The construction industry, like any other industry, has myths, fantasies, and fairy tales surrounding it. These tales, however, are not always true and can lead to misunderstandings and costly mistakes. It is time to debunk some of these misconceptions and bring reality to the forefront.
Myth 1: You Should Specify a Concrete Mix by the Number of Bags
The truth is, the water-to-cement ratio is one of the most critical properties of a concrete mix. The mix must meet performance requirements, including a minimum compressive strength, which is determined by the amount of water in the mix, not just the cement content. Therefore, it is essential to adjust the slump in the field without adding more water, and water reducers or superplasticizers can be used to increase the slump while maintaining the water-to-cement ratio.
Myth 2: Once the Concrete is Poured, There is Nothing More to Be Done
The reality is that finishing concrete is an art, and improper finishing can cause surface defects such as blisters, dusting, crazing, and delamination. Power finishing tools have changed the recommended indentation depth, and choosing the appropriate time to begin finishing operations takes good judgment and knowledge of the materials being used.
Myth 3: Calcium Chloride Prevents Concrete From Freezing
The use of calcium chloride to prevent concrete from freezing is another myth that needs debunking. While calcium chloride can increase strength development at an early age, the fresh concrete must still be protected from freezing until it reaches a minimum strength of 500 psi, or significant strength reductions will occur. To avoid problems while placing concrete in cold weather, maintaining the concrete temperature using enclosures, insulated forms, and curing blankets is the best approach.
Myth 4: Concrete Is Always Gray
The myth that concrete is always gray is a common misconception. In fact, concrete can be produced in a wide range of colours and finishes. Pigments can be added to the mix to create a variety of hues, including earthy tones, bold reds, and even bright blues. Additionally, various techniques can be used to achieve different textures and finishes, such as stamping, polishing, or acid staining. With the right design and application, concrete can be a versatile and aesthetically pleasing building material that can enhance the look of any space. It’s time to dispel the myth that concrete is dull and drab, and embrace the many creative possibilities that this material has to offer.
Myth 5: Acid Is Used To Strip Concrete Sealant
While it is true that acid can be effective at stripping away certain types of coatings, it is not always the best or safest option. In fact, using acid can sometimes cause more harm than good by damaging the concrete itself or creating a hazardous environment for those working with it. There are alternative methods for removing sealants, such as using a mechanical grinder or a solvent-based stripper, that can be more effective and less risky. It’s important to research and understand the best approach for your specific situation to avoid damaging your concrete and putting yourself at risk.
Myth 6: Concrete Does Not Require Maintenance
OK, so concrete is a durable and long-lasting material, but it is still susceptible to damage from environmental factors such as weather, UV rays, and chemicals. Without proper maintenance, concrete can develop cracks, discolouration, and even structural damage. Regular cleaning, sealing, and repairs are necessary to keep concrete in good condition and extend its lifespan. Neglecting concrete maintenance can lead to costly repairs or even the need for complete replacement. So, while concrete may be low-maintenance compared to other building materials, it still requires some level of care to ensure its longevity and durability.
Myth 7: You Can Pave Concrete Year-Round
It is true that concrete can be poured and finished in a wide range of temperatures, but extreme temperatures can have a significant impact on the quality of the finished product. Concrete that is poured in temperatures below freezing can experience issues such as cracking and uneven curing, while pouring in high temperatures can cause the concrete to dry too quickly, leading to weaker overall strength. In general, the best time to pave concrete is during mild weather conditions, such as in the spring or fall. Additionally, the preparation of the site is critical to ensure proper drainage and reinforcement to ensure that the concrete can withstand seasonal changes and weather conditions.
Myth 8: Concrete Is Impermeable
While concrete is a durable and relatively low-porous material, it is not completely impermeable. Concrete can be prone to cracking and erosion, especially when exposed to harsh environmental conditions. These cracks and gaps in the concrete can allow water, chemicals, and other substances to penetrate the surface, leading to corrosion and damage. In order to protect concrete surfaces from these types of damage, it is important to use appropriate sealants and to perform regular maintenance to prevent cracking and erosion.
Myth 9: Concrete And Cement Are The Same Things
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different materials with distinct properties. Cement is a fine powder made from a mixture of minerals such as limestone, clay, and shale, which are heated at high temperatures to produce a binding agent. On the other hand, concrete is a composite material composed of cement, water, and aggregates such as sand, gravel, or crushed stone. The mixture is poured into moulds or forms and allowed to harden, creating a durable and versatile building material. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the differences between cement and concrete to ensure the proper use and application of each material in construction projects.
Myth 10: Concrete heats the soil!
Finally, the idea of placing concrete on frozen ground to heat up the soil is a misconception that can lead to problems. When the subgrade thaws, it may settle unevenly and cause cracking. Ideally, the soil temperature should be as close as possible to the concrete temperature when placed.
It seems that the construction industry has many myths and misconceptions that can lead to costly mistakes. By debunking these misconceptions, it is possible to bring reality to the forefront and ensure that construction projects are successful. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for a high-quality concrete construction firm look no further than MPB Structures