Myths and misconceptions are common in any field. Such false impressions are more rampant in the concrete construction business. In this article, we bust some of the commonly held concrete myths that make the rounds in this industry.
Myth 1: Concrete Is Impermeable
Permeability refers to the porous characteristics of the material. This determines whether water or any liquids could pass through a material. Most people think concrete is impermeable because it can tolerate moisture. However, this is not completely the case.
In fact, even the densest concrete is porous. This means that water and other substances can pass through it. When we look closely at the concrete surface, we will see holes where water can penetrate.
To make concrete less permeable, surface treatments like sealers and membranes can be applied. These products will solve water damage on surface floors and driveways.
Myth 2: Concrete Is Always Gray in Color
Concrete is naturally gray because it is composed of cement. Most concrete mixture is made up of primarily iron ore, which is black in color. When the mixture is mixed with other ingredients, the concrete becomes gray. That’s why many people think concrete looks gray and dull.
The reality is you can add stains and pigments to tweak the color of the concrete. Typically, mineral colors and dyes are applied while the concrete mixture is still wet. Feel free to consult a concrete contractor on how to change the color of your concrete surface.
Myth 3: You Can Lay Concrete in Any Weather
This assumption is not true. The concrete mixture should be proportioned properly. Most contractors follow a certain ratio of water to cement in their mixture. Too much water or cement will have an effect on the durability and curing process of the concrete. In addition, they consider the weather and temperature when laying concrete.
If you try to lay concrete during winter, the mixture will freeze completely. When it’s scorching hot, the fresh concrete might crack and shrink. Both situations lead to a failed concrete installation.
We recommend laying concrete in mild, dry weather. For best results, you may tackle concrete projects in the mild seasons like spring and fall.
Myth 4: The Concrete’s Strength Is the Same as Its Durability
No, strength and durability are not identical. Strength answers the question of how much load can your concrete surface take.” Meanwhile, durability determines how long the concrete can resist weathering action. These two things are similar but not the same.
Although compressive strength is a notable characteristic of concrete, this doesn’t determine its durability. Other factors and environments can influence concrete durability. To increase durability, you can focus on reducing permeability or sealing cracks.
Myth 5: Concrete Will Remain Flat After the Finishing Process
Due to its hardness, concrete is assumed to remain flat and level after installation. But the fact is, it will change in volume once it’s set and drying. Your concrete surface won’t stay level because of moisture and temperature.
Sometimes, slab edges curl and change in shape. Curling occurs when there are moisture content differences between the top and bottom slabs. When this happens, the edges will curl upward. A professional concrete expert knows how to minimize shrinkage during the finishing process.
Myth 6: Reinforced Concrete Don’t Crack
While it’s true that reinforcement helps in making the concrete structurally sound, this doesn’t prevent cracking. Concrete will undergo volume changes and tensions. Instead of preventing hairline cracks, structural reinforcement holds up against tensile loads. Although cracks are not aesthetically pleasing, they are normal. You can control these hairline cracks with good concrete installation practices.
Myth 7: Curing Is the Same as Drying
Both terms are often used interchangeably in the concrete industry. However, they refer to different methods. In fact, concrete does not dry—it cures. Moisture must be retained in the concrete surface for proper hardening.
For the concrete to cure and become more durable, it needs sufficient water and adequate temperature. Concrete hardens due to hydration, and not because it dries.
If you’re planning a concrete project soon, you may reach out to Midstate Concrete. We can utilize our expertise to help you achieve your vision or clear up misconceptions surrounding the concrete industry. To learn more about our services, feel free to call our staff today. We look forward to working with you!