You might think that concrete work is an easy DIY project. If your parking area starts to show signs of water damage such as holes or a pitted-out appearance, then you may mistakenly believe that you can head to the local home improvement store for a bag of concrete and patch it up in an hour or so.
Perhaps, your do-it-yourself concrete project might hold for a short time, but eventually, the patchwork will start to break up. Once your concrete repair job degrades you will have the same problems as before you undertook the DIY task or the concrete might be left in even worse condition.
7 Reasons Why Pouring Concrete Can Be Difficult
1. There are Many Types of Concrete
There are numerous types of concrete available, and each one is designed for a specific task. Picking the correct concrete for a job can be very difficult for a novice. When the wrong kind of cement is used, the results can be disastrous.
Here are just a few types of concrete:
- Modern Concrete: Modern concrete is achieved by mixing Portland cement with both an aggregate and water. It is extremely common.
- High Strength: High strength concrete can withstand a compressive strength of over 6,000 psi (pounds square inch).
- High-Performance Concrete: High-performance concrete is sturdy but lacks compression strength.
- Ultra High-Performance Concrete: This concrete contains various ingredients. It is often sold in bags at home improvement stores. Although it can crack or suffer water damage after it sets, it still maintains some structural strength.
- Stamped Concrete: This is a particular type of concrete that can be laid and then a unique stamp is placed on the surface to create the appearance of natural stone or other artistic designs. It is an arduous process that when done by professionals renders impressive results.
- Self-Consolidating Concrete: Self-consolidating concrete requires no consolidation.
- Shotcrete: Shotcrete is a form of concrete that is blasted using a pump and water onto a surface.
- Limecrete: Limecrete is a form of concrete that contains no cement but instead is made up of lime.
Even if you think you understand the different concrete types, they can be broken down into more in-depth categories. For example, Portland cement has five major types, which can make things even more confusing for a novice.
2. You Need to Know How Much Concrete You Need
Concrete is a three-dimensional substance that requires precise measurements. An inexperienced person often has a tough time figuring out how much concrete to use to complete the project. If the concrete is laid too thin, then it will crack and be unable to bear weight. Concrete also dries quickly so you will want to make sure you have enough available and mixed to complete the project.
3. You Must Have the Right Tools to Lay Concrete
Successfully pouring concrete requires very precise tools. If you do not have the tools on hand, then the final results might be subpar. Also, purchasing concrete laying tools can be expensive. Often the price you will incur just buying the concrete and the tools is comparable to hiring a professional concrete company to get the job done right.
4. Mix the Correct Concrete to Water Ratios
Mixing the correct ratio of concrete and water can be tricky. If the concrete is too thin, then it will crack, and if it is too thick, it might never set up correctly. Even if you think you can follow the directions on the bag and everything will be okay it won’t necessarily work out that way because of environmental factors and conditions.
5. You Will Need Some Knowledge of Concrete Forms
Concrete requires forms to hold it in place until it solidifies. The forms must be built and can be tricky. Everything should be level and square to create an acceptable finished product. The support frames also must be treated for successful removal once the concrete hardens.
6. Steel Reinforcement Is Often Necessary
Many concrete projects require steel reinforcement to work successfully. Laying steel reinforcements correctly can be difficult for the typical homeowner.
7. Concrete Texture Matters
Even if you manage to prepare the site, build your forms, and lay your concrete you still must take into consideration the texture of the concrete. A walkway cannot be too slippery, or it poses a severe safety risk. Creating the ideal texture is a skill that often takes a tradesmen years to master.
Always Consult a Concrete Professional
Ideally, if your concrete suffers water damage, cracking, or some other imperfection you should call a concrete professional to repair the problem. Also, any time you want concrete laid it is far better to higher a concrete company than to attempt the task yourself.
Laying concrete is time-consuming and complicated. It is a challenging project that usually far exceeds the capabilities of the everyday DIYer. Please contact us if your concrete has sustained water damage, has developed imperfections, or if you want to have a complete concrete project installed.
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