Concrete is used for a variety of projects, including things like driveways and fence posts. Residential projects, however, are not its only use. Concrete is heavily used in commercial building areas, as well. Each project uses a specific type or mix of concrete to do the job most efficiently. The durability of each area is also important. There are many different types of concrete that are made to accommodate hand mixing, while others are mixed specifically for machine pouring. Before you head out to stock up for your project, consider the differences.
The strength desired is a big contributing factor when it comes to your concrete choice. Some areas are not meant to hold a lot of weight, while others hold entire vehicles. There are some incredibly low strength mixtures that are used for things like grout. Your driveway would need to support the weight of several vehicles, while the concrete on a highway is reinforced to handle hundreds of moving cars on a daily basis.
Strength is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). This can range anywhere from 2500 PSI to 10,000 PSI. Common projects usually require a version that is 5000 PSI or less. This includes driveways, walkways, and floor slabs. The higher PSI in this category is used for curbs and roads with traffic.
Aggregate is what makes up the textured part of the concrete. You should expect to see more of this in hand mixed products. Most homeowners have high textured areas around their home. When the concrete is going to be used on a large area, however, it must often be mixed in a vehicle with a mixer. If the intention is to apply this with a hose, a high level of aggregate can cause clogs. It is easy to tell the difference when you look closely at the concrete under your feet. Think about the project details and pouring method when you buy concrete in Sheffield.
Some mixes, however, are made to display the texture. These are called exposed aggregate mixes. Specialty aggregate is added to these mixes. This can be limestone, river rock, or gravel. It all depends on the décor of the area receiving the treatment. Entrained air mixtures present with air bubbles in the final product. The reason for this is to keep the concrete in good shape, even when it expands. The air bubbles allow for extra expansion space. Areas that are exposed to high heat are often candidates for this method. Finally, flexible mixtures have been introduced to handle large areas of paving. They are strong, even without excessive reinforcement. They are also usually very cost efficient.
Colour and Finishes
This is an option that many people are unaware of. Coloured concrete is not as common; however, it can be a fun addition to things like flooring. Common colours include reds, browns, and shades of blue. They can be customised to almost any colour you may want. Epoxy is a common concrete sealant that is often used to coat garage floors. This often has a granulated texture and some colour added. A broom finish is common on areas where a texture is needed for traction. A broom is brushed over wet concrete to form this texture. A salt finish is a creative, specialty finish that involves laying rock salt over the uncured cement surface. A pocked texture is left behind after they dissolve.
Cement is used for a large amount of surfaces that we encounter on a daily basis. Many of us put little thought into the detail that goes into these projects. Homeowners may do light projects on their own that involve some of the lower strength concrete mixes. Large areas, like roads, often involve heavy machinery and reinforcements inside the concrete. The mixtures, strengths, and colours are far more variant that most people realise.