Concrete has been one of the widely utilized materials for construction. Its durability, low maintenance, and cost-effectivity have been the top factors why it is sought after by homeowners and contractors nowadays. This material is so versatile that it can be used not only for driveways but also for large construction projects like building and more. Though it plays a vital role in the construction industry, there are some myths and misconceptions surrounding concrete that most of the time ended as a belief to some, hindering the concrete to use its full potential.
Here are the top myths about concrete that needs to be debunked:
Is Concrete and Cement the Same Thing?
Most of the time, the terms concrete and cement are used interchangeably. Cement refers to a grey-colored mineral powder that has been coarsely pulverized. Limestone, clay, and marl are the most major raw materials used in cement manufacture. Cement, when mixed with water, acts as an adhesive to hold sand, gravel, and hard rock together to form concrete.
On the other hand, concrete is a composite material that primarily consists of cement, water, and aggregate, which is a mixture of gravel, sand, or rock. When these ingredients are combined, a workable paste forms, which progressively hardens over time. This later becomes the key building material that is utilized extensively in almost all forms of construction.
A Concrete’s Color is Gray
Since part of concrete’s mixture is cement, which is a gray finely-milled powder, the case for the color of concrete being gray is not true. Though in its natural state, it appears to be light gray, nowadays, there are several ways on how to add color to concrete.
While the concrete mixture is still wet, mineral colors can be added to give color to the concrete as it hardens. Also, stains, integrated pigments, color hardeners, and dyes are all options for coloring concrete and each of these coloring procedures gives a unique aesthetic and vibe to the look of the concrete.
Concrete is Characterized as Impermeable
It is a frequent misconception that concrete is so dense that no liquid can pass through it. Even the densest varieties of concrete are porous. This means that water and other liquids, even vapors, can pass through concrete. The time it takes for them to permeate the material is determined by its density, thus water might seep through in a matter of minutes or months.
It is recommended to use mix designs with a low water-to-cement ratio, chemical admixtures like those plasticizers, and well-graded aggregate to limit permeability. Surface treatments such as sealers, on the other hand, can reduce absorption and permeability.
Higher Compressive Strength of Concrete Means More Durability
The compressive strength of concrete is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Concrete comes in a range of compressive strengths, ranging from 2,500 psi to 10,000 psi, the misconception that the strongest concrete is the most durable is not always the case.
Although it is a significant feature, concrete durability is dependent on the elements that can break it down such as freeze-thaw cycles, sulfate reactions, and other harsh environmental factors. Although concrete is not indestructible, it can be made more durable by lowering permeability.
Damage of Concrete is Caused by Water
Concrete is not impervious to water nor can it cause damage. Curing, contrary to popular assumption, is a vaporization process rather than a drying process. This is the main reason why during the curing phase, water is crucial to the process. This phase requires water to hydrate and strengthen the concrete during such time.
Fresh concrete will continue to hydrate as long as there is enough moisture under favorable temperatures, then it tends to dry up when the relative humidity falls below 80%. As fresh concrete reaches freezing temperatures like those below 5°C, hydration significantly slows down. Fresh concrete, on the other hand, tends to lose moisture quickly in high temperatures that may lead to increasing the danger of cracking.
Why Debunk Them?
There are various reasons why busting myths are important. These concrete myths should be debunked to achieve quality projects not hindered and hampered with these misconceptions. For concerns and questions relating to concrete, equipped with expertise and knowledge, Tampa Concrete Solutions provides streamlined services for all things concrete you can give us a call at 813-680-5542.