concrete

How to Choose a Contractor for Concrete Driveways

Concrete Contractors can add significant value to a home aside from improving its look. It can also help you sell your house, which is good for the local economy. Many homeowners choose a concrete driveway for their homes. However, there are some differences between concrete driveways and pavers. For one, a concrete driveway has a flat surface. Secondly, it is more difficult to maintain. And, plain paper can easily become a mess. Finally, if you have a driveway that has to be repaved every few years, you may be forced to pay more money in the future.

concrete

Random cracking in a concrete driveway may not affect the long-term service, but it can detract from the appearance. For this reason, it’s best to choose a contractor who uses a uniform concrete mix. Alternatively, you can also use a vibratory compactor to ensure the surface is properly compacted. However, while a uniform mix is preferable, random cracks are still possible. For this reason, you should ask the contractor to provide you with information about their policies on this matter.

The concrete base must be uniform in firmness. Otherwise, it may become unstable when heavy loads are placed on it. A minimum slope of 1/4″ per foot is required to ensure proper drainage. The subgrade and base must also slope away from buildings and other structures. A six to twelve-inch base is ideal for optimal drainage and enhanced load capacity. When installing a concrete driveway, make sure the material is level and free of organic materials. It should also be flat and sloping away from home.

While it’s tempting to go for a square or rectangle driveway, the fact remains that concrete is the most sustainable option. It’s long-lasting, easy to maintain, and provides better heat resistance. It’s easy to install and maintain, and it can improve your curb appeal as well. Moreover, a concrete driveway is a great investment. If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly material that is highly durable, consider a concrete driveway.

A concrete driveway contractor can use stenciled concrete to copy the look of brickwork and stone. It’s a good idea to discuss your preferences with a contractor before hiring them. Some concrete contractors offer a gallery of design templates to help you decide which material will look best on your property. If you want to add color and texture, you can use an embosser to create a pattern in the concrete. Incorporating embedded materials is another way to improve the appearance of a driveway.

A concrete driveway will not require much maintenance. The material will not stain or discolor easily. However, you will need to clean it once or twice a year. Then, if you’re a DIYer, you can pour the concrete driveway yourself. Just be sure to have the right tools and a crew that’s willing to help you. Then, the concrete will harden and become permanent. Afterward, you can use your decorative stamps to create a unique design for your home.

A concrete driveway is made of a mixture of sand, gravel, and other sand-sized particles. If you want a custom-made driveway, you can choose any pattern, color, and texture you want. In addition, you can choose a driveway that looks best with your house and landscaped yard. If you’d like your driveway to reflect light, you should consider the cost of concrete. But a customized patio can be costly.

The first step of installing a concrete driveway is to make sure the foundation is stable. In addition, you’ll need to remove vegetation to make sure the ground is level. A good way to do this is to lay class-5 gravel on the base of the driveway. Once the base is level, add the reinforcement material. Once it’s level, you’ll need to grade it. Then, you’ll need to lay the patio and a few rows of bricks.

An SSA student’s perspective on working in construction and practical workshops

Women in South Asia have long been doing intense physical labor in building sites and brick industries for relatively low pay. And, yet it is discouraging to be a part of a heavily male-dominated construction industry. Whenever I passed by a construction site, I felt powerless and afraid of the tools that men carried effortlessly, as if to prove that gender disparity in the labor market exists for a reason. In other words, the construction world felt unattainable in all its toughness.


Image Source: Women at work © The Record Nepal

As an aspiring architect, the dichotomy between architecture and construction seems nonsensical, particularly in the ever-evolving realm of sustainable architecture, where prototyping and experimenting are at the core of design processes. There is also an assumption that architects are above construction workers – a dynamic that sustains social and class imbalance. While there are many structures to criticize about, luckily, there are also associations like Critical Concrete who facilitate three-weeks of intense, hands-on workshops to understand the material, building techniques, and teamwork as part of the post-graduation course in sustainable architecture. The workshop positively shifted my perspective of the construction industry and further expanded my own personal boundaries.

“Let’s get our hands dirty!” architect Hanno Burtscher, instructed a team of ten women who came from different professional backgrounds, race, and geographical locations. Hanno introduced himself as an earthman, with an Austrian sense of humor, quick wit, and great teaching style, he grouped students in pairs to use all four senses except for sight to identify the local materials used for raw earth construction. This is how the welcome ceremony to the workshop began and it had already set a higher bar for the rest of the workshop. The joy of sharing stories moved the conversation from endless banter about cheese and food to serious topics like what sustainable construction means and how the uncertainty during the time of pandemic has affected our lives. In short, the day exuded a sense of togetherness. 


*Sketch by Charlotte Schneider, Alumni, Post Graduation 2020-2021

WEEK 1 | RAW EARTH CONSTRUCTION | HANNO BURTSCHER

The first week of the workshop was a battle – a battle to make proper earth mix to build a heated earthen bench and flooring for the kitchen at Critical Concrete. From the start, we learned that the key components of earth mix are clay, small gravel (0-5 mm), big gravel (5-15 mm), sand (0-4 mm), and water.

