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Curing and Pouring Concrete: Best Practices for Summer

by TRP Ready Mix on July 11, 2018

A hand holds a chute to pour some ready mix concrete on a hot summer day.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Pouring and Curing Ready Mix Concrete When It’s Hot

Summer is a busy season for concrete contractors, but the hot weather poses challenges for curing concrete.

If it’s too hot outside, concrete will cure quickly and risk losing quality and strength. And if it’s also dry and windy, these three factors combined will increase the risk of drying concrete too quickly.

But there are ways to pour and cure concrete in the hot summer months without risking the concrete’s structural integrity.

If you’re planning a DIY concrete project, consider the following information and tips for pouring and curing concrete in the summer.

What Is the Ideal Temperature for Pouring Concrete?

To achieve the optimal concrete strength, the ideal temperature should be maintained at around 12˚ C (55˚ F).

However, it is safe to pour concrete with air temperatures between 10˚ C and 32˚ C (50˚ F and 90˚ F). If you must pour concrete outside of this temperature range, take extra precautions to ensure the concrete cures properly.

If it is too hot, the water content in the concrete will evaporate quickly, causing the concrete to dry too fast.

To pour concrete on hot summer days, make sure to pour the concrete when the temperature is the coolest—i.e. early morning. And keep the concrete wet to prevent it from drying too quickly.

Avoid pouring concrete at noon, or during the afternoon when the sun is the strongest and the temperatures are the highest.

What Is the Purpose of Curing Concrete?

The purpose of curing concrete is to maintain adequate moisture content and temperature so the concrete slab can gain its optimal strength as it sets.

Curing is mandatory in concrete construction. How concrete cures will determine its long-term strength and durability.

Concrete sets with a process called hydration. When concrete is hydrating, it absorbs water that bonds the concrete mix together, forming crystals around particles in the concrete. This crystallization strengthens concrete.

In cooler temperatures, the hydration process slows down, allowing more time for the crystal structures to strengthen. But when the temperature is too hot, the crystallization process speeds up, leaving less time for the crystal structures and concrete to strengthen.

In hot temperatures, water also evaporates from the surface of concrete, causing it to dry out and shrink. This will lead to weaker concrete at the top of the slab that is more prone to cracking.

Concrete can reach a solid state before it has completely cured. Properly curing concrete can take up to 28 days to reach its desired strength and quality.

What Happens When Concrete Dries Too Fast?

When concrete dries too fast, it is difficult to finish, since it loses workability. It will also have an increased rate of slump, so it will not be consistent throughout.

Concrete that dries too fast becomes soft, and in some cases, chalky.

It also results in a weak and unstable concrete, with reduced compressive strength and durability.

If the top of the concrete dries faster than the bottom due to hot weather, the top will shrink while the bottom does not. This results in internal problems that will damage the concrete slab. And shrinkage cracks can appear that will eventually get worse with time.

To achieve optimal concrete strength, the top and bottom halves of the concrete slab need to cure evenly at the same rate.

What Temperature Does It Have to Be for Concrete to Cure?

Concrete will not cure if it’s colder than -6˚ C (20˚ F). But, ideally, it should be kept at a minimum temperature of 10˚ C for at least three days. And concrete should not get hotter than around 32˚ C (90˚ F).

Why Do You Keep Concrete Wet?

Keeping concrete wet ensures that concrete will cure properly and reach its desired strength. This prevents concrete from drying out too quickly and risking shrinking, cracking, and reduced strength. The cement in concrete also needs constant moisture to gain strength.

It’s important to keep your concrete as moist as possible for seven days after placement so it gains strength and shrinks less, creating fewer cracks.

Here are tips to keep concrete wet and at a cool enough temperature in hot weather so it will cure properly:

  • Store the concrete mix and materials in a cool place or out of direct sunlight.
  • Use cold water for the concrete mix to keep its temperature down. Ready mixed concrete suppliers use cooling methods, such as adding ice to the concrete mix.
  • Reduce the mixing time once water has been added.
  • Batch and mix concrete at a ready mix concrete plant.
  • Be ready to receive and place delivered concrete so it can avoid prolonged exposure to heat.
  • Keep all concrete equipment covered, in the shade, and sprayed with cold water until the moment you need to use it.
  • Dampen the subgrade and side forms with cold water before pouring the concrete.
  • Do not finish the concrete while water is on the surface.
  • Prevent evaporation by covering concrete with curing blankets plastic sheeting, or spray-on membrane-forming curing compounds.
  • Keep concrete wet with water curing. Either pond or spray the surface periodically with a hose, or turn on a sprinkler to a fine mist, and then cover with wet burlap.
  • Block direct sunlight and wind using sunshades and windbreaks.
  • Use evaporative retarders if the temperature gets hotter and water is evaporating quickly from the concrete.

