Ask Danny | Ep. 12: Concrete Community’s Founder Solutions High Questions

Today's Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford and Jim Peterson, president and founder of
This week, Jim Peterson with solutions a number of the most-asked questions on concrete. (3 Echoes Content material Studio/Jim Peterson)

This week, I’m speaking to Jim Peterson, founding father of The Concrete Community

Jim began this on-line useful resource for owners in 1999. It offers helpful and easy-to-understand concrete data to thousands and thousands of individuals yearly, and likewise connects owners to native contractors.

Trowel mixing concrete in a plastic bucket
Concrete has 4 elements: sand, cement, gravel and water. (3 Echoes Content material Studio)

Concrete Fundamentals

What’s concrete, and the way is it created?

Jim: Concrete is a mixture of 4 issues: sand, cement, gravel and water. These are put collectively in sure proportions, relying on what the venture wants. That is carried out on the ready-mix plant so the home-owner doesn’t fear about getting the appropriate quantities. 

It’s typically known as cement, which is wrong. Cement is just a part of concrete. 

Steel rebar
Metal rebar offers the very best energy for concrete slabs. (BulentGrp, Getty Photos)

Rebar vs. Fiber Mesh

Which might you utilize for a concrete slab: metal reinforcement wire or mesh?

Jim: At my home, or if I’m recommending to a buddy, I’d use #3 bars at 18 inches on the middle. 

Wire mesh finally ends up being stepped on by the inserting crew, and dug into the sand, so it’s not within the concrete too typically. Once they take a look at concrete, they’ll typically see the mesh is on the underside, so it did no good.

Fiber mesh has some ending points and received’t present the energy of metal bars. 

Worker using a level to even out a freshly poured concrete slab
Rent a professional to do the job proper when laying a concrete slab for a home. (therry, Getty Photos)

Recommendation on Concrete Slabs

Jim: Concrete will be eternally — a 40-, 50- or 60-year or extra product, so it’s one greatest to be carried out proper. That’s why so many individuals rent a contractor to pour a concrete slab. It’s simply not one thing you wish to toy with. You’ll find a contractor close to you by looking on The Concrete Community’s web site.

It’s not a nasty thought to have an enlargement joint or a joint map made from the pour to share with the contractor and ensure the particular person slicing the concrete makes these cuts.

Cuts can go beneath partitions and off of edges to make the job lots cleaner. 

Workers pouring water on concrete to manually mix it
An excessive amount of water can weaken the concrete combine, so at all times comply with the beneficial ratio. (therry, Getty Photos)

Water Content material

Is it necessary to restrict the quantity of water added to the concrete on the job? It appears to weaken the combination. 

Jim: Sure, it does. What occurs is the water rises to the highest and when the concrete is completed, the highest layer goes to be weakened and there will likely be all types of issues.

Every combine has a water-to-cement ratio, and that must be saved to minimal quantities of water added on the job, if any.

Close up view of a cracked concrete slab
Floor cracks like these will be repaired with an overlay topping. (kshushsh, Getty Photos)

Floor Harm

What would you advocate for floor harm, like salt harm or gouges? Particularly with the problem of getting a patch that blends in.

Jim: I’ll provide the infamous reply: It relies upon.

Initially, how seen is the world? A whole lot of time, the patch will look lots worse than what it was making an attempt to remedy. 

If the concrete is heaving, that’s an entire totally different ball sport. Any patch might be not going to remain, it’s going to come back unfastened because the concrete continues to heave.

If it’s an necessary space, you would possibly must tear out and change the concrete, which is a worst-case situation. 

Additionally, you’ll be able to sand or grind the floor a bit and do an overlay topping, and it provides you a brand new floor to work with, so long as the concrete isn’t heaving.

Stained concrete floor
(InCommunicado, Getty Photos Signature)

Stained Concrete

We used to see acid-stained slabs on a regular basis inside houses. Do you continue to see this as a robust development?

Jim: It’s nonetheless common, and that’s not simply my opinion. We get a whole lot of site visitors on The Concrete Community about staining concrete, in order that’s kind of a voting machine.

There are two methods to attain it. 

Some folks just like the look of tile. So, say a house owner pulls up a tile ground they usually can see the define of the tile from the place the glue was. You may prep the floor, stain it, and you’ll nonetheless see the define of the tile for an industrial look.

In the event that they don’t like that look, they could do a micro-topping. That is getting ready the floor, placing on a topping after which staining that new floor, which provides a model new look.

One factor to think about is the noise requirement with the concrete. It may be louder within the room, so generally folks will add on noise buffer carpet on the ceiling and partitions. 

Concrete slab for garbage cans.
With some research, anybody can pour their very own slab for a trash can. (3 Echoes Content material Studio)

Small Concrete Initiatives

What’s your recommendation for somebody contemplating a small concrete venture? 

Jim: In case you have a really small venture and also you’re up for it, there’s no cause you’ll be able to’t do a rubbish can pad, A/C pad or a small stoop within the yard.

Simply get a number of luggage of concrete from The Residence Depot and blend it up and pour it. With just a little little bit of vitality, some gentle analysis on The Concrete Community, and watching a number of movies, your venture ought to come out high-quality. 

I wish to emphasize: With small tasks like these, a concrete contractor would most likely not reply to you anyway, so DIY is the way in which to go. 

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