Most of us were already aware of the composition elements through our Raw Earth online course, but what made the difference in the practical workshop was the experimentation and improvisation in the mixing process since the excavation materials were available in limited amounts. The question constantly surfaced during the workshop – how do we make the most use of what is available around us? And this was a revelation in itself because theoretically, we learn the ratio – 40% of excavation, 20% of small gravel, 20% of big gravel, 20% of clay, and water – to achieve the desired mix. 

In practice, however, there had to be adjustments in the ratio based on the materials that were available to us. The way we integrated the composite materials together also made a big difference in the quality of the earth mix. So, at times we had to find creative ways of using what was available to us.

“While nearing the end of the earth mix for the floor, we ran out of the large size rocks. My typical mindset is to say, “Let’s just go buy more.” However, with the mindset of Critical Concrete to use what we already have, we were not going to buy more. To finish the mix, we scrounged throughout the construction yard looking for proper sized rocks and were able to get the right volume,” Mary shared her experience. And this was the general experience during the workshop – how to find sustainable solutions when we hit a roadblock.

In our earliest days of the workshop, we dropped a fist-sized earth mix balls from 1 meter height to see whether they stuck together or crumbled. We concluded that the ball should drop in larger pieces rather than completely shattering or sticking together. If it’s too sticky, either the clay or water content is too high which will result in a mixture that won’t be suitable to create a form. The same logic applies for the dry mixture as well. After a process of trial and error, we realized that there was no concrete recipe to achieve the perfect mix. But there were a number of factors that determined the quality of the mix. One of them is the clay content, which is normally 20 percent in total but depending on the situation, it could range from 5 – 30 percent. The purpose of the clay is to bind the materials but the more surface area we have in the mix, the more clay we require, from which we can derive that the smaller the surface area of excavation, the higher clay content would be required to bind it. Simple physics!

Many construction sites are not inviting spaces for women. Women’s work is often considered too frivolous to the degree that they are rendered valueless in the number-driven capitalist economic system. During the workshop, this dynamic was challenged. A team of mostly women and Hanno prepared the foundation for raw earth flooring and built the formwork for the bench. As I was lifting heavy stones and using power tools, I occupied a space that was not ‘normalized’ for women. I quickly realized that the problem wasn’t these too feminine, delicate hands but rather it was the devaluation of women’s work that put women in confinement of patriarchal ideas.

“We either put 100 percent into this or we don’t do it at all,” Hanno remarked while we were putting earth mix into the form work. The workshop was fueled by this exact mindset but was also filled with laughter and leisure in between our hard work. Overall, during the first week with Hanno, he guided us by observing the way we were interpreting the materials. We were able to experiment with the materials and make decisions based on our judgement.

Week 2 | Esposende Building Site | Hugo Dourado, Pietro

Degli Esposti, Martina Eandi

Esposende was roughly a forty-minute drive away from the city of Porto. And when the drive is long, conversations of past, present, and future start bouncing around.

“How do you say it?” Bara from Czech Republic asked.

“Vastu Shastra,” I repeated.

“And that means harmony of energy through design? That is how I would like to design the interior of my place one day,” remarked Charly from Germany. 

The conversation moved in such a way during the Esposende trip. The practical workshop as a part of the post graduation course merged people with similar ideologies, dreams, and passion of bringing social and political change through architecture and urban planning. The workshop also meant more than fulfilling a part of the course. Some of us had flown miles away leaving their usual life to come to Portugal to venture in a new journey.


*Sketch by Charlotte Schneider, Alumni, Post Graduation 2020-2021

The building site was under construction, so there were different tasks that the students could choose from such as fixing the board and batten cladding system, wood charring station, tiling the roof, or constructing a rocket stove.

The name rocket stove in itself made me curious. On top of that, I had also done some research on rocket stoves in one of the Participatory Design courses. I started my second week with Pietro, our Raw Earth course instructor and Martina, Mycelium course instructor, to complete the stove that could be used for both cooking and heating the entire house.

The making of the rocket stove involved lots of earth mix, it didn’t involve knowing rocket science at all. First, a stone wall had to be built to lay an exhaust pipe with an inclination of 30 degrees. The purpose of this was to carry the smoke from the rocket stove out of the house. For the stone wall, we prepared Argamassa (mortar) to attach stones of many sizes together and this alone took days to finish. As soon as the wall was completed, we started to make the exterior of the rocket stove with earth mix. The earth mix was ¼ part lime, 2 ½ part excavation, and ½ part straw. Since we were working with materials that were locally available, the excavation we were using included large stones. We wanted the mix to be a combination of lime, earth, and straw, so we sieved the stones out.

At times building with raw earth felt like cooking, in a sense that there is a process to achieve the result. You cannot skip a part to make the process faster, there is a procedure that you must follow otherwise the mix will not be suitable for construction. Therefore, while making the earth mix, it is important to completely let lime and excavation combine before putting any water. Once lime and excavation are completely mixed, giving off a grey-brown color, you slowly add water and straw to make a mixture. We used the cob technique to compress and compact fist sized balls, smashing it to attach them onto the pre-existing walls.