While it’s not ideal to pour and cure concrete in hot weather, it is possible. So keep these tips in mind to ensure your ready mix concrete maintains long-term strength and durability after you pour this summer.

Keep Your Concrete Patio Summer-Ready

by TRP Ready Mix on June 11, 2018

A group of friends sit around a patio table in a modern backyard with greenery and plant life surrounding them.

Cleaning and Caring for Concrete Patios throughout the Summer

Patio season has finally returned to Ottawa, and that means it’s time to dust off your patio furniture and remove any unsightly dirt from your patio’s concrete pad.

But your patio care shouldn’t end there. Besides cleaning your patio, you should check for damage and take preventative measures to ensure your summer space stays in top condition all year long.

We’ve put together some concrete-friendly maintenance tips on how to clean concrete patios and restore and care for them this summer.

How to Clean Your Concrete Patio

Start by clearing your patio of all furniture and décor. Remove any weeds that have grown around your patio and between the pavers, and give the concrete surfaces a good sweep.

For Lightly-Soiled Patios

Remove dirt with a stiff nylon-bristled brush (don’t use metal) and a diluted bleach solution. Oxygen bleach is a safer option.

Dilute any cleaners you use with water in a spray bottle, taking care not to spray any nearby plants in your garden. Rinse off your patio when finished.

For Tough Stains

Mix oxygen bleach with a bit of water to create a paste with a consistency like that of peanut butter. Apply to the stain and allow to sit for an hour before scrubbing with a nylon-bristled brush.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning

If you don’t want to use oxygen bleach on your patio, you can make your own eco-friendly cleaners.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water to clean stains, or use full-strength vinegar on heavily soiled areas.

You can also use a simple baking soda solution to get the job done.

For every gallon of water needed for cleaning, add a half cup of baking soda and an eighth of a cup of liquid dish detergent, mixing well. Spray this solution on your patio, let sit for 30 minutes, scrub, and rinse.

For Mildewed & Heavily-Stained Patios

You may need to use a pressure washer to thoroughly clean heavily stained patios. You can rent a pressure washer at a home improvement store.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the equipment carefully. Be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves, and use sheeting to protect your home from any loose debris.

For Stamped Concrete Patios

Use a garden hose or pressure washer to rinse off dirt and debris, then apply a small amount of liquid dish soap to the surface and scrub with a push broom.

Rinse well with a hose and allow the concrete to dry completely (wait at least 24 hours), or dry with a leaf blower.

Checking for Repairs

Once you’ve cleaned your patio, check for signs of damage, such as cracks, gaps, and worn-out sealer. Make any necessary repairs before the damage worsens and compromises the appearance and quality of your concrete.

Pouring More Concrete to Repair Damage

To repair damaged concrete, contact your local Ottawa concrete contractors to make repairs. Alternatively, you can order concrete and make the repairs yourself by replacing damaged concrete. Here’s how to pour concrete for a patio.

Preventative Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Patio

Seal the Concrete

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your patio, consider sealing the concrete with a concrete sealer to prevent future stains. Make sure your patio is completely dry before sealing.

Use a paint roller to apply the seal. Start from the middle of your patio and roll outward to the edges. Allow drying before using your patio.

Applying protective sealer prevents dirt, stains, and other substances from penetrating your concrete.

If you have a decorative stamped concrete patio, mix in an anti-skid material with the sealer, and use a sealer with UV protection to prevent the colour from fading in the sunlight. You should seal your concrete every two to three years, depending on how much wear it gets.

For the best results, seal in cooler temperatures in spring and fall, or before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. in summer.

Clean Regularly

While a sealed concrete patio will prevent stains, you should still sweep and wash your patio regularly to prevent dirt buildup and keep your patio looking pristine.

Fill Joints between Patio Stones with Polymeric Sand

Placing polymeric sand between concrete patio pavers will prevent weeds from growing up between the pavers and pesky bugs from living there.

This will ultimately prevent cracks from forming in your patio, prevent the need for future weeding, and also prevent bugs from burrowing between your stones. You can find polymeric sand in the landscaping and patio section at home renovation stores.

