Ask Danny | Ep. 12: Concrete Community President Solutions Prime Questions

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This week, Jim Peterson with solutions among the most-asked questions on concrete. (3 Echoes Content Studio/Jim Peterson)

This week, I’m speaking to Jim Peterson, founder and president of The Concrete Network

Jim began this on-line useful resource for owners in 1999. It supplies helpful and easy-to-understand concrete data to hundreds of thousands of individuals yearly, and likewise connects owners to native contractors.

Trowel mixing concrete in a plastic bucket
Concrete has 4 parts: sand, cement, gravel and water. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Concrete Fundamentals

What’s concrete, and the way is it created?

Jim: Concrete is a mixture of 4 issues: sand, cement, gravel and water. These are put collectively in sure proportions, relying on what the mission wants. That is completed on the ready-mix plant so the house owner doesn’t fear about getting the suitable quantities. 

It’s typically referred to as cement, which is inaccurate. Cement is barely a part of concrete. 

Steel rebar
Metal rebar supplies the perfect power for concrete slabs. (BulentGrp, Getty Photos)

Rebar vs. Fiber Mesh

Which might you utilize for a concrete slab: metal reinforcement wire or mesh?

Jim: At my home, or if I’m recommending to a good friend, I might use #3 bars at 18 inches on the middle. 

Wire mesh finally ends up being stepped on by the inserting crew, and dug into the sand, so it’s not within the concrete too typically. Once they check concrete, they’ll typically see the mesh is on the underside, so it did no good.

Fiber mesh has some ending points and gained’t present the power of metal bars. 

Worker using a level to even out a freshly poured concrete slab
Rent a professional to do the job proper when laying a concrete slab for a home. (therry, Getty Photos)

Recommendation on Concrete Slabs

Jim: Concrete could be endlessly — a 40-, 50- or 60-year or extra product, so it’s one greatest to be completed proper. That’s why so many individuals rent a contractor to pour a concrete slab. It’s simply not one thing you need to toy with. Yow will discover a contractor close to you by looking out on The Concrete Network’s website.

It’s not a nasty thought to have an enlargement joint or a joint map made from the pour to share with the contractor and ensure the particular person chopping the concrete makes these cuts.

Cuts can go below partitions and off of edges to make the job quite a bit cleaner. 

Workers pouring water on concrete to manually mix it
An excessive amount of water can weaken the concrete combine, so all the time observe the really useful ratio. (therry, Getty Photos)

Water Content material

Is it necessary to restrict the quantity of water added to the concrete on the job? It appears to weaken the combo. 

Jim: Sure, it does. What occurs is the water rises to the highest and when the concrete is completed, the highest layer goes to be weakened and there will likely be all kinds of issues.

Every combine has a water-to-cement ratio, and that ought to be saved to minimal quantities of water added on the job, if any.

Close up view of a cracked concrete slab
Floor cracks like these could be repaired with an overlay topping. (kshushsh, Getty Photos)

Floor Injury

What would you suggest for floor harm, like salt harm or gouges? Particularly with the problem of getting a patch that blends in.

Jim: I’ll provide the infamous reply: It relies upon.

Initially, how seen is the realm? A number of time, the patch will look quite a bit worse than what it was attempting to remedy. 

If the concrete is heaving, that’s an entire completely different ball sport. Any patch might be not going to remain, it’s going to come back unfastened because the concrete continues to heave.

If it’s an necessary space, you would possibly have to tear out and exchange the concrete, which is a worst-case state of affairs. 

Additionally, you’ll be able to sand or grind the floor a bit and do an overlay topping, and it offers you a brand new floor to work with, so long as the concrete isn’t heaving.

Stained concrete floor
(InCommunicado, Getty Photos Signature)

Stained Concrete

We used to see acid-stained slabs on a regular basis inside houses. Do you continue to see this as a powerful pattern?

Jim: It’s nonetheless in style, and that’s not simply my opinion. We get a number of visitors on The Concrete Network about staining concrete, in order that’s type of a voting machine.

There are two methods to attain it. 

Some folks just like the look of tile. So, say a house owner pulls up a tile flooring and so they can see the define of the tile from the place the glue was. You possibly can prep the floor, stain it, and you’ll nonetheless see the define of the tile for an industrial look.

In the event that they don’t like that look, they could do a micro-topping. That is making ready the floor, placing on a topping after which staining that new floor, which provides a model new look.

One factor to think about is the noise requirement with the concrete. It may be louder within the room, so typically folks will add on noise buffer carpet on the ceiling and partitions. 

Concrete slab for garbage cans.
With some research, anybody can pour their very own slab for a trash can. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Small Concrete Initiatives

What’s your recommendation for somebody contemplating a small concrete mission? 

Jim: When you have a really small mission and also you’re up for it, there’s no purpose you’ll be able to’t do a garbage can pad, A/C pad or a small stoop within the yard.

Simply get a number of luggage of concrete from The Home Depot and blend it up and pour it. With slightly little bit of power, some gentle analysis on The Concrete Network, and watching a number of movies, your mission ought to come out superb. 

I need to emphasize: With small initiatives like these, a concrete contractor would in all probability not reply to you anyway, so DIY is the best way to go. 

Additional Studying

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