Slap slap slap!! We were hitting the earth mix on the side with a board to pack it down together. Another important thing that Pietro shared with us was that the cob technique allows us to build 30 cm per day. Since the earth mix is massive and wet, it needs time to dry and be compacted to build another layer on top of it. To keep the layers of earth mix interconnected, we created a vertebra-like structure at the end.

​​The rocket stove workshop made me realize how earth as a material is flexible. I could mold it in any shape I wanted and working on it with hands felt therapeutic. With the rocket stove, we were trying to achieve a dome shaped exterior to give it a character of its own. We molded the earth mix into long tiny sausages to create a curve on the upper part of the stove. It was interesting to see how earth could be shaped into any form with the right formwork which is also one of the big advantages of working with this natural material.

Life on Site

The Esposende building site was located between the ocean and mountains. In the early morning, you could see the tip of the mountains covered in fog and in the late afternoon during those early hot, summer days, you could see the blue ocean in the distance. With our cup of coffee that the Critical Concrete team prepared for us every morning, the day started with division of tasks and the students always got to pick first which task they wanted to be involved in.

After our coffee we all got into the groove and the site came to life again. Some of us were carrying heavy stones, using power tools, hanging on the roof putting tiles while others were listening carefully to what Hugo, our Vernacular Architecture course instructor, with immense knowledge and a sense of perfection, had to teach about board and batten cladding systems. It was fascinating to observe how everybody worked individually and in teams and clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought this. The neighbors in Esposende would walk by observing, commenting on our work, with their hands clasped behind their backs!

“It’s called umarell in Italian,” Linda shared jokingly.

Apparently, in Italian slang, umarell is when elderly people gather to observe construction sites and comment on how to do the work, often with holding their hands behind their back.

I became a umarell when it came to food. The Critical Concrete team prepared big batches of healthy, colorful vegan food during lunch time and we would all observe in awe. The variety of food made from simple ingredients that Critical Concrete provided us inspired me to be creative with food that we eat on a day-to-day basis. How many times do we actually think about eating in a sustainable manner? How do we creatively use leftover food in our diet? These questions among many others helped me unlearn and learn new ways of looking at sustainability.

Week 3 | Furniture Workshop | Samuel Kalika

I noticed how different building materials can be. Whereas with raw earth, exactness is not so important, with wood each millimeter is important. Building beautiful furniture requires many steps, patience, and exactness,” Viviana shared. After working with flexible material like earth, wood seemed like unlocking a whole different dimension. Samuel, our Participatory Design course instructor, understood this well and he made our work easier by giving us instructions on every powerful tool we were using.

Precision was the key. While cutting wood, if it’s 1 cm off, what could we do? We could not undo a cut once it was made neither could we adjust it, so a big part of the furniture workshop was to find a solution on the spot. We used many different tools to achieve the desired finish and construction: a universal machine to obtain desired thickness, sizes, flatness, and straight surfaces; the meter saw; the sander. Gradually the counters for the kitchen in Esposende house began to take shape. “As soon as I started approaching the work, I understood the importance of being precise in all the small details. Once we developed a good flow in the process, the work became easier and faster,” commented participant Linda Tonin.


*Sketch by Charlotte Schneider, Alumni, Post Graduation 2020-2021

While trying to achieve precision, mistakes are bound to occur but this is part of the learning process and that made the experience lighter and took away the fear of judgment. 

“To assemble the pieces, in particular for the bigger elements, we set up a strategy, naming the pieces of wood and measuring the different thicknesses needed for the joining beams. Since different people worked on the cutting process, sometimes the joints’ holes had different sizes. We took these mistakes as an occasion to add different colors of wood to fill the spaces: the mistakes, at the end, added aesthetic value to the furniture pieces,” Linda reflected.

REFLECTION

During the whole workshop, each one of us were sharing our experience of working in different environments. We were trying to understand what our preferences are, what materials, tools we like to use, and which instructors’ teaching style catered to our learning approach.

“Beyond the excitement, time passing and the verge to finish, it was necessary to maintain a safe working space, making sure you and everyone around is comfortable and don’t cause any danger. Having this in mind, I learned how to remain calm and careful with all the tasks, machines and my colleagues. This atmosphere brought a lot of awareness and future-thinking into my habits,” Agnieszka described her experience.

“Starting with the fact that the workshop took me out of all my comfort zones, I can say that the first learning was that the “unknown” can be very good. And the learnings went beyond practical. Being in contact with such an international and so human team certainly awakened in me my best version, my confidence in a more correct and viable future and made me reflect and work on my limiting standards. It was definitely a great achievement to be in a healthy work environment,” shared Júlia.

I resonate with both Agnieszka and Júlia. My experience with working in a group was liberating. It taught me how everybody in a team works differently — how each individual works, thinks, coordinates and cooperates while working on a project. On top of that, our group was very diverse, so learning from each one of them and getting to interact with everybody in-person felt special during this uncertain pandemic time. We were able to transfer our expertise and learn from each other’s skills. At the same time, we were a group of women doing construction work, realizing our own potential and that was empowerment in itself.