Follow these steps for placing polymeric sand between your patio stones:

  • Remove existing weeds and moss.
  • Clean patio stones with a cleaner or a pressure washer.
  • Pour the polymeric sand between joints using a small cup (i.e. a yogurt cup)—the sand should be 1/8 of an inch below the pavers.
  • Sweep excess sand into the joints.
  • Use a rubber mallet to tap your stones and compact the sand.
  • Remove excess sand with a leaf blower.
  • Mist the stones and sand with a garden sprayer about three to four times in one hour.
  • Don’t let water form puddles in the sand.
  • Allow 24 hours for the sand to set before using your patio.

Prevent Stains, Moss, and Dirt Buildup

Apply Wet & Forget to your concrete patio each spring to keep your patio clean of algae, moss, and dirt buildup. Here’s how:

  • In a garden sprayer, mix one part Wet & Forget with five parts water.
  • Spray on your patio surface.
  • Repeat every three or four months.

This should clean your concrete patio and keep it clean. But if there are any deep, hard-to-remove stains, spray with Wet & Forget and use a stiff brush to scrub the stains away.

Kill Weeds the Natural Way

Instead of using store-bought weed killers, you can make your own by filling a spray bottle with white vinegar and adding a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Spray this solution on weeds during the sun’s peak times to help the vinegar absorb into the weeds.

Don’t Use De-Icing Salts in Winter

As with concrete driveways and walkways, avoid using de-icing salts on your concrete patio in winter. De-icing salts wear down sealers and put your concrete at risk of cracking and damage throughout the winter.

Keep your concrete patio in tip-top shape this summer by taking the time to clean, repair, and care for your patio. Contact Ottawa concrete suppliers for more information about concrete patios.

Everything You Need to Know to Pour a Concrete Patio

by TRP Ready Mix on May 11, 2018

A scooter is parked outside on the patio of a restaurant.

Industry Tips for Building Patios with Ready Mix Concrete

Patio season is finally here, Ottawa! If you’re ready to enjoy your own outdoor patio this summer, why not build one yourself?

Using ready mix concrete, you can build a durable base for outdoor patios that will last a lifetime. Contact your local ready mixed concrete supplier and follow these steps for building your own concrete patio.

Checklist – Tools & Materials You’ll Need

Tools

  • Shovel;
  • Tamp;
  • Hammer or drill;
  • Tape measure;
  • Level;
  • Wheelbarrow;
  • Edger;
  • Bull float;
  • Nails or screws; and,
  • Steel or magnesium float.

Materials

  • Gravel or crushed rock;
  • Concrete mix and water or ready mixed concrete;
  • Wood stakes;
  • Rope string; and,
  • 2x4s.

Optional

  • Joints;
  • Aluminum screed; and,
  • Steel concrete form.

Tips to Help Your Prepare

Before ordering ready mixed concrete, you’ll first need to figure out how much concrete you’ll need for the project. Decide on a flat, convenient location for your patio and try to determine how large it will be.

Make sure you are compliant with local building regulations and check the location of underground utility lines and septic tanks. You absolutely must avoid digging into these and be sure not to build your patio on an area that may need to be accessed in the future.

Drive stakes into the corners of the patio area and tie strings between them. This will give you a visualization and therefore more accurate dimensions for your patio.

This border will also help you determine slope with a line level. For uneven ground, you can either dig out the high side or build up the low side. Use a hoe, shovel, or other gardening tool to remove grass, weeds, and topsoil from the roped-off area.

GETTING THE BASE READY

Digging

If you want your patio to be level with the ground, dig eight inches deep. Alternatively, for a raised patio, dig four inches deep. Next, tamp the earth to make it even and compact.

Adding Foundation

For patios that will hold heavy weight—i.e. a brick barbecue—first pour a layer of concrete for a more stable foundation. Otherwise, add a layer of gravel or crushed rock, and tamp until compact and even.

Add More Stakes

Drive sturdy stakes slightly outside of the original stakes and space the new ones at least two feet apart.

Installing the Frame (Form)

Cut 2x4s to the length and width of the patio and line them along the inside of the patio’s string border. These should be directly under the string since they are acting as the outer walls of your patio.

Next, nail or screw the 2x4s to the stakes. Check the level of the forms as you nail them to the stakes.

Saw off the top of the stakes just below the edge of the forms. If pouring concrete next to a house, structure, or slab of concrete, place an isolation joint between the concrete and the other surface.

Finally, coat the form boards with vegetable oil or a commercial releasing agent.

PLACING THE CONCRETE

Mix the concrete with water in a wheelbarrow, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Or have ready mix concrete delivered and poured professionally.

