Ordering and using concrete in your building project needn’t be stressful. By taking your time to carefully prepare you can avoid some of the most common mistakes. Problems can occur during the installation, but they can also happen at the ordering stage. If you get your order wrong, progress on your project can come to a halt and it can be costly to put right.
Here we take a look at five of the most common mistakes people make when ordering concrete. By being aware of the potential issues that can arise, you’re less likely to encounter them.
Not ordering enough concrete
The most common reason that concrete orders go wrong is that someone orders an incorrect amount. Order too much, and you can still complete the project, you’ll just end up out of pocket. Order too little, and you have a problem on your hands. It’s always best to overestimate, but not by too much. People often forget that concrete has three dimensions, and as a result they fail to order enough concrete to ensure they have the correct depth. With non-load bearing, or decorative concrete this may not present a problem. If you’re using concrete for floors, foundations, driveways and load bearing supports, your concrete may not be thick enough to safely do the job.
By using a concrete calculator, you can help reduce the risk of this happening.
The wrong mix
Well prepared and laid concrete is tough, long-lasting and reliable. It gives strength and structure to construction projects and will require very little in the way of ongoing maintenance. Get the ratios in the mix wrong and the concrete will be useless. Concrete is composed of the same three basic ingredients. These are Portland cement, water and aggregates such as sand as a fine aggregate and gravel as a coarse aggregate, but that isn’t the end of the story. Different construction situations call for different quantities of materials to ensure that the resulting concrete is up to the task. A major infrastructure project is likely to require a very different mix to a back-garden repair project. So, before you make your order consider what it is you’re asking the concrete to do.
Problems on the site
Inexperienced people often want to rush to the concrete pouring stage, but if the site isn’t prepared correctly it can create problems. It takes time to properly prepare a site for concrete. The most basic requirement is that concrete should be placed on a level, well-drained and well compacted surface for the best results. This will probably require some land clearing, with particular attention being paid to the removal of any roots that might create problems in the future. Tree roots grow with some force and can create cracks and other damage to concrete. Then the area will need to be levelled. Several inches of gravel can be added at this stage to help with drainage beneath the concrete, and to help prevent shifting and cracking. To further help with drainage, a drainage channel sometimes needs to be dug.
The degree and type of preparation on site will again depend on the planned use of the concrete.
Concrete sealers help to ensure that your concrete looks attractive and remains durable. When it’s done correctly, it also brings with it a range of other benefits. An average concrete driveway can last 25-30 years, but without a proper sealant, discolouration and cracking can occur. Concrete is porous, meaning that it will readily absorb moisture. If that moisture doesn’t dry out, then it will create mould. Mould and mildew can form on concrete that remains damp for sustained periods. Sealant reduces the chances of mould being allowed to become a problem.
While sealant brings with it a range of benefits, if it’s applied incorrectly it can create problems. If moisture is trapped inside the sealant it can turn cloudy. Hot sunlight can create blisters in the sealant. If the concrete was too wet when the concrete was applied, the concrete sealant can flake.
All these problems can be overcome and by ensuring the sealants is applied correctly, you will save yourself extra work.
Removing forms before the concrete is set
One of the main reasons why problems sometimes occur when concrete is being laid is that not enough time is given to the different stages. Each stage matters to the whole process. People can often be impatient when it comes to removing the forms that are required to give your concrete the correct shape. No matter how much care you’ve put into getting the mix, quantities and site right, if you remove the forms before the concrete is properly dry it can undo all your hard work. That’s why it’s important to exercise some restraint. You should wait at least 24 hours, or ideally 48 hours, if you can before removing the forms. If the weather is damp and cold, it can take longer for concrete to set.
Goodmix Concrete can help you through the whole process
At Goodmix Concrete we’re experienced in helping our customers through the whole concrete ordering process. We can advise about the right mix for your job, how to accurately calculate quantities, and the procedures you need to follow on site.
We are the leading supplier of ready-mix concrete and barrow mix concrete in the North West. All ready-mix concrete is delivered on time and poured on site to the customer’s exact specification.
Why not get in touch with our friendly and experienced team to discuss your project?