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Everything You Need To Know About Ready-Mix Concrete And Cement

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Whether you are building a residential home, a large commercial building, or a bridge, it's important to have a clear understanding of the ingredients used in ready-mix cement and how they work together to form concrete. This is vital because not all concrete is the same and utilizing the correct mix is important for getting the results you seek.

For a better understanding of ready-mix concrete, here's some basic information:

Concrete vs. Cement

Even though you may hear the terms "concrete" and "cement" used interchangeably, they are absolutely not the same thing. Concrete is actually the finished product made by mixing cement, water, pozzolans, and aggregates.

Cement Basics

Cement is a binding material used to make concrete. It is a powder made of a combination of these common minerals:

  • alumina
  • gypsum
  • iron oxide
  • lime
  • silica

When cement comes into contact with water a process called hydration begins and it forms crystals that lock together to strengthen your concrete.

Continual Hydration and Curing Concrete

If you have ever seen someone watering their newly poured concrete, they are doing so to ensure the end result is a very strong material. Since it is the hydration process that strengthens concrete, a regularly timed sprinkling of water on a fresh pour ensures there is plenty of water molecules around to promote continual hydration. Once the hydration process stops, then the concrete will stop becoming stronger.

Pozzolans Basics

Since you are unfamiliar with ready-mix cement, it's likely you have never heard the term "pozzolan". A pozzolan is a powdered material made of silica or alumina that chemically reacts with the water and calcium hydroxide in ready-mix concrete to form cementitious bonds and hardens concrete. 

Colored Ready-Mix Concrete Additives

If you are pouring a patio, walkway, or decorative wall, then you also have the option of having the ready-mix concrete service add colored additives into your concrete mix. Colored additives are made of recycled glass slag or natural minerals.

Concrete Crack Prevention

Finally, it's important to note that a natural byproduct of the hydration and curing processes of concrete is cracking. Concrete always cracks as it contracts during the curing and drying process. So, the secret to a good-looking finished concrete job is to force it to crack where you want it to instead of where it chooses. In order to force cracking in a specific location, you need to cut regularly spaced joints into the wet concrete.

For more information, reach out to companies like P & L  Concrete Products Inc & Garden Center