If pouring on your own, pour the concrete all at once and have someone help you shovel out the concrete. Push the concrete into all corners of the patio area with a shovel.

Use an aluminum screed or a flat piece of 2×4 wood to level the top of the concrete, working from one end to the other in a sawing motion. Having a helper holding the screed or 2×4 on the other end will make this easier.

ADDING THE FINISHING TOUCHES

Smooth the surface with a bull float, moving back and forth to fill in low spots.

Slide an edger between the concrete and the forms to create a rounded edge.

Once the concrete can support your weight, cut grooves in the concrete every eight feet to act as control joints. Then use a steel or magnesium float to finish smoothing out the surface.

Cover with plastic or a curing compound and allow to cure for at least two days before removing the form boards.

Lastly, enjoy your new concrete patio this summer!

5 Products That Can Damage Concrete Driveway & Floors

by TRP Ready Mix on April 11, 2018

A car wheel and rim sitting on a concrete floor in a garage, the driveway visible beyond..

Concrete Contractors Offer Advice to Protect Your Concrete Flooring and Driveways

Although concrete is extremely strong and durable, it is not immune to certain products and spills.

When concrete is sealed properly, it’s better protected from the elements and everyday wear and tear, including cleaning products and other substances. But even so, there are some products strong enough to stain or damage a concrete surface permanently.

During home renovations or while working on the car, you may spill some paint or oil. These spills may seem harmless, but you could end up with permanent ugly stains on your garage floor or driveway.

If you want to maintain the appearance of your concrete flooring, then protect your concrete and be cautious when using certain products.

There are concrete-cleaning products available at home repair stores that can help remove some of the culprits. But if these won’t work, contact concrete contractors for help repairing your concrete.

Concrete contractors will grind, seal, and even polish your concrete floors and driveway to make them look new again.

Here are the top five products that can damage concrete and how you can remove their stains.

Tape Adhesives

Tape adhesives are nearly impossible to remove from concrete. And if left on for too long, these adhesives might etch the concrete surface. Most construction-grade tapes use plasticizers, additives that help improve flexibility in the adhesive. Because concrete sealers are often somewhat porous, the plasticizers tend to bond very well to sealed concrete surfaces, creating an extremely strong bond.

What’s more, the similarity between resins in construction tape and concrete sealers creates a further issue. Sealers have a certain drying window – they might look and feel “dry” to the touch after two days, but chemically, they’re still setting. Applying construction tape at this point means you’re creating an incredibly strong bond between the two resins. When you peel back the tape, the adhesive remains (and potentially even some of the non-sticky portions of the tape).

It is possible to repair this damage. Concrete contractors would need to regrind and reseal the concrete surface, a time-consuming (and potentially costly) process. Want to avoid future repairs? Don’t apply tape directly to concrete!

Paint

Paint doesn’t necessarily damage concrete, but unlike so many other surfaces, concrete is incredibly difficult to clean paint from, sealed or unsealed. If you plan to do any painting, cover your concrete flooring first to avoid damage from paint spills. And if paint does spill, don’t allow it to dry. Wipe it immediately with a cloth and warm water. If it sets and dries, then you’re in a similar position to the damage caused by adhesives.

And just like adhesive damage, you’ll need to regrind and reseal the affected concrete to get it back to its original condition.

Drywall Mix

As with painting, always cover your concrete floors before installing drywall. Spilled drywall mix can cause unsightly blotches and patches on concrete products and are almost impossible to remove cleanly after they’ve dried. When it dries, you’ll have to regrind and reseal the affected concrete to get the clean, even look you want.

If you’re fast, though, you can quickly address spills. Using a drop cloth when working with drywall mix, including sheetrock mud, can help prevent any frustrating spills, but accidents do happen. Keep a spray bottle on hand filled with water, a trowel, and a sponge. Scrape off what you can immediately, then start spraying down the remaining mix and dabbing it away with a sponge. If you’re quick and diligent, you can remove most of the mix, or at least mitigate the damage.

Grease and Oil

The best solution for an oil stain is to clean it while it’s fresh. Use a diluted degreaser to remove fresh oil and grease.

Some of these household products might help remove oil and grease, but make sure to test them on a small surface first:

  • Scrub with detergent and warm water;
  • Spray with WD-40, leave overnight, and rinse off the next day; and
  • Apply oven cleaner, wait 15 minutes, and scrub with a hard-bristled brush (repeat if needed).

For older stains that have set deeply in the concrete, grinding and sealing will repair the damage.

To prevent oil stains altogether, place a tray of sawdust or cat litter under your car to catch oil drips.

