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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 17, 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.

Concrete Construction in Ottawa’s Winter

by TRP Ready Mix on December 8, 2017

 How to use ready mix concrete in Ottawa during the colder months.

How Concrete Construction Projects Continue, Even in the Winter Months

With Ottawa’s winter here in full force, the weather is becoming less ideal for concrete construction. Cold winters pose a threat to the quality of concrete because concrete will set slowly in colder temperatures, plus there is an added risk of freezing. If this happens, the concrete matrix will break up, resulting in a weak concrete that is prone to cracking.

But there are concrete construction projects that continue into the winter months. So how do they do it? Concrete experts in Ottawa know the trick to keeping concrete strong, even in cold weather. With a special winter mix, your concrete can set fast without freezing, maintaining its strength and quality.

Here’s how concrete suppliers mix concrete for use in winter.

Hot Water

To keep the concrete warm for longer in cold temperatures, concrete suppliers will mix the concrete with hot water at the plant. They will consider the outside air temperature and travel time for delivery to make sure the temperature of the concrete is still warm enough when it arrives at the construction site.

Accelerators

Since concrete sets extremely slowly—or not at all—in cold temperatures, suppliers will add accelerators to the concrete mix to speed up the setting time and prevent the concrete from freezing. Some accelerators include calcium chloride, which speeds up the hydration reaction in concrete. There are also non-chloride accelerators available. The type of accelerator your concrete supplier uses will depend on your concrete project needs.

Extra Cement

Concrete suppliers may also add extra cement to the mix to increase the hydration reaction. This reaction generates more heat, leading to a hotter concrete that will set faster and is less likely to freeze.

Avoid Slag & Fly Ash

Since slag cement and fly ash generate less internal heat and set slowly compared to other concrete materials, concrete suppliers may not use these two materials in concrete mixes during the winter. These materials are more prone to freezing and are not able to set in cold temperatures.

Extra Considerations

Additional tips concrete suppliers will follow for concrete projects in winter include:

  • Using entrained concrete to reduce bleeding;
  • Specifying the slump at less than four inches;
  • Being cautious with water reducers—they may not be necessary; and,
  • Avoiding the use of admixtures onsite if they have frozen.

Although concrete construction projects in winter are not ideal, they can be done. With the expertise of concrete suppliers in Ottawa, you can have a concrete mix to suit your project needs in cold temperatures. These concrete experts will create a special winter mix that will stay warm and set faster, so you won’t have to worry about your concrete freezing and losing strength.

How to Use Ready Mix Concrete in the Winter

by TRP Ready Mix on November 30, 2017

Winter uses for ready mix concrete.

Although Winter Isn’t Ideal for Concreting, If You Must Do It, Here’s What You Need to Know

Construction season in Ottawa is during the summer for a reason. The winter weather is often too unbearable to be working outside and isn’t a conducive environment for wet concrete. For most construction projects, the cold weather makes things more difficult. Pouring concrete is one of those projects that should be avoided during the winter. But if you must do it, it is possible. Here’s what you need to know.

As concrete hydrates with water, the hydration process creates heat. This heat can prevent concrete from freezing, cracking, and losing its strength in the winter. As the weather gets colder, ready mix concrete suppliers will use heated water and add accelerators to encourage fast and proper setting before the concrete freezes.

The Winter Mix

Concrete suppliers will heat the concrete during the mixing process at the concrete plant. This additional heat accounts for the inevitable drop in temperature during an average one-hour delivery in cold weather. Suppliers will also have heated water tanks to provide customers with the warmest concrete possible on-site.

The concrete mix also matters. Concrete suppliers will adjust the mix according to your project and the temperature outside. This helps concrete pour well and set quickly in cold conditions. Ready mix concrete prepared for winter use may include:

  • Setting accelerators;
  • Water-reducing additives;
  • Avoiding the use of fly ash and slag cement—these set slowly and create less internal heat; and,
  • Additional cement to generate more heat.

Accelerators

Adding accelerators to the concrete mix will speed up the concrete setting time, and allow the concrete to cure faster. This will also prevent the concrete from freezing and experiencing frost damage. Furthermore, accelerators will help speed up the finishing phase. The less time it takes to complete a concrete project from start to finish during cold weather, the better quality the finished product will be.

Water-Reducing Additives

These additives create a higher-density cement paste which results in stronger, more weather-resistant qualities in the concrete.

Avoiding Fly Ash

If you plan to expose your concrete to de-icing chemicals once it has cured, then you will want to avoid or reduce the amount of fly ash added to the concrete mix. Fly ash can lead to the concrete’s surface peeling or scaling when exposed to de-icing chemicals.

Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

Although the winter is not the ideal time to pour concrete, it is still possible to pour the concrete well enough to result in a strong, long-lasting finished product. To keep your poured concrete out of harm’s way in cold temperatures, remember these rules:

  • You should never pour concrete on frozen ground, ice, or snow;
  • If the ground is frozen, thaw it for two days using heat pipes and blankets/electric blankets;
  • All corners and protrusions should be triple wrapped;
  • Use a squeegee or vacuum to remove any standing bleed water if it doesn’t evaporate;
  • Cover the concrete until it has cured—consider building a temporary shelter for it to keep it well-covered during cold, strong winter winds.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re planning a concrete project this winter. And remember, ready mix concrete suppliers are well-experienced in mixing and pouring concrete during any season, even in Ottawa’s harsh winters, so contact the pros for a quality winter mix and pour.