How to Repair Cracks in Your Driveway

Concrete is durable, but it can take a beating over time. Tree limbs can fall and crack the surface; roots growing near the driveway can force bricks upward; and a lack of proper drainage can cause areas to sink or lift.

Hiring a professional contractor like Paving Companies Charleston SC ensures the job is done properly and to your satisfaction. Practice preventive maintenance, compare quotes, consider cost-effective materials, and request references to lower repair costs.

Cracks in driveways and other concrete surfaces range from surface-level crazing to deep apertures that extend through the entire slab. They may look unsightly but are usually harmless if they’re no wider than the width of a credit card and do not show signs of structural movement or shifting of the ground underneath. Nonetheless, it’s important to address them quickly because they can cause water to seep into the concrete, which weakens it and causes further damage over time.

Fine surface lines up to 1/8 inch in width, often described as crazing or spider web-like, result from shrinkage and minor settlement. These cracks do not indicate any underlying problems and can be repaired with an elastomeric crack filler applied with a caulking gun.

Wider fissures require more extensive repairs and signs that your concrete or asphalt needs replacing or patching. They’re more expensive to repair and will likely need to be widened using an angle grinder or diamond wheel before you can fill them with an epoxy crack sealant.

Before you apply crack filler to your driveway, it’s a good idea to choose a sunny day with no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours so that any dirt or weeds that have grown into the cracks can be washed away and the filler can set correctly. It’s also a good idea to clean out the cracks, which should be done with a screwdriver or 5-in-1 tool to ensure that any debris is removed and that you’re applying the crack filler to an even, smooth surface.

If the cracks in your driveway are wider than the width of a credit card or extend to the depth of the concrete, they’re considered structural cracks and should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. The natural movement of the earth causes structural cracks. They can be exacerbated by seasonal changes, heat expansion, freezing and thawing cycles, or poor installation that allows the ground to shift beneath your driveway. A qualified professional should examine these cracks to determine if your driveway is at risk of further damage and what repair options are best for your situation.

A hole in a driveway is a real car hazard and a major eyesore. If left untreated, it can get bigger and cause damage to vehicles driving over it. You can easily fill holes using a cold asphalt patch (called blacktop repair).

Before starting the actual hole, using a pressure washer to remove loose debris and dirt is a good idea. This will allow you to get a better view of the hole and how big it is.

You should also heat the asphalt surface surrounding the hole with a flame torch. This will help bond the patch aggregate with the existing asphalt and make your repairs last longer. Just be careful not to overheat the surface, or you may damage the oils in the asphalt and cause more problems down the road.

After cleaning the hole, you should add crushed gravel as a base for your patch material. This will prevent water from seeping into the subgrade and causing more problems. Then, you can start putting in your patch material.

Your large pothole will probably sag a bit as vehicles drive over it. This is why you need to fill it a little higher in the center than you would for a smaller hole.

You can also use a plate compactor to compress your patch material and make it look nicer. For best results, try to do your patching work in the early morning or evening when it is cooler.

When repairing holes, we tested a few products, including a cold asphalt patch, a Sakrete cold patch, and a professional-grade blacktop repair. We found that the Aquaphalt worked best overall because it was easy to use and provided the most resistance to shear, deformation from a vehicle’s turning tires, and penetration from a probe. It also comes in various aggregate sizes, giving you greater flexibility for your driveway needs. It is a little more expensive than the others we tested, but it might be worth it depending on how long you expect to keep your driveway before you have to re-pave.

Concrete and asphalt driveways have a lifespan of 30 years or more, but over time, they can begin to sink or sag. When this happens, it’s important to address the issue quickly. A sunken driveway is unsightly and can cause tripping hazards and damage your car tires or the garage floor. Fortunately, there are a few ways to repair concave sections of your driveway.

In some cases, you can replace the surface of your concrete driveway with a new layer of paving stones or concrete. This can be a difficult and expensive project, but it can offer the best chance for the problem not returning. However, it’s important to consult with a professional before proceeding. A soil engineer can help you diagnose the root of the problem and recommend the best solution for your specific situation.

Another option is to use a concrete lifting technique like mudjacking to raise the sunken section. This method is much faster and less disruptive than replacing the concrete surface. It can be used on sidewalks, patios, pool decks, and other areas of concrete that have sunk. However, there are better choices than this method for a whole driveway. If you have a large hollow section of your driveway, digging up the old concrete and pouring a new slab may be necessary.

Erosion and ground subsidence are some of the main causes of a sunken driveway. This can be caused by some factors, including poor rainwater drainage that leads to erosion and undermining soil underneath your driveway. Also, a leaking or broken underground pipe or line can wash away the soil under your driveway, causing it to sink.

Temperature fluctuations also contribute to the settling of concrete. As the ground freezes and thaws, the pressure beneath your concrete changes, which can cause damaging frost heaves. Contact the experts if you notice a portion of your driveway sinking or pulling away from your home. They can inject a limestone slurry under your concrete to lift it back into place.

When the edges of your asphalt driveway start to crumble, it is important to repair them as soon as possible. This will help to prevent further damage and improve the overall look of your driveway. The repair process will involve removing loose debris, filling cracks, compacting and leveling the repaired area, and sealing the surface. You can achieve a professional-looking result for years with proper preparation, a few tools, and the right materials.