On a personal note, the workshop also altered my relationship with the construction industry and my perception of emancipated women. Historically, women have existed within the confinement of domestic space therefore women who occupy space outside of the predictable situations are labeled ‘modern’. And if the working conditions are healthy and their work is comparable to the status of a male, they are given recognition and visibility. But are all women able to get the same visibility and prestige as the emancipated, educated women? Women from lower class and caste in South Asia have been working in extreme conditions in construction sites and brick factories out of economic necessity. They have to go through daily work toxicity in a largely male-dominated workplace. While reflecting back on the practical workshop, I realize the utter importance of an equal workplace environment in the labor industry and greater recognition of those women who have paved the way.

The post An SSA student’s perspective on working in construction and practical workshops appeared first on Critical Concrete.

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What is a Boom Pump?

Have you ever come across a concrete boom pump before? Unless you work in the construction trade, you may be forgiven for not really knowing what a boom pump actually does. However, for commercial and residential construction projects alike, it’s one of the most useful concrete pumping and layering tools out there.

What Exactly is a Concrete Boom Pump?

A concrete boom pump truck is an item that will help to deliver and pour concrete to projects which might have work being undertaken high off of the ground. For example, you may be working on a high-rise building or a block of flats, and it might otherwise be tricky for you to get concrete or cement up to such a height.

Boom pump on construction site.

A boom pump offers a hydraulic arm, which stretches up from the vehicle’s base level to pump concrete directly to the project area. A boom pump can arrive via truck, so that you have a mobile unit at your disposal, or you can also invest in static systems, too. Of course, there are no right or wrong answers as to which system works best here – it’s all a case of considering your individual needs!

You’ll likely want to invest in a concrete boom pump if you are struggling to get those trickier bits of your construction or building project layered in concrete from a standing level. In many cases, this type of pump will take away plenty of time and effort and will make sure that there is less labour involved with concrete layering.

How Else Might a Boom Pump Device be Helpful?

As mentioned, the boom pump system is great if you have high-level concrete pouring needs. It’s also a fantastic asset if there are obstacles or obstructions in your way, and normal concrete pumping or pouring systems are unable to support you.

You might also find that this type of concrete pump is ideal for pouring mix from above down onto a project. Ultimately, you’ll find that a boom pump is going to give you easier access to some of the trickier points and fixtures which traditional concrete solutions just can’t handle.

The best news is that a boom pumping system is very flexible, meaning that while you can generally expect a stretch of around 72m at basic length, you can also invest in extensions or ask for additional help from concrete suppliers.

Is a Boom Pump Right for my Project?

If you are finding laying foundations difficult due to tricky to reach spaces, then a concrete boom pump vehicle could make all the difference. Why not take a look at the pump options available and take a chance on a more flexible system and operation for your building and construction needs?

There’s no need for you to be doing more work and taking on more hassle than you need to. A fantastic boom pumping system could save you time, money, and energy. Take a look at what’s available and compare! If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch today on 07812 182778 or head over to our contact page for more details.

The post What is a Boom Pump? first appeared on Base Concrete.

What is Reinforced Concrete?

A lot of you will be familiar with reinforced concrete as a building material, but may not be aware of the finer details. Commercial concrete is often a good solution for building work, we will be discovering a bit more about why this is the case, and the best ways to go about using the material for your building projects.

Everything You Need to Know About Reinforced Concrete

Commercial Concrete

This is concrete used as part of a building project, often used to create or enhance business facilities, industrial buildings, warehouses and retail stores. In an average building, you will find commercial concrete in plenty of spaces, such as the walls, floors and even some architectural details. A large majority of commercial buildings would have been put together with heavy use of commercial concrete. Like domestic concrete it has many benefits when used on a building site, durability being one of the most obvious.

Domestic Concrete

Domestic, or residential concrete usually has less demand placed on it in terms of structural performance and durability, but in itself, it is still considered a durable building material. Domestic concrete floors and pavements usually require a lower strength mix design and lighter reinforcement than commercial concrete.

reinforced concrete floor

Concrete Pumps

The purpose of a concrete pump is to have a tool that can convey liquid concrete. This works by having one piston drawing liquid concrete into a cylinder from a hopper while the other piston simultaneously pushes concrete out into discharge pipes. There will be a valve which can determine the cylinder that is open to the concrete hopper and the one which is open to the discharge pipes, which gets switched over each time the pistons reach an endpoint, with the process continuing with the first cylinder now discharging and the second drawing fresh concrete from the hopper.

Concrete Services

If you need to deal with reinforced concrete there are a couple of things that are crucial to consider. You need to make sure that if you are laying the material yourself you know what you are doing with it. You must also make sure that the concrete is of a high-quality standard. You must have the facilities to mix it correctly as well as an appropriate skill/strength level to physically handle it/the required machinery.

