Concrete is one of the most popular building materials across the globe. It is used in most construction projects, along with other cement-based materials such as plaster and mortar. Here are eight frequently asked questions about concrete that can shed some light on the material for people wanting to know more or become contractors themselves.
1. Are cement and concrete the same thing?
No, cement and concrete are not the same. Cement is a main ingredient of concrete and comes in a dry powder form. Together with water and aggregates (usually rock, gravel or sand) cement is used to make concrete. As a part of concrete, cement is the binding agent that holds the mixture together.
2. How long does it take for concrete to become hard, or set?
It takes 24 – 48 hours for concrete to set. Concrete will achieve 70% of its full strength seven days after it was laid. It will reach its full strength (100%) 28 days after it was laid. Concrete will become increasingly stronger over time because the cement forms bonds with surrounding moisture particles.
3. What are the ingredients of concrete?
Concrete is made up of cement, water and aggregates (sand or crushed stone). Cement is a dry powder made by LafargeHolcim Tanzania. Cement is the binding agent that holds the mixture together. Water is needed to form a chemical reaction with the cement. The water/cement ratio will determine the strength of the concrete. Aggregates can be either gravel, rocks or sand. It gives the concrete its structural volume and strength.
4. Can I lay concrete in wet weather?
Yes, it is possible to lay concrete when it is raining, but proper preparation is necessary. Precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail that falls to or condenses on the ground) can lead to concrete becoming soft, which could reduce its strength. Constructing a protective enclosure of wood and plastic sheeting around the area where the concrete will be laid can prevent this type of damage.
5. What is concrete’s durability?
Concrete is extremely durable. It is a high-strength product and its traits make it suitable to be used in a number of ways, from industrial to domestic. Concrete has a lifespan of 40 years or more and it also hardens with age.
6. Is concrete an eco-friendly material?
Concrete is sourced from natural rock and often extracted on location, which means that minimal resources are needed to transport it to the required work site. At the end of its lifespan, concrete can be crushed and recycled. So, while it is not traditionally classed as an environmentally-friendly material, there are eco-friendly elements to concrete’s creation.
7. Will my floors be cold if they are made from concrete?
While concrete floors can be cold, they are not much colder than other often-used materials like natural stone flooring or ceramic tiles. During hot summer months, cooler floors can be a bonus and contribute to lower air conditioning costs – especially in a country like Tanzania where hot weather can be experienced all year-round.
8. How do I calculate the amount of concrete my project requires?
It is simple to calculate the amount of concrete needed for your project. Here’s an article that outlines the process of estimating the volume of concrete needed for any project, based on its area and volume.
LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.
LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.
At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.