Crumbling edges are often caused by excessive traffic near the edges of the pavement, which can cause the asphalt to become thin in those areas. This can also result from poor grading, drainage issues, and temperature changes. In some cases, these areas can even develop large block cracks. These types of cracks are often caused by stress on the pavement and can be more difficult to repair than edge cracks.

To fix the problem, you will need to start by removing any loose asphalt pieces from around the damaged areas. You will want to do this carefully to avoid damaging the surrounding area. You can use a chisel and 3-lb. sledgehammer to break up and remove loose asphalt. Be sure to discard the flexible asphalt properly, as it can contain hazardous materials.

Once the loose asphalt has been removed, you must fill in any cracks with cold asphalt. This should be done as soon as you notice them developing, as asphalt cracks tend to spread rapidly. Once the cracks are filled in, you must smooth out rough edges with a hand sander or an orbital sander fitted with coarse-grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand until the area is flush with the rest of the pavement surface.

Once you have made all the necessary repairs to your driveway, it is important to protect it from further damage by applying a sealant. Be sure to select a sealant designed specifically for asphalt surfaces and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. By following these steps, you can ensure that your repaired asphalt driveway will last for years and continue to look great!

What to Look For in a Concrete Contractor

You need a professional concrete contractor to complete your job. But where do you start? This article will guide you through the pre-concrete conference, safety regulations, and qualifications for a concrete contractor. We’ll also talk about costs. But what should you be looking for in a concrete contractor? Read on to find out! Hopefully, you will find the right contractor for your next project! Just remember, quality doesn’t come cheap!

Pre-concrete conference

concrete

If you are in the concrete or masonry industry, you should attend the World of Concrete 2020 conference to learn the latest trends and techniques. This annual event features networking opportunities, technical training, and professional development workshops for all facets of the industry. Approximately 60,000 attendees are expected to participate, representing all industry segments. From commercial contractors to concrete pumpers, project managers to decorative concrete contractors, engineers to architects, and specialty contractors attend the conference to enhance their knowledge of best construction practices.

There are many reasons to attend this event, including its global recognition and the fact that it is the most comprehensive gathering of the industry. The Expo offers networking opportunities, education sessions, tours, and entertainment. This event is also important to the construction industry, as the global construction industry is experiencing a huge surge in tall buildings.

The agenda for a pre-concrete conference should include the name and address of the project. Other attendees should include the project manager, owner’s representative, general contractor, concrete subcontractor, pumping contractor, and testing lab supervisor. All of these individuals should be present and able to answer questions. If you’re unsure who to invite to the conference, the agenda should include everyone who needs to know.

The World of Concrete is the largest and first international event for the commercial construction industry. This event features educational sessions on the latest innovations and heavy machinery, skill-building workshops, and management seminars. Attendees can also learn how to manage their companies and meet other professionals in the industry. So, get your conference tickets today! It’s the perfect time to update your skills and learn about new innovations and products. This is an important industry event and will make you the most informed concrete contractor in your area.

Safety regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Subpart Q includes extensive safety regulations for concrete contractors. Many of the requirements seem common sense, and responsible contractors may even feel they do not need them. But safety regulations are critical for planning your projects. OSHA prohibits employees from riding in concrete buckets; there are many other examples of how safety regulations affect contractors. In addition to providing a basic safety plan, these regulations help you protect yourself, your customers, and other workers from possible risks.

While many employers fail to follow these regulations, implementing a thorough safety analysis is vital. OSHA recommends addressing each hazard issue in turn and meeting or exceeding industry safety standards. Visit MCR Safety’s concrete and construction industry pages for more information, and follow their advice to ensure your workers’ safety. And don’t forget to wear proper protective gear. Those precautions will prevent a multitude of accidents. You can also check out the most recommended safety gear on their website.

The OSHA Subpart Q contains specific standards for concrete contractors. These regulations include tools and equipment needed for the job, and formwork and precast concrete. Exposure to concrete dust can lead to a variety of health problems. It can cause respiratory distress, eye irritation, and occupational asthma. Workers should wear respirators if they’re working with cement. OSHA also states that workers must wear eye protection and respiratory protection. Regardless of the type of protective equipment they use, concrete dust can still cause a variety of health issues.

Safety regulations for concrete contractors are an important part of the work of any company. OSHA’s Alliance Program and Strategic Partnership Program have both developed pages specifically for the concrete industry. These pages contain relevant OSHA standards, directives, and interpretations. They also identify the major segments of the industry and highlight the leading workplace hazards. Links to additional resources can be found on these pages. There’s no need for you to hire an outside consultant to do your safety and health assessments.

Qualifications

Before you hire a concrete contractor, there are several things you should know about their training and experience. First and foremost, you need to know how to use concrete equipment and tools. Second, you need to know how to install waterproofing for your concrete work properly. Third, concrete work is time-sensitive, and you need to be focused throughout the day. Fourth, concrete contractors must be well-trained in the processes involved. Finally, you should know what to expect during the hiring process.

The basic qualification for a concrete contractor is a bachelor’s degree or related academic certification. Experience in a construction-related field is a must as well. In addition, contractors must be over 18 years old, have at least two years of experience working with concrete, pass a written test, and be financially stable. Also, they should have a business plan and have enough money set aside for their business to stay afloat.