Water and Moisture

For water spots on concrete, burnishing should do the trick. For acidic food spills like cola, vinegar, wine, and mustard, try to wipe up as soon as possible. If these spills end up leaving stains, then you’ll need to regrind and reseal the concrete surface.

Contact your local concrete contractors for help removing stains from your concrete.

Although concrete driveways and garage floors are not as cherished as hardwood floors, you should still protect them so they will look great for longer. Clean, well-maintained concrete floors and driveways also boost a home’s curb appeal if you ever decide to sell your home.

Working Safely and Responsibly with Concrete

by TRP Ready Mix on April 3, 2018

Ottawa concrete companies and contractors have an obligation to the environment and to their workers' safety.

Tips for Worker Safety and Sourcing Eco-Friendly Concrete Products

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. It’s versatile, long-lasting, and easy to work with.

But when working with concrete, you need to be safe and environmentally responsible. You can reduce your environmental footprint and keep workers safe with the right precautions. Where you order your concrete and how well you enforce workplace safety are crucial.

Here are tips for choosing a responsible concrete supplier in Ottawa and ensuring worker safety on the job so you can protect both your environment and your workers.

ECO Certification

We all must do our part to protect the environment. If business activities could potentially impact the environment, then a business needs an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to operate legally in Ontario.

This is why ECO Certification exists for concrete companies.

Concrete companies who are ECO Certified can assure their customers and communities that they, their facilities, and their concrete products are compliant to environmental and sustainable standards.

Certified companies are responsible for following best practices for the communities and environment in which they operate—including the air, water, noise, and waste.

So when choosing a reliable and responsible concrete supplier for your next concrete project, look for local concrete companies who are ECO Certified.

On-Site Safety Tips

When it comes to worker safety, you can never be too cautious. The weight and chemical composition of concrete can harm workers if these safety measures aren’t in place.

Hard Hats

Hard hats are essential safety gear for all construction sites, whether or not you are working with concrete. As a result, head protection is absolutely necessary to ensure optimal worker safety.

Eye Protection

Concrete can pose a threat to the eyes in both its dry and wet forms. To protect workers’ eyes from dust and concrete splatter, workers should wear full-cover goggles or safety glasses with side shields at all times.

Back Safety

Concrete and its separate ingredients—cement, aggregates, sand, water—are heavy. Whether you are mixing concrete on site or having it delivered from a local concrete supplier, make sure your workers follow these instructions for lifting heavy materials:

  • Keep your legs bent and your back straight;
  • Keep the weight between your legs and close to your body;
  • Do not twist your body while lifting or carrying heavy objects;
  • If the materials are too heavy, get others to help you;
  • Use mechanical equipment to bring heavy materials as close as possible to the desired location;
  • Opt to have concrete delivered to a final area with a truck pump or chute;
  • Use a shovel to push—not lift—concrete should into its final position;
  • To spread concrete, use a short-handled, square shovel, a concrete rake, or come-alongs; and,
  • Avoid excessive horizontal movement of the concrete to prevent over-exertion and separation of ingredients.

Skin Protection

Both fresh and dried concrete can irritate skin, so workers should take necessary precautions to avoid prolonged contact with concrete:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and waterproof gloves;
  • Wear high enough rubber boots to prevent contact while standing in fresh concrete;
  • Prevent fresh concrete from saturating clothing with moisture;
  • Rinse saturated clothing with water until clear;
  • Wash hands, arms, and other affected areas with pH-neutral soap and clean water;
  • Use waterproof pads to protect knees, elbows, and hands during concrete placing and finishing; and,
  • If skin becomes irritated, causing persistent or severe discomfort, seek medical attention.

With environmental and safety best practices, you can ensure your concrete projects are safe, sustainable, and responsible. Protect your workers’ health and safety while protecting the environment when working with concrete.

Tips For Maintaining Your Concrete Driveway

by TRP Ready Mix on March 16, 2018

Our concrete contractors share tips for maintaining your concrete driveway.

Advice from Concrete Contractors to Extend Driveway Life and Durability

Although concrete driveways are durable, they still need care ever so often. And new driveways need extra care to maintain their appearance for years to come.

Driveways experience a lot of traffic. They are often the first thing people notice about a home. To protect your investment and boost curb appeal, keep an eye on your driveway’s condition.

Contact your concrete contractor for repairs. And follow these maintenance tips to keep your driveway in great condition.

