Working with concrete? Here’s what you need to know
Concrete is made from cement, water, sand, crushed stone or gravel, and a few other elements to help with sealing and appearance. As a result of the different type of concretes there are, its exact ingredients will depend on its intended use. Mixing these materials together produces a chemical reaction that causes the workable material to eventually harden into a very strong slab. These features make it an incredibly functional and durable material which can be used for a wide range of purposes- sculptures, sidewalks, house foundations among others.
- When it comes to making concrete, the ratio of water to cement matters. The amount and type of aggregates (rocks, sand, or gravel) used, play a role in the overall characteristics of the concrete. You need a precise amount of water for complete hydration. If you use less than the recommended amount, the concrete won’t be strong enough, but using too much water also weakens the mixture. Always mix just enough water for the paste to be pourable and workable.
- Always wear protective clothing when working with concrete. Having it touch your skin can cause skin irritation, third-degree burns, or serious eye damage (when it enters your eye). How? Concrete contains a mixture of aggregates and cement mix that is caustic. (PS: The chemicals that make up any cement mix include iron, calcium, aluminum, silicon, and other chemicals). This is why it’s important to wash any exposed areas of skin even if you’re not aware of contact—concrete burns can take hours to or days before pain or irritation is felt, or before your condition can turn serious. Make sure to also cover and protect your skin from the wet concrete with the right safety equipment to be extra safe.
- When choosing the right finish for your concrete, there are several options to choose from. Design elements, like acid stains, dyes, and stamping, all create a unique custom finish that can help make the concrete look more expensive compared to its original functional appearance. For a beautifully smooth surface, polish it with an orbital sander and then apply a thin coat of water-based acrylic sealer. When it dries, the project will be sleek and easier to clean.
At DBS Industries, we produce ready mix concrete so you can leave all the hard work to the professionals. Follow our social media pages (hyperlinked) for more tips & don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Our team would be happy to help!