five to ten years a driveway paved with asphalt will begin to show signs of cracking and fading. While concrete driveways are a bit more expensive in initial costs ($4-$10 per square foot), they have a lifespan of between 25 to 50 years–over three times that of asphalt driveways. Part of the reason for this is because coated concrete driveways are more resistant to high temperatures and humidity, whereas asphalt is much more susceptible to these factors.

Concrete driveways not only make for superior driveways, they also add value to one’s property by virtue of their longevity and durability. They are also aesthetically pleasing and entice many potential home buyers with their brighter appearance. They make for a cleaner, more elegant look to one’s home.

Professional Concrete Contractors.

Even though concrete is a sturdy material, not everything built with concrete is invincible or immune to wear and tear. Concrete driveways can and will form cracks just like asphalt driveways without the proper installation and maintenance. One can purchase or even make concrete oneself, but it takes a great deal of knowledge and experience to properly complete a project with concrete. This is why it’s important to hire an experienced concrete contractor to handle these projects. These professionals will ensure that the concrete used is mixed with the proper ratio of materials, and that the ground and soil beneath the driveway (if this is the project) is compacted properly and level to avoid damage from gravity and settling.

Concrete is a time-tested, durable, and effective building material. It has the potential to add value to one’s residence or business if installed and maintained properly.

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