When interviewing concrete contractors, be sure to ask about their experience in your area. Ask them for examples of their work. Often, concrete contractors will show you pictures of their work. Some of them may have a digital portfolio. Ask to see these as well as their portfolio. If a concrete contractor is confident of their abilities, you can hire them to complete your project. If they cannot demonstrate their experience, move on to the next contractor.

In addition to certification, you should also look for certifications. ACI, NICMEA, and ASCC all recognize certifications for concrete contractors. These credentials guarantee superior performance, safety, and competence. Lastly, it would be best if you looked for a contractor who has received training from a nationally recognized, accredited organization. A credential from these organizations is an excellent indicator of a concrete contractor’s knowledge and skills. A certified concrete contractor will have the knowledge and experience necessary to properly install concrete in any building or structure.

Costs

Before you hire a concrete contractor to complete your home project, you should know what to expect. A large portion of the cost of a concrete job will go towards the cost of building forms. The process involves a lot of labor, equipment to move the materials, and form release product. You’ll also pay for the cost of repairing form materials after multiple uses. For this reason, the cost of building forms can add up to $1.10 per square foot. Be sure to ask about your options and get as many quotes as possible.

Concrete construction costs depend on many factors, including the location, formwork, reinforcing materials, and finish work. While each of these factors contributes to the total cost, they do not always reflect the exact costs involved in constructing a concrete structure. Although these factors are often important to understand, they can only be estimated with adequate information. If you’re unsure of your exact needs, call several concrete contractors to get a better idea of the costs involved.

The cost of concrete can vary widely, depending on the mix design and the amount of cement used. Generally, a six-inch slab costs between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot. However, these figures depend on the size of the project and the number of workers and machinery needed. The cost of a concrete slab depends on several factors, including the thickness of the concrete slab, reinforcement, and the mix characteristics. To get an accurate estimate, you can use a concrete calculator.

The costs of concrete contractors vary dramatically depending on the area. In New York, concrete contractors are among the most expensive in the country. Ohio, on the other hand, is the cheapest. You can get up to five quotes by using the internet. You can read more about concrete contractors by reading this blog. Then, contact a few concrete contractors in your area and compare their prices. And don’t forget to read the testimonials of the contractors to get the best possible quote.

Experience

When hiring a concrete contractor, the company’s experience is a vital factor to consider. While a newer, less expensive contractor might be more attractive, experience is essential for ensuring quality work that stands up to wear and tear. Moreover, experience also helps determine how satisfied the customer will be with the final result. Listed below are some characteristics of a good concrete contractor. This is not a comprehensive list of qualities you should look for in a concrete contractor.

Ask for references. A good concrete contractor should be able to provide at least five references from past clients. Getting references from previous customers is a great way to determine if the contractor is reputable. Ask for references from several clients and request them to speak with you in person about their experience with that particular company. You can ask them specific questions about their work and whether they have experience doing residential projects. Make sure to ask them about their insurance coverage as this will give you an idea of how much protection you have as a client.

Quality work can be the difference between a great concrete job and a bad one. A good concrete contractor can guarantee quality work and a great end result. Experienced concrete contractors know how to perform different stages of concrete construction, from planning to finalizing the project. Additionally, they have the tools and experience necessary to design intricate plans and produce custom products that meet the homeowner’s specifications. A concrete contractor can also be very helpful in saving time and money.

Super Travel Tips That Maximize Your Travel Time

Regardless of the length of the trip you are taking, nailing the tiniest of details matters in determining your travel experience good or bad. The ideas in this article can give you the sort of trip you truly want.

The less items you have, the less the chances of having the items stolen or lost.

Make sure that you have clothespins with you when travelling. While you may not usually think of packing clothespins, clothespins can perform many functions.

You surely do not want to deal with the noise of construction while on vacation.

These sheets can be a flat surface for kids to color on or play cards.

Check the expiration dates on your passports. Different countries have different rules regarding passports.Some countries won’t allow you into their country if your passport is about to expire.

Research currency rates before you travel so you can easily budget your departure since this will make it easier to budget.You must know your dollar’s value so you are able to spend and even save money. This will help you to save some money on fun while minimizing unnecessary spending.

Sign up for email newsletters from the major airlines. The savings makes it worth handing out your inbox.

Take lots of breaks when driving with small children. Breaks give you the opportunity to stretch your limbs and use the bathroom. Getting little kids out of cars here and there can help to prevent motion sickness. Your trip may take longer, but having less stress is worth the delay.

Jet lag is an all too common complaint for you and your family. You can’t avoid it completely, but extra sleep on the days before you travel can minimize the effects. You should also try sleeping during the flight if possible.

Plan service stops when going on a road trip.You will find that service areas are few and far between, isolated stretches of highway. Plan your route around repair places that can handle maintenance on your car if need be. Keep their phone numbers close at hand as you just in case.

Road trips can get very boring which is a great reason to plan activities along the trip. Breaking things up on your trip can create memories that will last a lifetime. Provide your children with a copy of stops you plan to make.

As pointed out at the beginning of this article, whether you’re traveling a short distance or to a far away destination, there are some planning steps you can take that can help you to relax and enjoy your time away. The advice here will make it a great experience.

You can also visit our other website and post your article.

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Which Type of Concrete is Right for Your Home?

Which type of concrete is right for your home? 

The answer to this question can be complicated because there are many different types of concrete available–each with their own benefits. 

For example, some people prefer the aesthetic appeal of decorative concrete, while others may want ready mix concrete if they’re on a strict timeline. 

