Common Myths About Concrete

Concrete is the most widely used material in construction. It makes sense since for the price it’s one of the most durable, strongest, and customizable materials available to man. If you want concrete pavement for your property you can search for “paving companies near me”. Due to concrete’s popularity, there’s also a lot of myth surrounding it. Let’s check out and bust some common myths about concrete:

The Myths

  1. Concrete is impermeable – Concrete is commonly believed to be impermeable since it’s such a solid material. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Even the densest concrete has plenty of pores. This allows moisture and other vapors to pass through the concrete. That’s why paving companies and contractors use mixed designs with very low water to cement ratio while making concrete.

The cement mix also contains high-graded aggregate and plasticizers to reduce the permeability of concrete. Moreover, outdoor concrete that’s open to the onslaught of elements is usually sealed with special coats to reduce their permeability and absorption and make them last longer.

  1. Higher-strength concrete is more durable – Strength and durability are completely different things. That means higher strength concrete may not last you longer than regular concrete. While comprehensive strength is a major property of concrete, that factor isn’t solely responsible for durability.

Instead, it’s an alkali and silica reaction that deteriorates concrete’s durability in harsh environments. The durability of concrete also takes a hit when the steel used at the core for reinforcements gets corroded. In the winter season concrete can get damaged due to the freeze and thaw cycles influenced by the temperature swings.

However, those vulnerabilities can be checked, and concrete’s durability can be increased by reducing its permeability. The concrete should also have good structural reinforcement in areas with tension to prevent cracking.

  1. Water deteriorates concrete – Concrete is permeable. However, that doesn’t mean it gets damaged by water. In fact, water is an essential ingredient in concrete making. Those who aren’t in the construction industry think that curing is a drying process. However, in concrete curing water gets vaporized.

That’s why concrete is hydrated during the curing process. The concrete is hydrated till there’s water at favorable temperatures to strengthen the concrete. Good contractors would cure for longer periods to make the concrete as strong as possible.

  1. Adding water is the only way to fix slump – Slump tells you the workability of the concrete. When you add water, the workability is increased. However, adding water isn’t the only way to do it. While adding water increases workability, it also has a few disadvantages. For instance, it increases slump ever so slightly and also increases shrinkage. It can also bring down comprehensive strength and wastes cement.

Instead, adding superplasticizers while maintaining the water to cement ratio is most effective. The grading of aggregates and their maximum size also affect workability indirectly since they influence water and cement requirements. The variations of different factors need to be changed and adjusted accordingly to get the best result with minimal waste.

  1. Concrete is cement – Often used interchangeably, cement and concrete aren’t the same things. Cement is a key ingredient of concrete. Along with cement, water, sand, or crushed gravel, additives and plasticizers and used to make the concrete mix. Cement on its own is useless and not nearly as strong as concrete.
  2. Concrete only comes in gray color – Concrete does start grey. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. Colored or decorative concrete has been in existence for a long time. However, they aren’t as popular. Maybe due to the higher price. Concrete is colored by adding special pigments made of iron oxide particles. These particles are smaller than cement particles and surround the concrete particles when mixed in.

That’s why you can get all kinds of colored concrete. However, there’s a significant difference in cost between light-colored and deeper earth-toned concrete. Earth-toned concrete with deep shades can be made by dying grey concrete. However, to make light and bright colored concrete you need less pigment and need to start with white concrete which is very expensive.

  1. Concrete isn’t eco-friendly – This myth is both true and false. The cement that goes into concrete causes a lot of emissions when it’s made in factories. However, concrete isn’t bad for the environment. On the other hand, concrete is highly durable and if maintained properly; it can last for decades with minor repairs.

That’s why concrete roads last much longer than asphalt roads. Moreover, when a building or concrete pavement is demolished, the concrete rubble is recycled as filling material or is mixed with asphalt to make a sub-base for tarmac road.

  1. DIY concrete jobs are easy – The idea of doing a concrete construction project to make your own driveway or pavement seems tempting. It can save you a lot of money on labor and other charges. However, it isn’t nearly as easy as most people think. Even if you buy pre-mixed bags of concrete, you won’t be able to complete the project successfully without the necessary experience and knowledge.
  2. You can strip concrete sealant with acid – This is an extremely misleading and malicious one since it is very destructive and has made many people destroy their property. Acid won’t just strip the sealant but deteriorate the durability of the concrete drastically. Instead, you can use a sealant solvent or sealant stripper.
  3. Fresh concrete that’s flat and level remains so after hardening – Even if it appears to be flat and level, fresh concrete can change shape after drying and settling. Temperature and moisture changes can cause a horizontal shift and also lift the edges of the concrete slab.

Conclusion

Due to its popularity concrete has numerous myths around it. Some are absurd enough to be discarded by everyone while others can be misleading and can ruin your construction project. That’s why it’s best to search for “paving companies near me” and hire a reputed contractor to construct your driveway, pathway, or other such outdoor features.

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