You see concrete each and every day. Do you really know what it is? Most people do not. Within this guide, you will learn more about concrete, its purpose, and the differences between concrete and cement.
What Is Concrete – A Comprehensive Guide
Concrete is something that everyone takes for granted, yet they walk and drive on this surface pretty much every day. You probably believe that you have a good idea of what concrete really is. But, do you?
Concrete might seem simplistic, but it is surprisingly more complex than you could ever imagine. Within this comprehensive guide, you will gain a better understand of concrete, it makeup, the its common uses.
First and foremost, you should familiarize yourself with the basic definitions of concrete. This will give you a better understanding of the material, but it will not allow you to understand it completely.
Concrete is considered a heavy and rough building material made up of broken stone, gravel, cement, sand and water. The term concrete is also used as a verb. In this sense, the verb describes the actual laying of the concrete on the surface.
Not A Single Material
Many people mistakenly believe that concrete is a single material like wood or iron. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality, concrete is made from a handful of different materials.
Concrete can be made with an array of substances that combine gravel or rocks with an adhesive material. In simple terms, concrete consists of rubble, water and cement. After these materials are combined together, they’re poured into the mould and allowed to set.
When first poured, the material will be liquid in consistency. After being allowed to dry, the concrete becomes solid and incredibly hard. Then, it looks like the concrete that you’re familiar with.
A Long-Lasting Material
There are some materials that have been phased out over the years for one reason or another. Concrete is not one of these materials. This composite material has been around for an extensive period of time.
Researchers believe that concrete was used on a small-scale at least thousands of years old. Materials similar to concrete were used since 6500 BC by Bedouins or Nabataea traders. At the time, these individuals took advantage of hydraulic lime.
This material possesses some self-cementing properties. While the material has changed significantly since then, concrete has gone nowhere. Concrete became even more common between 300 BC and 476 AD.
The Romans relied heavily on concrete for numerous applications. During the industrial era, reinforced concrete was invented by Joseph Monier.
Concrete Versus Cement
There is a good chance that you believe that concrete and cement are one in the same. This is far from the truth. In fact, cement is actually a vital component of concrete. Concrete is a composite material made using cement, aggregate and water.
Without cement, you cannot have concrete. Cement is manufactured using limestone and other materials. The cement absorbs the water and actually acts like a binder, which is used to hold the concrete together.
More About Cement
Cement is actually made from silicon, iron, aluminium, calcium and limestone. It may also contain other ingredients. The combination is heated to approximately 1,482 degrees Celsius. In return, this creates a product that closely resembles marbles.
The byproduct is referred to as clinkers. The clinkers are then ground down into a fine powder and combined with gypsum. This finally creates the cement that most people are familiar with. After water is added to the cement, it will start a chemical process allowing it to harden.
How Long Can Concrete Last?
It should be no shocker that concrete is a very durable material that can last a significant period of time. However, it is also important to realize that numerous factors will help to determine the overall longevity of concrete.
In high traffic areas, the concrete may break down much more rapidly. Also, if the concrete is not mixed with the appropriate ratio of water, it can decrease the lifespan of the concrete.
On average, a properly laid driveway will last at least 20 to 30 years.
Very little maintenance is needed to keep the concrete is immaculate condition. Stamped concrete, which is far more decorative than traditional concrete, will last 25 years on average.
Cement Does Age
While concrete can last many, many years, you should be cautious of using aged cement bags. As the cement sits, it can become lumpy. This is why experts recommend only using cement bags that have been stored for less than six months.
Also, make sure that the cement is free of lumps and has the consistency of a fine powder. As long as these characteristics are present, you should be able to use the cement without any troubles.
Concrete Installation Prices
Concrete installation prices will vary from one company to another. The best way to determine the overall cost of the project is to request a free quote from your local Perth concrete service.
The are a variety of factors that will determine the cost, including:
- Price of concrete (locally)
- Labour cost
Most concrete companies will offer free quotes. So, if you are interested in installing a new concrete walkway or driveway on your property, take advantage of this service.
Exploring Some Of The Applications Of Concrete
Throughout the years concrete has become to be known as one of the most versatile and reliable building materials on the planet, as it is utilized in a variety of different construction products. In fact, the first concrete-like structures can be dated all the way back to 6500 BC.
Since this time, it has been used to replace a variety of existing materials and reinforce tons of structures. In the 1960’s reinforced concrete was used to make building columns and decks, which replaced steel girders and steel decking. In addition to this, concrete can be used in driveways, house foundations, walls, curbs, and many gutter applications.
There are even many cases in which concrete is poured into pre-made moulds to create what is known as precast concrete. You will often times see these applications in a lot of commercial drain piping.