In today’s blog post, we will explore all the options available so you can make an informed decision about which type of concrete is best for your project.

Decorative concrete 

This is a great choice for homeowners who want to add some extra flair to their property. Decorative concrete can be stamped or stained to create a unique look that will enhance the appearance of your home. 

It can also come in pre-designed, etched slabs and is most often used on walls. Not to mention, it’s also very durable, so you can be sure it will last for many years.

Transit mix concrete 

If you have a large job that requires high volumes of concrete, then transit mix is the way to go. This type of material is often used when contractors need to pour a large cement slab or foundation in one fell swoop. It’s important to note, however, that most concrete companies will have a minimum order amount for transit mix concrete.

Bulk dry materials 

For homeowners looking for a simple and cost-effective option, bulk dry materials can be a great choice. They’re typically used by contractors or homeowners with experience mixing concrete and are perfect for large projects.

Ready mix concrete 

Ready mix concrete is ideal for homeowners who don’t have a lot of time to spare. This type of concrete comes premixed, executing your project on a quicker timeline than custom orders like decorative concrete. 

For homeowners who are trying to create the perfect blend of strength and beauty for their home improvement projects, ready mix may be the right choice. In most cases, this type of concrete doesn’t need additives or special equipment because it comes ready to go.

Dry ready mix concrete

Dry ready mix is available for purchase in large bags. Simply add water as directed and you’ll have your own concrete in minutes that can be used for various projects. This type of concrete is often used in small projects and is well-known for its simplicity when it comes to mixing and pouring. 

Concrete has come a long way over the years, and there are now many different types available to choose from. By taking the time to carefully consider your options, you can find the perfect material for your home improvement projects. 

Port Aggregates offers the highest quality ready mix concrete in central and southwest Louisiana. It’s why we’ve been a trusted contractor for over 40 years! Contact us today to request a quote and get started on your residential project. We look forward to helping you build or renovate your home using concrete.

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What Gravel is Best for Driveways?

Gravel driveways are popular because they’re inexpensive, durable, and require little maintenance. You can choose from many different types, including crushed stone, pea gravel, quarry process, and more. 

But what gravel is best for driveways?

Each has pros and cons. Let’s take a look.

Quarry process

This type of gravel is made up of dust and pulverized rocks. After it’s poured, the dust settles into the cracks between the rocks to create a compact driveway. Because it forms a semi-solid surface, it doesn’t drain well, but it does make a great base layer for a driveway.

Jersey shore gravel

Jersey shore gravel is made up of rounded pebbles that do not compact well. That being said, they move really well under vehicles, but the driveway will need some edging so that the gravel doesn’t roll away. Because these pebbles come in beachy shades, they’re often found on the eastern shore (hence the name “Jersey shore” gravel).

Pea gravel 

Pea gravel is made up of small, round, naturally-weathered stones that can be used as a landscaping or driveway material. It’s not as durable as some of the other options, but it does have some benefits. It can create a more natural look, and it’s softer to drive on.

Because it has round edges, pea gravel isn’t as sharp as some of the other options available. This makes it ideal for driveways because cars won’t damage their tires or windows when they run over the rocks. It also has a natural look and is very affordable. 

Crushed stone #3 

Crushed stone #3 refers to gravel rocks that are up to 2 inches in diameter. It’s most often used as a sub-base layer in driveways because it provides a strong foundation for finer gravel to be poured over top. Its irregular shape allows for good drainage without compacting.

So, what gravel is best for a driveway? If you want to make sure that your driveway lasts as long as possible, then crushed stone is the most durable option. But if you’re looking for something more natural in appearance, then pea gravel is a good choice.

Whichever type of gravel you choose, be sure to consult with a professional at Port Aggregates before starting your project. We can help you choose the best type of gravel for your driveway. Contact us today to request a quote

The post What Gravel is Best for Driveways? appeared first on Port Aggregates.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.bellanovatravel.net/?p=293

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Your Guide to the Most Common Types of Concrete

Concrete is an integral part of the modern world. It’s used to build everything from sidewalks and driveways to skyscrapers and dams, but many people are unaware of just how many options are available. 

There are endless types of concrete, each with unique properties that make them ideal for certain applications. This article will introduce you to the most common types so you can decide which will best suit your needs.

1. Lightweight concrete

Lightweight concrete is made up of water, polystyrene particles, cement, and other additives. It’s lighter than regular concrete and is used for applications that require the least amount of weight possible, such as roofing and flooring.

Lightweight concrete also has better insulation properties and a lower density than regular concrete, making it ideal for use in climates where heating and cooling costs are a drain on the wallet. Proper installation is essential to ensure that lightweight concrete performs as expected. Be sure you choose a contractor with extensive experience using this type of concrete.

2. Reinforced concrete

Reinforced concrete is made with steel rebar or mesh that’s embedded in the wet concrete. It’s much stronger than regular concrete and can withstand greater loads without breaking.

Reinforced concrete is used for heavy-duty applications such as bridges, parking garages, and skyscrapers, and is common in both residential and commercial foundations and slabs. While it is more expensive than regular concrete, it’s also stronger and longer-lasting. 

There are two types of reinforcement: steel rebar or a fiber mesh. While both offer strength benefits over standard concrete, steel offers slightly more strength, but fiber mesh is less expensive and easier to install.

