5 top concrete facts
At Base Concrete, we deliver our concrete to you so you can use it when & where you need, but we also like to research our business and look into some interesting facts that many wouldn’t know about concrete.
Concrete is one building material that is so popular the world over. Most of our roads, parts of our home, among other structures are constructed using concrete. As such, we often assume that we know all there is to this precious material. Far from it, there are lots of facts about it that most have never known. The following are five major things that you probably didn’t know about this building material:
1. In ancient times, the Romans used it for building
As you may already know, concrete is extremely durable if mixed correctly with other materials. It will also need to be cured correctly if it is to last the test of time. But how do we know that concrete was used in the ancient Rome? Well, structures built using this material are still in existence today. A classic example is the Pantheon. The dome of this structure is the made of concrete that is unreinforced and is the largest in the world. The cement was made by mixing pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash with slaked lime. After the Roman Empire had fallen, the knowledge for making cement had been forgotten by the Romans. However, during the 18th century, the skill was revived. The other popularly known structures that were made out of concrete include The Panama Canal, The Hoover Dam and The Three Gorges Dam.
2. It becomes stronger when it stays wet for long durations
Concrete is made by mixing cement, water and other materials. During the process of making concrete, a chemical reaction between the cement and water takes place. This is what strengthens the concrete after all. So, if you want your concrete to be stronger, ensure you keep it wet for as long as possible. Builders know this and this is why they don’t let it dry out too quickly (hence all the barriers around wet cement) On average it should be kept wet for at least three days.
3. Over the years, concrete gets stronger
When proper mixing, pouring and curing, it gets stronger as time goes by. In fact, it will continue to strengthen for decades. The explanation for this is based on the fact that calcium hydroxide that is found in cement turns into calcium carbonate when it absorbs carbon dioxide. The product, calcium carbonate is not soluble in water and commonly exists in rocks such as limestone and marble.
4. If the temperatures are too cold, concrete doesn’t harden
The rate at which concrete becomes hardened is negatively affected by extremely cold temperatures. Therefore, if cement is to be poured during the cold winter months, it must be protected. When crystals of ice form in the cement, proper hardening is hindered. This eventually leads to weaker concrete. This is why it needs to be protected from the atmospheric air so that freezing can be prevented by the heat resulting from making the cement.
5. Concrete can be modified to appear like other materials that are more expensive
With the rise of many new technologies, concrete can be made to imitate more costly materials. Examples of such materials include porcelain, cobbles, wood, ceramic tiles, travertine or granite, leather or brick. Hence, it can be used for countertops, and floors in office buildings or residences. When polished well, it can have a matte finish or glistens. You are also able to stain, dye or stamp concrete which gives it many possibilities.
There you have the 5 things that most of us have probably not known regarding concrete. So now when you are ordering your concrete from us at Base Concrete you will have some interesting facts to discuss with our delivery team!