by: KHC Concrete Construction


We’ve got some answers to some of the most common questions about concrete. Check it out!

What’s the difference between concrete and cement? 

Cement is actually an ingredient used to make concrete. It’s what reacts to the water in the mix and becomes the glue of the concrete, holding it together and making it strong. 


How can I reinforce concrete? 

If you’re looking to reinforce your concrete project, one solution is to put reinforced concrete permanently into compression by prestressing it (also called pretensioning). You can also use rebar for structural reinforcement by placing it vertically and horizontally in 4-foot sections creating a grid pattern. Another option is to use fiber mesh or wire mesh to prevent cracks from forming. Fiber mesh tends to be less expensive and requires far less labor to install. By using both rebar and fiber mesh, you’ll build an effective support system to reinforce your concrete project. 


Is Cracking Normal? 

Because concrete isn’t flexible, it’s likely to crack during freeze/thaw conditions. This is perfectly normal and small cracks won’t compromise the concrete’s strength. These cracks can be addressed by placing “joints” in the area or by adding a fibrous product to it. 


Does Concrete Require Maintenance? 

While concrete is pretty durable on its own, there are some things you can do to ensure that it stays in good shape: Avoid applying deicing chemicals during the winter. Don’t use harsh acids to remove stains. Clean your concrete regularly and apply a sealant to protect it from the elements. 


How does the weather affect when concrete can be poured? 

When outdoor temperatures are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to avoid pouring concrete. However, if you need to pour concrete in cool weather, it’s actually stronger than concrete poured in hot weather, thanks to the slow curing period. Admixtures such as water reducers or accelerators can be added to concrete to combat potential issues. With those additions, the only times that are not recommended are when it’s raining or freezing temperatures. 


How much concrete should I use? 

To determine the amount of concrete you’ll need to order in cubic yards, measure the length and width that you’d like to cover. Multiply the length by the width to determine the square footage. Convert the thickness from inches to feet. Then multiply the thickness in feet by the square footage to determine the amount of concrete you will need. One cubic yard of concrete weighs around 4,000 pounds. 


Can I use chemical de-icers on concrete? 

We recommend not applying deicing chemicals for snow and ice removal during the winter. To provide traction, sand is recommended. If absolutely necessary, we suggest using magnesium or potassium-based deicers, as they are less damaging to the concrete. However, the best suggestion is to keep the snow away by shoveling. 


Can I make concrete look more appealing? 

Yes! There are many options for upgrading concrete. You can add color directly into the concrete mix, or stamp the concrete to look like brick or stone. Stamping the concrete not only looks pleasing to the eye but also helps disguise any future flaws. 


Is Concrete Always Gray? 

Mineral colors can be added to concrete to give it a color. This means concrete can come in virtually any color, from red to brown to green and more. 


How do I stain/paint my concrete floor? 

To stain or paint your concrete floor, visit any paint store and discuss with the store manager how you want the floor to look and what function it will perform. They should be able to recommend the appropriate stain or paint 


What does it mean to “cure” concrete? 

Curing is one of the most important steps in concrete construction because proper curing greatly increases concrete strength and durability. Concrete hardens as a result of hydration: the chemical reaction between cement and water. During the curing period—from five to seven days after placement for conventional concrete—the concrete surface needs to be kept moist to permit the hydration process. New concrete can be wet with soaking hoses, sprinklers, or covered with wet burlap, or can be coated with commercially available curing compounds, which seal in moisture. 


How Long Does Concrete Take to Cure? 

It all depends on the depth of concrete poured, the temperature outside, and the type of cement used in the mix. But on average, it takes around 2-3 hours to set and then around 7 days to fully cure. After that, it will continue to gain strength for about 28 days. 


Is Concrete Recyclable 

Recycling actually occurs from beginning to end with concrete. Many wastes and industrial byproducts (like ash or furnace slag), can be added to concrete mixes, which reduces the reliance on raw materials. When the lifespan of concrete comes to an end, it can be recycled for a variety of different uses. 


Can I pour concrete myself? 

While it may be tempting to tackle a concrete project yourself, there’s a lot to consider before you start mixing up that gray matter! Pouring and finishing concrete is hard work, and often the convenience of hiring a contractor outweighs the enticement of a challenge for most homeowners. From planning a complete and realistic budget to considering help from professional concrete contractors for certain steps of the project to making sure your project is allowed by the local permitting office, there’s a lot to do before you even start mixing.