Alternatively, you may need to use the services of a professional concrete company, like Base Concrete, to prepare and lay the concrete and get your building project completed. Commercial concrete can be a great asset to all sorts of projects and can be purchased with some very good deals, just make sure you are only ever involved in using the services of professional and trusted companies. It is almost a guarantee that your area will have quite a lot of concrete services operating in your area where you can purchase your desired amounts of commercial concrete or have a service bring around the material and lay it on your behalf.

So, for all your concrete needs, contact Base Concrete today on 01442 389105. For more details, visit our contact page.

The post What is Reinforced Concrete? first appeared on Base Concrete.

Why Concrete is a Great Choice for Floors

You may just see concrete as a flooring option that is a pretty standard arrangement, one that places tend to opt for if they can’t think of a better choice. But some noteworthy reasons make concrete a great choice for flooring, it can elevate a stepping space to the next level… Let us take a look at 6 great benefits of concrete flooring and how it can transform the look of your property.

Strength 

If you know anything about the strengths of concrete, you will know that it’s a very durable mixture indeed. We’re talking about a material that can withstand very high volumes of weight, with strong pressure presenting no issues whatsoever. Heavy equipment and vehicles would not be enough to make a dent on a concrete floor. So a concrete floor can easily take all the foot traffic and moving of furniture that the average household is likely to take part in regularly without any issues!

Long-lasting

This durability means that the concrete will hold up and last for years to come. Especially if the concrete flooring is well looked after and sealed, you can expect it to last for a very long period before it becomes anywhere near being worn down. And even when the texture and colour begin to change with age, a long way down the line, that adds a bit of ‘character’ to the style of the flooring and is not a practical issue unless it actually becomes damaged in any respects.

Plenty of design options

Concrete does seem to be stereotyped as a boring flooring type, but that is quite unfair. Designers have come up with a wide range of options, with absolutely loads of different colour and textual effects to choose from. And don’t forget you can stain or paint the surface of concrete for your desired effects and also opt for other specialities such as polished concretes.

Reasonable 

If you’re cost-conscious, whether you’re looking to purchase domestic concrete or require flooring for office space, it remains one of the more economical options available. The clever aspect is that you can choose a faux floor pattern that resembles the style of a much more expensive flooring type for a fraction of the cost.

Easy to Maintain

Another big benefit of concrete is that it’s very easy to maintain. As mentioned, it will keep even better with a seal of some kind, a protective sealant that should be reapplied every 3-9 months on average. Regular sweeping and mopping will help keep the concrete looking fresh and new, but other than that, not much maintenance is required. Polishing your concrete is also a great way to keep it looking its best.

Good for Indoor and Outdoor

A final benefit of concrete flooring is it’s a reliable choice for both indoors and outdoors, so you can have it set up in your home or garden area.

You should enjoy selecting a great looking concrete flooring style, but there is also an alternative option. Consider hiring a mini concrete mixer which for a very small daily fee can produce your required amounts of concrete from the comfort of your garden! This can work out to be a very affordable way of getting the job done! So, for all your concrete needs, contact Base Concrete today on 01442 389105. For more details, visit our contact page.

The post Why Concrete is a Great Choice for Floors first appeared on Base Concrete.

The Many Uses of Concrete

Where would we be without concrete? It’s one of the most versatile and essential products for almost all construction projects across the world. It’s a substance that fills our world and can be seen in almost everything we see, but also one that is so easily overlooked.

There are so many uses for concrete. Its applications and uses are more varied and more widespread than you can imagine. There are over 20 different types of concrete that are used in a multitude of construction projects, but what are the most popular applications for it? What is it that makes concrete such an advantageous material to use, and how is it used in both domestic and commercial developments. Let’s take a look.

Origins of Concrete

Concrete, in one form or another, has been with us since 6500 BC. It can be traced back to what is now, the United Arab Emirates, where Nabataea traders created concrete floors, houses and even underground cisterns.

The Egyptians were using it to build the pyramids in 3000 BC, where they used mortars of lime and gypsum to create their version of cement. It was also used, not surprisingly perhaps, to help construct the Great Wall of China. It didn’t become concrete, at least what we recognise it as today, until the 1800s, but since then, its uses have grown more and more.

Buildings

For any of us living in a house or working in a building, it’s likely to be made from brick and mortar to some degree. In the UK, it took off after World War II as part of the rebuilding efforts. Nowadays, it’s probably the most popular application of concrete in the modern age and will be for centuries to come.

Foundation

Even if the building itself is more steel and glass, its foundations will be made from or secured in, concrete. Concrete is so popular because it won’t burn or rot, which means that the foundation is going to maintain its strength and rigidity for many years.

Roads and Bridges

As we move up in the world, the very streets you walk on and the bridges you use to cross those roads will also be made of concrete. Again, concrete wins against other materials because of its durability and safety. It might not be obvious, but another advantage of concrete in these environments is that it offers better reflectivity at night. Of course, it’s not just pedestrians it has to support, but because it can hold heavier weights, such as cars and trucks, it’s the perfect material to use.