3. Polished concrete

Polished concrete is a type of flooring that’s made from regular concrete. It can be used in both residential and commercial applications and is becoming increasingly popular due to its aesthetic appeal and durability.

This type of concrete offers a shiny and smooth surface that’s ideal for offices, stores, restaurants, healthcare facilities, schools, and more.

Concrete polishing is something that should only be done by professionals because improper installation can damage the surface of your polished flooring. If done incorrectly, polishing can also void the warranty on your flooring.

4. Mass concrete

Mass concrete is poured into ready-made molds. It’s a type of precast concrete made from regular or lightweight aggregate. It’s commonly used to create dams and large foundation slabs.

Mass concrete is similar to standard concrete with just one main difference: mass aggregates are larger than standard aggregates. This makes the concrete less dense, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs.

5. Prestressed concrete

Prestressed concrete is made with steel cables that are stretched prior to installation using hydraulic jacks, which creates tension on the beams as they set. This compression adds strength to the concrete and minimizes cracking but also makes it more expensive.

6. Precast concrete

Precast concrete is molded in a factory setting, which allows for more precise measurements and a higher level of quality control. Because it’s cured under controlled conditions, a stronger product is yielded that is less likely to crack. It’s also easier to install than standard concrete, helping you ensure quality and efficiency and avoid installation issues. 

7. Ready mix concrete

Ready mix concrete is a type of concrete made in a plant and delivered to the job site in a ready-to-use form. It can be used in both residential and commercial applications, but it’s most commonly used for foundations, walls, and slabs.

At Port Aggregates, our concrete mixes are made using limestone instead of gravel, adding extra strength to your product. When you order from us, you can expect superior quality, lower costs, on-site quality control, prompt scheduling, fast turnaround, and more. Contact us today to request a quote

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The Dangers of Choosing the Cheaper Option When it Comes to Precast Concrete

Choosing the cheaper option when buying anything is always tempting, but when it comes to precast concrete, this is a dangerous mistake. 

There are many ways that shortcutting precast concrete expenses can go wrong and lead to unexpected costs. Knowing these dangers is the best way to stay within your budget and prevent your project from becoming delayed.

Here’s what can go wrong if you choose the cheaper precast concrete option.

1. Drab appearance

One thing you’ll notice about cheaper options is that they don’t look as nice. But if appearance isn’t a major concern, these materials may be fine for your needs. 

Even so, you should consider investing in nicer-looking precast concrete to give your home or business that extra boost of curb appeal. Keep in mind that if you’re putting your precast concrete outdoors, it’s going to be exposed to the environment’s natural wear and tear, but will still need to look nice for years to come.

If appearance is a priority, why risk choosing materials that can’t live up? 

2. Less strength

When it comes to strength, cheap precast concrete will never compare. Good quality materials won’t bend or buckle under pressure and are made from high-quality ingredients that toughen up over time. 

Cheaper concrete is composed of low-grade minerals that tend to break apart after just a few years. Not only does this mean more repairs, but broken concrete is also more susceptible to mold, water damage, and rust.

3. Lacking in durability

When it comes to durability, premium precast concrete is the only way to go. If you want your new structure or installation to last for decades without any signs of wear and tear, you have two choices: cheap precast concrete that will fall apart after just a few years, or high-quality, durable concrete made from ingredients that are built to withstand the test of time.

Of course, many people are tempted to choose the cheaper option just because it’s a better deal in the short term. However, they end up spending more down the line in repairs and ongoing maintenance.

Along with being more cost-effective over time, high-quality materials are also safer because they’re less likely to fall apart and collapse.

4. Limited styles available

If you want the freedom to choose between different styles and finishes, you’ll want to look at higher-end concrete. The more you spend, the more you’ll be able to customize every aspect of the installation or structure so that it fits in seamlessly with your style preferences. This means you’ll have more control over design elements like color, texture, and finish–all while using premium ingredients that will last for decades.

Some companies even offer different textures and finishes. But of course, the trade-off is that these premium materials cost more than lower quality alternatives.

5. High maintenance costs

As mentioned previously, what you don’t pay upfront for precast concrete, you’ll likely have to make up for in repair costs later. Because premium precast concrete is strong enough to withstand extreme weather conditions, less maintenance is required over time. All you’ll have to do is keep it clean and let the high-quality materials work their magic.

If you’re investing in a precast concrete structure or installation that will be exposed to extreme weather conditions, it makes sense to choose high-quality materials for the best results. At Port Aggregates, all of our concrete products are made with the finest ingredients. It’s why we’ve been trusted for over 40 years! Contact us today to request a quote for your next precast concrete project.

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Interview: What Building Sustainably Looks Like for Concrete Structures and How to Achieve It

Building sustainably: there are many ways to go about it. (We’ve even discussed some ourselves right here on this blog!) But naturally, you might wonder which way is best for you.

If you’re in the concrete industry, it might feel especially critical now. After all, many professional organizations within the industry are more heavily promoting sustainable construction. And many are also establishing their own way to contribute to reaching net-zero concrete by 2050.

So, how should you contribute? And what does that even look like?

To shed some light on these questions and more, we’ve interviewed Kryton Vice President of Product Development, Kevin Yuers.

Thank you for joining us today, Kevin! Let’s start off with defining what building sustainably even looks like for concrete structures.