Clean

It’s important to remove stains from your driveway immediately. These include oil, gasoline, grease, radiator fluid, and other spills. Common methods to clean driveway stains include using:

  • Non-clumping cat litter to absorb fresh oil;
  • Warm water and grease-cutting dish soap or detergent;
  • Grease-cutting biodegradable cleaners;
  • A regular scrub brush; and,
  • A pressure washer.

Do not use a wire brush to scrub the stains since it will damage the concrete’s surface.

Reseal

To protect the concrete, reseal your driveway every two years or when the sealer starts to show wear. You can buy quality concrete sealers from home repair stores. Or, ask your concrete contractor to reseal your driveway.

Sealer protects concrete by:

  • Repelling water;
  • Preventing dirt and dust accumulation;
  • Protect the concrete from abrasion; and,
  • Protecting concrete from UV damage.

Prevent Cracks

Along with resealing, you can also prevent cracks by trimming nearby tree roots. These roots may damage your concrete driveway, causing severe cracking if left untouched.

Also, heavy vehicles can cause cracking, especially along the edges of driveways. So park in the centre of your driveway. And if you have any visitors with heavy vehicles, ask them to park on the road instead.

Fill Cracks

The moment you notice a crack or hole in your driveway, patch it. This will prevent the damage from spreading and save you time and money in the future.

Use a masonry chisel to remove the broken pieces, and brush away any debris. Then apply a crack filler and a patching compound so it is flush with the rest of your driveway. Once dried, apply a sealer to your entire driveway.

Keep Water Away

Create a water-runoff trench around your driveway to prevent water buildup. This can be two- or three-inches wide along the edges. Also, keep your downspouts directed away from your driveway. Downspouts should also be a good distance from your home.

Although sealed driveways repel water, driveways can become saturated over time. Saturation is harmful in the winter when water freezes, expands, and cracks concrete.

Avoid De-Icing Chemicals

Salt and other de-icing chemicals penetrate concrete surfaces and aid in winter cracking. So opt to use a snow blower or a shovel to clear your driveway. And apply slip-resistant traction with sand, kitty litter, coffee grounds, or alfalfa meal.

Plow & Shovel with Care

While plowing your driveway, lift the blade high enough so it won’t scrape the concrete surface. Also, use a plastic shovel on uneven surfaces to avoid damaging the driveway.

Extend the life of your driveway with these maintenance tips from concrete contractors.

Ready-Mix Concrete: A Solution to Ottawa’s Pothole Problem?

by TRP Ready Mix on February 19, 2018

Is ready mix concrete the solution Ottawa needs?

How Ready-Mix Concrete Offers a Better Quality Fix to Ottawa’s Pothole Repair Problems

Potholes plague many city councils and their roads. But how a city addresses potholes will determine if these remain an ongoing issue or not. Often, and possibly in an attempt to save money, city road contractors will use a low-quality asphalt to repair potholes. The result? A need to repair these same potholes over and over again, costing the city more money in the long run.

But what if cities used a local ready-mix concrete supplier instead?

Here’s a look at the current problem with poor pothole fixes and how a ready-mix supplier can help.

In a recent report on the quality of asphalt used to repair Ottawa’s potholes, auditors found that the asphalt did not meet contract standards. They tested samples from the city’s suppliers, and all tests revealed substandard results. Although the city should be testing their asphalt to make sure it meets its standards, these tests are expensive—costing approximately $3,000.

But the costs of not testing the quality of asphalt could far outweigh the costs saved. Instead of having to repair the substandard asphalt with more substandard asphalt year after year, Ottawa’s potholes could have a more permanent fix with ready-mix concrete.

Meet City Standards

Ready-mix concrete suppliers produce concrete to meet various project needs and building standards. With a computerized batching system, there is little risk of human error that could be responsible for the substandard asphalt currently being used for fixing Ottawa’s potholes. Suppliers would work closely with city engineers to meet specifications that are realistic, producing and delivering high-quality concrete that is superior to the current asphalt.

Ready-mix suppliers use the same quality of aggregates for concrete construction projects, so there wouldn’t be any disparity between the quality of concrete for commercial projects and city road work. And suppliers with their own team of concrete contractors will have the skills and experience to provide efficient and quality repairs for Ottawa’s roads.

Have the Fleet and Equipment to Mix, Deliver, and Pour On-Site

Serious concrete suppliers will have a large enough fleet and quality equipment to accurately mix and deliver concrete on time. With a large fleet, more work can be completed around the city at once, instead of waiting for lengthy periods of time for contractors to be available during the busy construction season.