Why Concrete has so Many Uses

The applications for concrete don’t stop there. They are only the start. Concrete is so popular in different projects simply because of its adaptability. It’s not sensitive to moisture, can be shaped and moulded into almost any design, affordable and is recyclable.

It has a very long lifespan, doesn’t release any dangerous organic compounds and is just as safe for inhabitants. It’s easy to forget the difference concrete has made to our world, but just look around and you’ll see that it’s everywhere.

Contact Us

Thank you for reading this blog post. Should you be looking for any mixes or perhaps ready mixed concrete itself, then we can deliver it straight to your door. So, if you have any upcoming tasks, then get in touch today on 01442 389105 or visit our contact page for more details.

The post The Many Uses of Concrete first appeared on Base Concrete.

The Different Types of Concrete Pumps

Construction projects require a constant supply of concrete, and without it, the construction project will be impossible to complete. Construction projects are usually faced with the issue of how to efficiently handle a large quantity of concrete manually. To resolve this issue, the use of the different types of concrete pumps at construction sites was invented.

This invention made the handling and placing of large concrete easier. Concrete pumps also made the construction process of tall buildings, skyscrapers and large construction projects more organised and efficient. The market has different types of concrete pumps available according to the size of the construction projects. There are also many concrete services which allow concrete pumps to be hired.

The different types of concrete pumps used for the diverse construction project are cost-effective. During construction projects, it is very crucial to choose the right concrete pumps that are economical, efficient and one that is specifically designed for your particular construction project. Below are the different types of concrete pumps and their benefits.

Concrete Pumps can be categorised into boom pumps, concrete pumps trucks, stationary pumps and concrete line pumps.

a concrete pump pouring concrete onto construction site

Boom Pump

A boom pump is a type of concrete pump which is characterised by a controlled hydraulic arm where concrete is placed and dispersed accurately in the right direction where it’s needed. 

They’re usually attached to a truck. Boom pumps are normally used for huge construction projects. It can easily navigate any barrier on its way and provides the right portions and angles during the construction process.

It’s easy to manoeuvre a boom pump. And it can churn out a large amount of concrete at a fast speed. It’s highly recommended to use the boom pumps for large construction projects.

Stationary pump

The stationary pump, unlike boom pumps, is characterised by less manoeuvrability. It’s usually attached to a truck or mounted on a trailer and the concrete is pumped through rubber hoses or steel pipelines. Working with a stationary pump requires that the direction of the pipeline be directed to the particular portion where the concrete is needed.

Stationary pumps are known for pouring concrete at a slower speed than other types of pump. So it’s recommended where the demand for a smaller volume of concrete is required for a construction project.

Specialised Usage Pump

Specialised usage pumps are one of the different types of concrete pumps that are readily available. Specialised Usage Pumps are a premium option. They can be designed for special type of construction projects, such as construction projects in mines or tunnels.

Concrete Line Pumps

Concrete line pumps are usually referred to as a trailer-mounted concrete pump or truck-mounted concrete pump because of its arrangement. The arrangement features a line pump attached to the trailer or the back of the truck. They are compact and recommended for small construction projects.

When choosing the right type of concrete pumps for a particular construction project, factors like the design of concrete mix, vertical and horizontal distances, size of the aggregate being used, volume or quantity of concrete should be carefully considered. Thank you for reading this month’s blog. Should you have any queries or perhaps are looking for equipment to hire, call us on 01442 389105 or visit our contact page for more details.

The post The Different Types of Concrete Pumps first appeared on Base Concrete.

How to Mix Concrete by Hand or in a Mixer

Lots of people fear using concrete. If it goes wrong, it can be difficult to fix, but for smaller domestic jobs it’s actually a lot easier than many people think. With this guide, we’ll go over the different ways to mix concrete so you can decide what’s best for you when attempting your DIY project.

Concrete Proportions

Concrete has 3 main ingredients. Cement, aggregate, and sand. These ingredients are mixed with water, which when dried out, binds into a solid, very hard material. Depending on what you’re using the concrete for, these can be mixed in different proportions to give you different finishes and strengths.

It’s very important to get these proportions correct. With too much sand, your concrete won’t be hard enough to withstand the test of time. However, too much aggregate and you’ll be rushing to find a way to cover it up and pretend that it isn’t there.

Mixing Methods

In a domestic setting, there are several different approaches you can take to mix your concrete. If you’re happy giving the different proportions a go, you can either do this by hand or by using a mixer. For small scale jobs, mixing by hand can be ideal as it’s easy to keep track of the consistency and see how it’s going. This can often be a good thing to do as a practice if this is your first time. For larger jobs, a concrete mixer can save you hours of time and strength mixing larger amounts of concrete together.

When it comes to domestic concrete, it’s often overlooked that there are some other options also available to you, especially for slightly larger jobs such as concrete bases for sheds, summerhouses and other garden accessories. The main differences between domestic and commercial worksites are space. Often with a commercial worksite, the work will be planned to make these processes as efficient as possible, allowing the concrete mixers to reverse right up to where they’re going. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t utilise similar methods.