Building sustainable concrete structures means doing two things well. First of all, you need to build from the start with the smallest carbon footprint possible. Secondly, you need to build structures that last through their entire design without needing to be replaced or receive unnecessary repairs.

We know that concrete is a very durable building material. But we also know that its key ingredient — cement — has a very large carbon footprint.

So, it sounds like cement adds to the carbon footprint of concrete. Why is that?

You may have heard that for every ton of cement produced, a ton of CO2 is released.

Now, this is not exactly true anymore because cement manufacturers have made great improvements to their production processes and reduced this number by more than a third. But it is still a big number.

Most of the CO2 released is simply the result of the chemical reaction of turning limestone into cement, and there’s little that can be done about that.

What can be done is reducing the amount of cement you actually use in your concrete.

How can construction professionals reduce their use of cement?

Typically, the way that a concrete producer will increase the strength and durability of their concrete is to just add more cement. But there are ways to avoid that.

So, for example, many of our customers build concrete structures that are exposed to very abrasive environments, such as industrial floors, high-traffic slabs, and hydroelectric spillways. Instead of using cement-rich concrete to improve abrasion resistance, our customers add our Hard-Cem solution, an abrasion-resisting admixture.

This technology increases abrasion resistance without increasing cement content, lowering your initial carbon footprint. And because the concrete lasts more than twice as long with Hard-Cem, it can eliminate the need to replace worn-out concrete. What could be more sustainable than that?

What about countering other obstacles to a concrete’s life span like corrosion?

I can’t think of anything that contributes more to the deterioration of concrete structures than corrosion. Preventing corrosion should be a key consideration for any designer of concrete structures — especially infrastructure projects.

Again, we have to ask ourselves: what can be done to extend the life of this structure without increasing its carbon footprint right off the bat by adding more cement?

It turns out that the crystalline waterproofing admixture technology invented by Kryton in 1980 is an answer to this challenge for many structures.

Our admixture for concrete, Krystol Internal Membrane (KIM), is used today all over the world to replace membranes in water-retaining structures, basements, tunnels, and the like. But one of its lesser known advantages is its ability to delay or prevent the corrosion of reinforcing steel, which is especially a problem in places where reinforced concrete is exposed to salt like marine structures or transportation structures in cold climates.

KIM sounds like a perfect remedy for that. How does it work?

You may have heard of emerging smart technologies in building materials. These are materials that can react autonomously to events or changes in their environment by repairing themselves. Such self-healing or self-sealing is one of the ways that KIM works to protect concrete from leaks and corrosion.

If the concrete is poured with a porous area or if a crack should form, the technology from KIM reacts by growing crystals to fill the area and block the movement of water and salts from reaching the reinforcing steel. We call that Smart Concrete.

That’s great insight, Kevin! So, in short, for those looking to increase their concrete construction’s sustainability, they should strongly consider using Hard-Cem and KIM.

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Concrete Abrasion Resistance: The Bad, the Good, and the Better (Interview Part 2)

In our first part of this interview series, we discussed why concrete abrasion is such an issue for concrete construction and how it’s often treated. (For all the details, give it a read!) Most of the solutions discussed were shown to be complicated and ineffective. But we ended on a positive note, briefly talking about a solution that could offer a more worry-free way to increase concrete abrasion resistance.

That solution turned out to be Hard-Cem. As the only integral concrete hardener on the market, it offers a unique advantage to construction workers. With Hard-Cem, workers only have to add it to the concrete mix during batching, and that’s it. Hard-Cem doesn’t need a complicated application process and has been shown to be effective at what it does. And what it does is double your concrete’s wear life while increasing your concrete’s resistance to abrasion and erosion.

But is all that too good to be true? How does Hard-Cem actually perform? To look into it, we asked our previous contributors, Technical Director Jeff Bowman and Kryton Western Canada Territory Manager John Andersen, to give us the details.

So, why don’t we start by talking about the performance you can expect to see when you use Hard-Cem for increased concrete abrasion resistance?

Jeff: To answer that, let’s first review some of the test methods you could use for abrasion resistance.

There are several established test methods published by ASTM. But the one I’d like to highlight today is ASTM C627 (also known as the Robinson floor test based on the machine that is used for the testing).

Now, what’s really interesting about this test is that it applies a much higher load and a much longer test duration than many of the other methods that people might use.

During the Robinson floor test, Hard-Cem proved that it could double abrasion resistance compared to control concrete with 25 MPa (3,000 psi).
And early in the days of Hard-Cem’s development, Dr. Rusty Morgan, working with AMEC, recommended using this test and adapting it to increase the load and the test time to make it more useful as a test for the abrasion resistance of concrete. One of the advantages of this adaption is that because the test panel is quite large, it allows you to get a more realistic look at real-world finishing conditions that you might use for your concrete.

Essentially, during the test, wheels rotate around the concrete, allowing you to measure the depth of wear directly just by using a pair of depth calipers.

A common result for this is a very straightforward, plain concrete mix of 25 MPa [3,000 psi] with about 1.8 mm of wear depth. And after 5,000 revolutions, the depth of wear of the Hard-Cem concrete is reduced by about half compared to your plain concrete. So it creates a very significant increase in the abrasion resistance of that slab.

How does Hard-Cem perform against competing products like dry shakes?

Jeff: There are a range of dry shake materials, products, and aggregates.

Some of them do perform really well.

