The most common construction material comes in a remarkable number of different types. While this is a standard concrete that uses original Portland cement and aggregate, there are plenty of additional options. When you work with a professional concrete team, you’ll receive the ideal concrete type to match your application and budget. Compare the most common types of concrete today with the help of Neyra Paving.
The history of concrete extends back to early precursors in the 1300 BC Middle East. Modern concrete is the evolution of that early mixture. Today, most routine concrete projects use what’s called modern concrete. This material is affordable, reliable, and used in a stunning range of projects.
Modern concrete may not have a stylish surface or reinforced durability, but it’s the main workhorse of concrete projects worldwide. Most sidewalks, driveways, and other concrete structures you see are made out of modern concrete. Here are the basic elements that combine to create this material:
- Portland cement
- Chemical additives
The word cement is often used interchangeably with concrete, but there are actually distinct differences between the two terms. Cement is a single ingredient in all types of concrete and is a binder. There are many different types of cement as well, but they can be divided into hydraulic and non-hydraulic components.
Hydraulic vs. Non-Hydraulic Cement
These two basic types of cement help describe the purpose of cement and the different types available. These are only general categories but cover most of the broad features of the different cement options.
Hydraulic cement hardens due to a chemical reaction with water. When applied underwater, or when water is added to it, hydraulic cement starts the hardening process. Many types of concrete used in construction projects use hydraulic cement, including modern concrete.
Non-hydraulic cement doesn’t use water to harden. Instead, it reacts with carbon dioxide to harden. Once set, this type of cement is more resistant to chemical attacks, making it essential in certain applications. Non-hydraulic cement is manufactured using oxychloride, gypsum plasters, and non-hydraulic lime.
Durable Concrete Types
This broad category includes types of concrete that are engineered for heavy-duty applications. They may dry quicker, cost more, or include other characteristics that make them unsuitable for everyday applications, but these concrete types are crucial for building bridges, high-rise buildings, and other high-strength applications.
Any concrete that can withstand a compressive strength of more than 6,000 pounds per square inch is referred to as high-strength concrete. The main difference is the added ingredient silica fume. This helps improve the bond between the aggregate material and the chosen cement, creating superior material strength.
High-strength concrete usually dries quicker than modern concrete. This means your paving team either needs to work quickly or needs to use additional additives, like a superplasticizer. This helpful additive slows down the hardening process to ensure the concrete is poured and formed in the optimal shape before it hardens.
While the main attribute of high-strength concrete is its compressive resistance, high-performance concrete features a more broad range of advantages. Here are the typical features that it offers at an improved level compared to modern concrete:
- Long-term mechanical properties
- Weather resistance
It can also feature increased compressive strength, making it an improved version of high-strength concrete. Ask your team about high-performance concrete to see if it fits your application and your budget.
Ultra High-Performance Concrete
One of the most complex concrete mixtures is ultra-high-performance concrete. A wide list of additives includes fine silica sand, silica fume, quartz flour, organic fibers, and Portland cement. All these combine to create a concrete mixture that can be used even without reinforcement or steel rebar.
The mixture needs to hold up to compressions of up to 29,000 pounds per square inch to qualify as ultra-high-performance concrete. It should also maintain a tensile strength of 725 pounds per square inch. It’s more challenging to work with and often comes pre-mixed in bags.
Decorative Concrete Types
Not all concrete types are designed to offer improved strength. Some, like stamped concrete, are more concerned with a stylish surface or other architectural features. Consider using a decorative concrete type for patios, walkways, or interior floors.
Stamped concrete uses modern concrete or a specialized type. After laying the concrete, but before it’s completely hardened, a stamp is placed on the surface. The most common stamp designs resemble natural stone to create a stone paver look, but there are virtually unlimited designs you can choose from.
Concrete has a rather bland color, particularly when used as the finish flooring. Instead of leaving this gray, uninspiring color in your home or parking lot, consider using a concrete stain. Stain is applied after the concrete is hardened and acts as a sealer. It helps prevent chemical damage and staining. Choose the right stain, and you’ll also protect your exterior concrete from pitting due to weather conditions.
Stains come in any color you desire. A stain combined with a stamped surface creates a particularly elegant look for a patio or home walkway. Stain your basement floor or commercial concrete floor to create a finished look for less cost than installing new flooring.
One unique option to consider is limecrete. This type of concrete is an environmentally friendly option that can be combined with natural products. It’s often used with straw, wood, or hemp products. Because it uses lime instead of cement, it naturally draws out moisture from the surrounding environment. It always is easy to wash or plaster with non-toxic materials, unlike common concrete paint alternatives.
Limecrete is popular in older buildings that may have moisture issues. If you’re concerned with your building or basement’s humidity level, ask your paving team about the possibility of a limecrete surface.
Major structural components, such as bridges, roads, and buildings, may require more strength than traditional concrete can offer. Consider reinforced concrete as an alternative to costly ultra-high-performance concrete. This type of concrete uses steel rebar or other reinforcement techniques to supplement the natural strength of concrete. The reinforcing components increase the structural features of the concrete and extend its range of use.
Commonly known as asphalt, the material that paves roads and driveways around the world is actually a type of concrete. Concrete asphalt uses petroleum-based additives instead of cement. Bitumen and other materials act as a binder to hold together the aggregate.
Asphalt is usually more affordable than modern concrete, but it doesn’t offer the same strength. It also usually requires more maintenance throughout the years.
Learn More About Concrete Options With Neyra Paving
Transform your property with an optimal concrete type. Contact us at Neyra Paving to learn more about the best material for concrete driveways, walkways, patios, and more. When you work with a leader in local concrete services, you can be confident you’ll receive the best material to fit your budget and your project. Call (513) 986-1011 for more information.
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