Types of Concrete Mixers

There are two main different types of concrete mixer. There are ordinary concrete mixers and also volumetric concrete mixers and both of these have different uses. You’ll likely have seen ordinary concrete mixers or mini mixers driving around quite frequently. These have the advantage of being able to transport one of many different mixes of concrete. Extra ingredients can be added to the concrete at the factory in order to provide different properties such as waterproofing or extra fibres for additional strength. However, this isn’t often needed when it comes to domestic concrete.

The other type of concrete mixer is a volumetric concrete mixer. These are ideal for domestic concrete as you don’t need to worry about having too little or too much. ‘Mix as you go’ concrete mixers contain the raw ingredients needed and as you pour out the concrete will mix it straight away. They also have the added advantage over traditional concrete mixers of being able to supply multiple different mixes of concrete to the same job without having to pay the additional cost of bringing in a second load.

Concrete mixers and volumetric concrete mixers are also a great choice for people taking on DIY projects that don’t want to take the risk of getting the mix wrong. All you’ve got to worry about is where it goes with the extra guarantee of knowing that it will stand the test of time. Thank you for reading this blog post. Should you have any enquiries, feel free to call us on 07812 182778 or visit our contact page for more information.

The post How to Mix Concrete by Hand or in a Mixer first appeared on Base Concrete.

Benefits of Onsite Mixed Concrete

While you’re in the planning stages of your latest project, have you considered the benefits of onsite mixed concrete? If not, let us explain!

Budget

One of the great benefits is the amount of control that you have if you opt to use on-site mixed concrete. You see with this method you will receive the exact amount and mix of concrete that you require. As a result, you are controlling your budget by only paying for the amount you use. It avoids having loads of unused concrete hanging about!

Consistency of Concrete

Using mixed on-site concrete supply allows you more control over the consistency of the concrete. This is because, with the volumetric mixers that will be used, the materials that go into the concrete are kept separate until the batching process. This will mean you would be able to pick an exact consistency that would suit your needs.

 

Say, for some reason the consistency required changed halfway through the project, have no fear, as it’s on-site, this can still be altered! The great thing is the logistical advantage-you have when the concrete is delivered directly to your site. You will find that many companies offer next or even same-day delivery.

Fresh Concrete

That points us to another mixed concrete benefit. If you have the supply on-site, you’re providing your team with access to constant fresh concrete. When it comes to the pouring, it is always fresh. There are times when a delay may hit your project but that cannot be helped, and the fact you can keep the concrete fresh is a massive bonus.

 

Do note that if traditional drum mixers are being used, these can be impacted by delays because of their need to transport pre-mixed concrete in a drum from the yard to a site, meaning there is a chance it could go off. But with a mixed onsite service, there will be the option to change or extend the order on the spot, because the concrete providers will be able to produce the exact type of concrete needed-fresh!

Reduced Waste 

Keeping with the notion of how much more control you have with this concrete set up when it comes to on-site mixed concrete it is easier to scale your needs in relation to project size. Working on a very large site? You would benefit from volumetric mixers as these can hold up to twice the amount of the traditional drum mixers. Or perhaps it’s more of a smaller project? Likewise, on a small site, the mixers can produce smaller volumes with ease. This helps you to have the amounts you need and cut down on waste in the process.

Concrete Waste

Regarding quality, all the best onsite mixed concrete services will make sure to be providing you with concrete that is made from only the finest materials. Also, keep in mind you will be able to have the mix tailored to suit your needs, so if you require a tougher mix that can be made up or something more workable can also easily be fixed up, no issues.

 

If you agree that onsite mixed concrete is the way to go for your project, Base Concrete can help. Thank you for reading this blog post. If you are looking for anything to do with concrete, Base Concrete has you covered. Call today on 01442 389105 or visit our contact page for more details.

The post Benefits of Onsite Mixed Concrete first appeared on Base Concrete.

Top Tips To Sealing A Concrete Floor

How To Seal A Concrete Floor?

Using concrete flooring in your home can be an excellent choice. Especially if you’re interested in the durability of your floor. However, to make a concrete floor last it’s important to seal it properly since concrete is porous.

Sealing a concrete floor is an effective way to keep your floor free of stains from substances such as grease, oil, water, and others. As if that’s not enough, sealed floors look beautiful and are easier to clean.

To ensure that the sealer is effective, however, the application process has to be done properly. Everything you do, from surface preparation to picking the right application tool, will go a long way towards determining the final outcome. 

How To Go About Sealing A Concrete Floor 

Here’s a quick summary of what you should do when sealing a concrete floor

Clean the floor (remove stains, dust, oil, etc. from the concrete)  Remove any old sealer from the floor Use an etching solution to open up the concrete Use a sprayer or roller to apply the first thin coat of sealer  After the first layer has dried, apply a second coat of sealer in the opposite direction Leave the sealer on the concrete until it dries fully (avoid driving or walking on the concrete until it’s dry) 

Cleaning the floor

To avoid inconvenience, you should remove the furniture and everything else from the room. Keep in mind that you will need somewhere to store the items for no less than one week. Once the room is clear, sweep it thoroughly, and then proceed to clean any area that is still dirty. 