But if you look at our Robinson floor test results comparing Hard-Cem with different dry shakes, Hard-Cem came in with the lowest wear depth at just under 1 mm, whereas other dry shakes that were tested next to it had around 1 mm to 3 mm of wear depth.

So, you’re getting excellent abrasion resistance and you’re getting the additional advantage of a simple and reliable installation. And you’re not making any compromises on the performance of that concrete.

The Robinson floor test also showed that Hard-Cem would keep concrete wear depth to under 1 mm where several dry shake products could not.

re there any case studies about Hard-Cem’s performance?

John: Certainly! I can share a couple right now.

This first one happened 14 years ago. It was a CorLiving facility that was built half with Hard-Cem concrete and half with regular concrete. So it was a good in-service test of control concrete versus the performance you can see with Hard-Cem concrete.

The facility team later invited us in to have a look at the facility’s concrete to see how it performed. And there was a clear visual divide. In one area, it was nice and shiny with nice, straight edges on the concrete. This was the Hard-Cem concrete, and it was right next to the regular concrete, which had broken edges and was worn out and dusty.

It’s a good example of what you can see when you put Hard-Cem in your concrete.

14 years at a CorLiving facility had barely affected the Hard-Cem concrete on the left, while the untreated concrete on the right had already started to wear and gather dust.
 

Another good example is this second case study for a concrete company. They placed Hard-Cem concrete in the exit area for their concrete batch plant trucks as a way to demonstrate the performance of Hard-Cem to their customers.

Even after four years at a busy concrete batch plant truck exit, the Hard-Cem kept its brush finish, while the untreated concrete to the left had lost its surface paste.
After four years, they came back and took a look, and you could see the control concrete with the heavy machinery, loaders, and concrete trucks driving over it. It was really ground down and its concrete paste had worn away, whereas with the Hard-Cem concrete, you could still clearly see the original broom finish marks in it and its paste was completely intact.

 

 

We’ve proven that Hard-Cem can be highly effective with no application hassle. But does it have any other benefits worth talking about? We’ll look more into that on the third and final part of this interview series.

Download our e-book today to find out why the industry is moving away from surface-applied concrete hardeners.

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Concrete Abrasion Resistance: The Bad, the Good, and the Better (Interview Part 1)

When it comes to getting a durable concrete slab, a critical part of it involves keeping the concrete resistant to abrasion. Without that resistance, construction professionals will often encounter ruts, dips, potholes, or worse in the surface of their concrete. All of which can lead to safety hazards and operational inefficiencies.

Professionals usually try to counter this with conventional surface-applied concrete hardening solutions. But these aren’t reliably effective and come with a number of setbacks.

To look into why that is, we’ve decided to explore the bad, the good, and the better parts about concrete abrasion resistance. Helping us in this discovery are two of our Smart Concrete experts: Jeff Bowman, one of our technical directors, and John Andersen, our territory manager for Western Canada. To start, let’s dive into some of the negative aspects surrounding concrete abrasion resistance.

Thank you for joining us on the first part of this interview series. Let’s start by discussing what abrasion actually is and why it is an issue for concrete in the first place.

Jeff: Abrasion describes the steady loss of material from the concrete through some sort of mechanical action. It’s generally more of a surface phenomenon.

Partial light shines down on dusty concrete that has a curved groove in it where a hard wheel has passed through multiple times.
So forces that are acting on the abrasion of concrete are usually going to be some sort of object that’s either rolling or sliding over the concrete.

And this may also be combined with foreign particles trapped between those two phases that are also gouging and sliding through the concrete.

John: When we talk about the significance of that wear and tear on concrete, we typically think about just the cost of taking the building out of service and replacing the concrete. But there’s also a cost regarding safety. And it’s not just about the people tripping and falling and encountering all other hazards because of it. There’s also an issue of breathing in the concrete dust, the cost associated with keeping the facility and machinery clean, the cost to the equipment, and the reduced productivity due to the worn out concrete.

How exactly do construction professionals usually try to resolve this issue?

Jeff: Dry shake hardeners are quite a common product for this. I’m sure many people reading this now probably use or specify them.

But for anybody who’s not familiar with them, a dry shake hardener is some sort of blend of cement and possibly some other additives and an abrasion-resistant aggregate particle, such as aluminum oxide (also called emery). And these products get broadcast in a dry form overtop fresh concrete and then worked into the surface during the final finish.

Now, certainly, these products can work and can give you a good abrasion-resistant finish if they’re installed well. The challenge that the industry has is they’re very difficult to install.

Dry shake hardeners are applied in two portions, and there’s some work that needs to be done in-between. And one of the significant challenges of this application is that it all takes place in a very time-critical period. All the steps are time-critical, and it can be very easy to miss that perfect window of opportunity.

There are just so many variables that could be happening with the concrete and with the weather. And if workers start to have trouble with it, sometimes they just can’t get a full specified amount of the dry shake applied to the concrete.

John: That’s exactly the challenge that the contractor Graham Construction faced when they were building a new pea protein plant in Manitoba. This is a massive facility with large slab pours, and they were trying to get that shake-on hardener down in that little window of opportunity. And they lost the first slab.

They eventually changed to Hard-Cem to get away from the challenge of that little window of opportunity for properly applying the shake-on.

A pea protein plant in Manitoba, Canada, sprawls over 67 acres as builders with cranes and other equipment continue to develop it.

re there other challenges that come with using dry shake hardeners?