Save Time and Costs

Ready-mix suppliers ensure yield control for both aggregates and concrete, meaning the city won’t be overcharged for the amount of aggregates or concrete used. And the efficient mixing, pouring, and spreading of concrete will provide quality results that last. This means road work projects will be completed faster and on time. And the quality of concrete will meet or surpass city standards, requiring less frequent repairs than the poor-quality asphalt.

Instead of a quick, temporary fix for city pothole problems, cities should consider investing in trusted ready-mix suppliers who strive to produce quality concrete that will last. Quality concrete means the work won’t have to be repeated again next year, and city roads will be safer and easier to drive on for longer.

Ottawa Concrete: Your New Home Décor Must-Have

by TRP Ready Mix on February 7, 2018

Ottawa concrete is being featured in home decor these days.

How Concrete is Becoming More Than Just a Construction Site Material

When most people think of concrete, the first thing that comes to mind is a construction building material. Concrete is the most popular building material around the globe and has been used throughout history to build cities, roads, and the foundations of our homes.

But this popular construction material is gaining a new use—home décor. Designers have transformed this durable building material into durable and attractive home furnishings, decorative pieces, and other housewares. While Ottawa concrete suppliers are accustomed to filling large orders of concrete for use on construction sites, there are no projects too large or too small for concrete.

Concrete Designs

Concrete houseware designers have found a way to make concrete both functional and beautiful. They appreciate the strong, durable qualities of concrete. But to the surprise of many, concrete products can also actually be very lightweight. And when mixed with mineral pigments, concrete can achieve a watercolour finish.

Thanks to these designers, concrete is now an option for both durable and stylish home décor. Here are just some of the many housewares that are now being created with concrete:

  • Candleholders;
  • Sculptures;
  • Tableware;
  • Lamps and shades;
  • Tiles; and,
  • Planters.

The Shift toward Concrete Design

Since the concrete industry has always needed to meet the demand of large-scale concrete construction, there was a time when you could only order large amounts of concrete from concrete suppliers. Large-scale projects will use hundreds of tons of concrete per project, whereas concrete designers only use small amounts—up to 15 tons—in an entire year.

But now, concrete is widely available for projects of all sizes. You can buy small bags of ready-mix concrete from suppliers and home improvement stores. This makes it much easier for homeowners who wish to complete their own concrete projects, as well as concrete designers who have taken to the art of designing concrete home décor.

Concrete suppliers around the globe are acknowledging and embracing this design trend that uses concrete on a much smaller scale, supplying ultralight, high-performance concrete to designers. Designer-grade concrete uses smaller aggregates to create stronger concrete in thinner applications.

Designers can purchase bags of ready-mix concrete that are as small as 2.5 kilograms and cure at a much faster rate than construction-grade concrete. Before designer-grade concrete was available, designers had to wait at least a week for their concrete products to cure. But now they only have to wait 12 to 24 hours with the designer-grade concrete. This makes it much easier for small businesses to keep up with production demands.

Concrete is a durable material, so why not also turn it into something beautiful that can be admired in the home? Contact Ottawa concrete suppliers for more information about ordering custom ready-mix concrete for projects both large and small.

How to Repair Load-Bearing Posts in Your Home

by TRP Ready Mix on January 8, 2018

Tips from concrete contracts on how to maintain load-bearing posts in your home.

Concrete Contractors Offer Tips to Repair These Essential Posts That Support Your Home

If your floor is sagging, don’t ignore it. There is probably something wrong with the load-bearing post underneath, and if left unrepaired, the damage will only get worse leading to more costs. Load-bearing posts and beams that are rotting, undersized, and sinking can lead to further problems throughout your home.

Along with sagging floors, poor support beams and posts can also lead to cracks in your walls, as well as doors that won’t close properly. If you notice any of these symptoms that could be caused by poor support in your home, consider these tips from concrete contractors for help with repairs.

Determine the Damage

For posts in direct contact with the floor, probe with a screwdriver to determine if there’s any rot. If it’s not rotting, then the concrete footing is likely sinking or deteriorating. You will have to saw through the floor to get to the footing.

If the footing is undersized and sinking, you will need to pour a new concrete footing. And if the post is rotting, you will have to cut off the bottom rotten part, or replace the post, and elevate the wood post with plinth blocks so it won’t come in contact with the moisture in your basement floor.

Consult With Professionals

A lot of factors play into the structural integrity of your home, and if you’re like most people, then you’re likely not an expert in structural engineering. For issues related to the structural integrity of your home you should always contact the pros first. Structural engineers, building-code officials, and experienced contractors will be able to determine the exact cause of damage and the appropriate solution depending on various factors in your home.

