If you are considering laying concrete for a home improvement project, there are several questions to answer before starting construction. Concrete is one of the foundational materials for many construction projects, so choosing the right type of concrete is extremely important.
Different Types of Cement Delivery
Ready Mix concrete is probably one of the easiest types of concrete for the do-it-yourselfer to use. It is sold in large bags of powder mix and only requires the addition of water to become a mixture that is easily poured and laid into forms.
Ready Mix is good for small projects, but can be quite expensive for large projects. Additionally, it is difficult to manage mixing and getting the concrete into place before the material begins to set.
Transit Mix concrete is delivered to the job site by a concrete mixer truck. These are the trucks with revolving barrels that constantly mix the concrete as it is being transported. When the concrete is delivered, the forms must be already assembled, and the concrete workers must be prepared to begin immediately working with the concrete.
Transit Mix concrete is appropriate for large projects and involves paying not only for the concrete, but also for the delivery.
You-Haul concrete is similar to Transit Mix concrete, except that the homeowner must rent a mixer and deliver it to the project site himself. The cement is already premixed.
This approach is good for both small and large projects, but will involve work on the part of the homeowner to transfer the cement from the mixer to the cement forms.
What Are the Different Types of Concrete?
There are several different types of concrete, and each can be used in several different types of applications.
- General Purpose – General purpose cement is a mixture of Portland cement, gravel and sand. It is appropriate for curbs, sidewalks, driveways, patios and steps.
- Fiber-Reinforced Concrete – Fiber-reinforced concrete has fibers added to the cement mix that adds reinforcement to the gravel aggregate and sand. This type of cement is appropriate for applications where a great deal of foot traffic or heavy usage is expected, like garages, walkways or workshop floors.
- Countertop Concrete – Countertop concrete is specifically designed for the construction of kitchen and bath countertops. It is a low-moisture mix with a proprietary additive that reduces shrinkage when the concrete dries.
- Fast Setting Concrete – Fast setting concrete is designed to set up quickly. It is appropriate for installations that do not require forms like fence posts, deck posts or setting posts, as in a swing set. In most cases, it is only necessary to create the hole for the post, add the cement mix and water and wait for the mix to set.
How Long Does Concrete Need to Set?
The length of time needed for concrete to set depends on several factors, including the type of concrete used and the humidity and moisture levels of both the concrete and the environment.
As a general rule, most cement requires a minimum cure time of at least a month for large amounts of cement before it can be used. Concrete continues to cure and will become harder over time.