Jeff: Another challenge that we see is that this work normally comes up fairly late in the day when workers have been at it for many hours and they’re just getting fatigued. This is a lot to put on them at the end of the day.

A gray-haired man wearing a white mask is surrounded by silica dust.
We also see that the dry shakes are very sensitive to bleed water. If there’s too much bleed water coming out when you apply the dry shake and you work that water back in, the surface will become weaker and is likely to delaminate. If you have a low-bleeding concrete, perhaps something with a lot of fly ash, there’s just not enough water there to really work it in properly. The concrete sets up too quickly.

There can also be challenges with wind. And of course, it’s very important not to use dry shakes with air-entrained concrete because the power troweling needed to really work them in properly leaves a high risk of delaminating the concrete surface. So there are many challenges to dry shake products that people might face.

There are also some products that professionals apply post-construction, right? What about those?

John: Yes, I think if you’re in Western Canada, where I live, many of these products use silicate as the base for their formulas.

Jeff: Right. When we’re describing liquid hardeners (which are sometimes called liquid densifiers), these are all some sort of silicate-based product. They work by penetrating into the concrete and reacting with the calcium hydroxide there, which is a by-product of cement hydration. That reaction turns into what is called calcium silicate hydrate gel, which is the normal hydration product of cement. It’s what gives the cement paste its strength and what gives concrete its properties. So this reaction pathway is really quite similar to the reactions you get from fly ash or slag or other supplementary cementitious materials.

That introduces some challenges in and of itself. Some suppliers of these products recommend limiting the amount of fly ash or slag you’re using in your concrete. That’s not always possible or desirable for many other reasons. Or they may recommend delaying the application for at least 28 days to allow the concrete to come up to its specified strength first so that the silicate is not competing with the other cementing materials.

Does their application work effectively?

Jeff: While they are often used or specified specifically to increase the abrasion resistance of the concrete as placed, that’s not really what they’re intended to do.

Multiple containers of liquid hardener sit in a row.
They function by slightly increasing the amount of cement paste on the surface. But cement paste is the weakest and most vulnerable phase to abrasion. Having a little bit more doesn’t significantly move the dial on the abrasion resistance of that concrete.

Now, liquid hardeners do serve an important purpose. If a contractor does have a slab that has had some challenges when they’re placing it, the surface might be poorly hydrated or weak or might have dried out too early. These products can help strengthen that surface as a remediation measure.

But they’re not really an appropriate material to specify as an abrasion-resistant material for concrete that’s been otherwise properly placed and finished.

re there other solutions that have been used to increase concrete abrasion resistance?

Jeff: Another common solution is high-strength concrete.

And why not just use stronger concrete? You get better abrasion resistance. And normally, this approach would be just using a mix that has more cement. You could use more fly ash or slag or maybe silica fume to really get that strength up and keep that water-cement ratio down real low. The concrete gets stronger, and the abrasion resistance is better. And this generally does work.

But there are some limitations.

Plumes of smoke billow out of stacks against a cloudy blue sky.
Now, the research shows that when you double the compressive strength of concrete, you can roughly double the concrete’s abrasion resistance. And there is research and literature on this.

But there can also be some consequences. Any time you are using a stronger mix, especially with anything that has more cement paste, you’re getting more hydration. That generates more heat in your concrete.

More paste means more shrinkage. More shrinkage normally means more cracking. And if you’re pouring a slab, you also now get more curling, so your floors just don’t stay as flat. And curling can result in a lot of damage and wear at the joints.

All of these things are actually really bad. They target some of the core properties that a facility owner expects of their floor. An owner wants more than just good abrasion resistance. They want their floor to perform in many other ways.

And as an added bonus, using high-paste strong mixes comes with a cost premium. Because you are using so much more cement in the concrete, the carbon footprint of that concrete can go up quite significantly.

So most popular concrete abrasion-increasing efforts don’t seem to work as well as expected. Is there a better way to get that abrasion resistance?

John: Adding Hard-Cem into concrete at the batch plant! Hard-Cem lives in that concrete paste, and that’s how it works. It increases the resistance to abrasion and erosion that way. It’s easy to apply. There are no negative effects on your plastic or your hardened concrete. It’s fully compatible and used often with air-entrained concrete, so no longer do you have to specify products like this just for indoor use. You can now use it outdoors. And it can be used in horizontal and vertical slabs, behind formwork, in precast, and in shotcrete. There’s a huge opportunity for this product to be used often in mining applications as well.

And Jeff very clearly articulated the difficulty in applying the shake-on hardeners. So no longer do the jobsites have to take all this into consideration. Basically, they can just order Hard-Cem when they order their concrete. And there’s no harmful dust exposure.

Hard-Cem’s been used for 18 years now for over 7 million m2 (80 million ft2) in all kinds of applications. And many of the top-producing concrete companies have branded their own durability concrete using the Hard-Cem admixture.

Once concrete finishers get to use this, they start to ask for it by name because it just makes their job that much easier.

A worker is holding a bag of Hard-Cem admixture ready to put in concrete mix during batching to increase its concrete abrasion resistance.

It sounds like Hard-Cem could be a much more effective solution. But how well does it perform? We’ll look into that in more detail in Part 2 of this interview series.

Click here to learn how to enhance concrete durability for superior abrasion resistance.

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