You can use mineral spirits to clean grease spills. Once the floor looks clean, use a concrete cleaner to ready the floor for sealing. Rinse the cleaner off, and then wait for the floor to dry. At this point, you can use a concrete repair caulk to fill any visible cracks. Then finally, wait until the caulking has dried completely.

Removing the old sealer

If the floor had an old sealant, you have to wait before applying the new sealant. If you’re not sure whether a sealant was used on your floor or not, you can use water to test this. To do this pour approximately one cup of water on the concrete.

If the water does not soak into the floor but instead beads up and remains on the surface, the floor had been sealed. If the floor had not been sealed, the water would soak into the floor. To remove the sealant, you can use a chemical stripper.

Since chemical strippers are acid-based, be sure to protect yourself when removing the sealant. After removing the sealant, you’ll have to let the floor dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding.

Choosing the sealer

There are four main types of sealers to choose from:

•   Acrylic sealers 

This kind of sealer sits on top of the floor and is mainly used to seal interior floors. Acrylic sealers are easy to apply, but they don’t protect the floor effectively against grease and oil stains when compared to other sealers.

•   Epoxy sealers 

Despite being more durable compared to acrylic sealers, this type of sealer also sits on top of the concrete. Epoxy sealers protect your floor effectively against grease stains, but they are difficult to apply. They are also available in various colors enabling you to change the look of your floor.

•   Polyurethane sealers 

This type is mainly meant for use over other types of sealers. Polyurethane sealers have UV protection, which keeps them from turning yellow over time. They also sit on top of the concrete, but the layer is usually thinner.

For this reason, polyurethane sealers are mainly applied over epoxy as the top layer. The sealers are available in semi-gloss, matte, and glossy finishes. Such sealers are typically fine when used over other sealers, but if you’re not sure, you can always get some clarification from the shop you are buying from.

•   Silane/siloxane sealers 

You can use this type of sealer if you don’t want to change the look of your floor. Since the sealers penetrate the concrete, it won’t become glossy or darker. It will retain the matte grey color. This kind of sealer lasts 20 years or more and is effective in protecting the floor against stains and deterioration.

concrete flooring

pplying the sealant

Here’s what you should do when applying the sealant:

1. Carefully read and understand the instructions

Every sealant is a tad different from the other. For that reason, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions to attain quality results for your project. Be sure to pay attention to important details such as the most appropriate temperature and humidity recommendations for application.

2. Ventilate the room

In whatever room you’re working from, ensure that there is enough ventilation by opening the windows and doors where applicable. You can also use an outside-facing fan to facilitate the movement of air from the room to the outside area.

3. If using an epoxy sealant, mix the two parts together

Epoxy sealants come in two different containers whose content should be mixed before application. In such a case, you should pour the content of the smaller container into the bigger one and then use a stir stick to mix them thoroughly.

You should mix them only if you’re ready to start the application process. It’s also important to note that you’ll have a period of one hour or so to get the epoxy down. For that reason, you have to be quick when working.

4. Divide the room into smaller sections 

It’s recommended that you divide the room into four sections for ease of application. You should start with the least accessible section, and work your way out to the door so that you won’t have to walk on the wet sealant.

5. Use a small paintbrush when sealing the edges of the floor

Get a paintbrush that is 5.1 to 7.6 cm wides and use it to apply the sealer along the edges of the concrete floor where the paint pad or rolling brush may not reach. Be sure to use nice, even strokes when applying the sealer.

6. Apply the sealer using a rolling brush or paint pad 

Pour some sealant into a painting tray and then dip a roller brush or a paint pad into the paint. If using a roller brush, be sure to roll the brush evenly in the paint. Use the roller brush or paint pad to apply a thin coat of the sealer along the edge that you’ve already painted.

Continue applying the sealer across the floor until you’ve covered the entire floor. When applying the sealer, you should ensure that there is always a wet edge to carry on from. The reason for doing so is to achieve a uniform look on the floor. 

Since you’ve already divided the room into smaller sections, you can work on each one of them at its own time. As you apply the sealer, make sure that you spread it evenly across the floor. You should also keep track of your area of coverage to avoid ending up with some patches that haven’t been sealed.

7. Apply a second coat 

For a smooth and even finish, you should apply a second thin coat. To ensure better coverage of the sealant across the floor, you should apply the second coat at right angles to the first one. Let the sealer dry as per the time recommended by the manufacturer on the sealant can, before walking or driving on the concrete. You should be ready to wait for up to four days to allow the sealant to dry completely.

Final thought, 

Sealing your concrete floors is a foolproof way to increase their lifespan while also enhancing their beauty. The good thing is that you can easily complete a floor sealing project by yourself. If, however, you’re not particularly confident with your DIY skills, you should hire an expert.

If any of our high-quality services interest you, give us a call on 01442 389105 or 07812 182778 today. Or fill out the enquiry form on our contact page for more information.

The post Top Tips To Sealing A Concrete Floor first appeared on Base Concrete.