Buying Concrete: 5 Hacks to Determine Home Project Success
Concrete has been used as a building material since Roman times and has recently taken on a new life for home building projects. It is durable, affordable, waterproof, resistant to mould and can be used to customize almost anything in your home.
What is Concrete?
Concrete is a material made of three components – water, an aggregate such as sand, gravel or rock and cement. When all three are mixed it can be poured into moulds, onto a driveway, walkway or made into a tub or countertop.
Concrete is also very versatile and can be coloured or customized to get the look you want. Polished concrete also takes on the look of expensive marble flooring.
How to Buy Concrete
When doing home projects with concrete it is important to plan ahead and know exactly how much concrete you will need for your project.
There are two main options for getting concrete – you can buy the powder in pre-mixed bags and mix it up yourself at home for smaller projects, or you can order a cement truck with Ready Mix that will deliver your required amounts. One cubic yard of Ready Mix concrete is the same as nine wheelbarrows of concrete.
Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. If it is a larger job, it makes more sense to order a truck with ready mix cement. The overall cost will be higher than pre-mixed bags, but will be much less work and may even out over having to mix a large amount yourself and transport all the bags.
Be sure to consider all the other costs that come with Ready Mix such as disposal fees for extra concrete, fuel surcharges and extra costs for pumping concrete. For pre-mixed bags, you will need to rent a mixer at home, which will also add to the cost.
Other Things to Consider
Be sure you order enough concrete for the job. Projects can be ruined if you don’t have the right amount at the time you need it. Always add an extra 10% to cover spillage and grading. If you do have extra, make a plan to use it for fence posts, or pathway stones instead of wasting it.
Additives can change the colour of your concrete and the strength of it. They can also change the curing time so be sure to factor that time into your planning. If you want to strengthen your concrete, add more cement to the mixture.
Concrete is caustic and can do damage to your skin and eyes if it comes in contact with them. Always wear protective gear including eye masks, face masks, gloves and work clothes.
How to Protect Your Concrete
Concrete is a durable, waterproof material, but it can stain over time if not protected. To protect it there are many sealant options. These are either penetrating sealers – which soak into the concrete and seal pores so that liquid beads on the surface, or topical sealers that form a protective coat on the surface.
Types of topical concrete sealers include:
- Acrylic sealer – provides good waterproofing protection but may need to be reapplied every 2 – 3 years.
- Concrete Epoxy sealer – forms a long-lasting high gloss film
- Polyurethane sealer – provides a durable transparent finish
Concrete is an affordable building material that offers a lot of value for your home project and done right, these projects can last for decades. Just make sure to find a reputable concrete polishing in Toronto because there is no substitute for doing a job the right way.