Raise the Beam

After consulting with the professionals, acquiring any necessary building permits, and hiring help for the project, the load-bearing beam can be lifted to repair the post and/or footing. But before you raise the beam, make sure to release any lines connected to the beams in the basement—i.e. electrical, heating, plumbing, and gas lines—and support them with lumber.

You will need a hydraulic jack and a 4×4 post to raise the beam, along with an adjustable steel shoring post. Use two weight-spreading boards underneath the jack and the shoring post to prevent them from cracking your basement floor.

Once the jack and shoring post are in place, cut the 4×4 to height so it fits snug between the beam and the top of the jack.

Pump the jack slowly, in short strokes, raising it no higher than ½ to 1 inch. Measure from the floor to the beam to determine the beam’s rise. Your helper should raise the shoring post as firmly as possible to the beam to provide extra load support. Once the old post is loosened, remove it and label it for reuse—i.e. top and bottom.

Install Concrete Footings & Plinths

For undersized footing, you will have to excavate, remove the old footing, install steel reinforcing rods, and pour fresh concrete. If you plan to install a plinth block as well, place it on the wet concrete footing once the concrete can support the block’s weight.

After the concrete has cured properly, you can install wood posts cut to the appropriate length and in their original positions under the beam. To prevent moisture between the post and plinth, apply sill sealer or galvanized sheet metal between the two.

When finished, lower the jack very slowly, and install metal straps and T-braces to connect the plinth block, post, and beam together. Lastly, reinstall supporting strapping for all lines you released before raising the beam.

If you don’t have experience with this type of work, you’re better off leaving it to the pros to avoid further damage to your home. Contact concrete contractors for advice and help pouring concrete footings. Repaired posts and appropriate concrete footings will adequately support the load-bearing beams and maintain your home’s structural integrity.

How to Prevent De-Icing Salt from Damaging Concrete In Winter

by TRP Ready Mix on December 20, 2017

De-icing salt can damage concrete structures, but these top tips from concrete suppliers can help you avoid constant repair and replacement.

Concrete Suppliers Offer Tips to Help Keep Your Concrete in Good Condition during the Winter

Winter weather means plenty of salt on roads and driveways. But that salt can cause damage to concrete, especially when it’s new. If your concrete is not mixed, installed, sealed, and/or cured properly, it will be at risk of being weaker and more susceptible to damage in winter from below-freezing temperatures and de-icing salts.

So the best thing you can do to protect your concrete during winter is to ensure you have quality concrete from concrete suppliers and understand these causes of damage and how you can prevent it.

How De-Icing Salt Damages Concrete

Concrete absorbs water. So if you add rock salt to ice and snow, it will form salt-water slush. As this melts, the concrete will absorb the water. While this water absorption is fine on a warm summer day, winter temperatures drop well below freezing, causing the absorbed water to freeze, expand, and break the concrete.

Salt also attracts water, so it will lead to concrete becoming saturated with water. As more water freezes in concrete and the pressure from growing ice crystals increases, your concrete will become more damaged, with the surface likely to spall—peel, flake, or pop out.

Freshly poured concrete is the most susceptible to this damage since it is still highly saturated with water. If you poured concrete in the late fall, it will need a minimum of 30 days to dry. The only way young concrete can withstand the below-freezing temperatures of winter is if your concrete suppliers added enough cement to the mix, and this cement was not diluted with water. Cement creates a hydration reaction that emits heat in the concrete, preventing it from freezing.

How to Prevent Damage To Concrete

The first step to preventing winter damage, especially from salt, is to ensure you have a strong, durable, and high-quality concrete. This requires the right mix, installation, seal, and curing. Concrete suppliers can help you find the right mix depending on your concrete project.

Here are some suggestions for ensuring your concrete will be strong and able to withstand many winters without damage:

  • Use concrete with a minimum compressive strength of 4,000 PSI;
  • Use air-entrained concrete;
  • Don’t add water to the concrete mix at the work site;
  • Seal the concrete to prevent water absorption, but avoid foam-forming sealers;
  • Have workers with experience mixing and installing the concrete; and,
  • Use sand instead of salt on your concrete in winter.

While a strong quality concrete mixed from expert concrete suppliers will be at less risk of damage from de-icing salt, you can avoid the risk altogether and use sand instead. Sand will not melt the ice and snow, but it will provide traction, making your walkways and driveways safer to walk on in slippery winter conditions. Take care of your concrete in winter so it will last for many years to come.