All Americans will see and walk on concrete during their everyday lives, and this construction material ranks among the most important and universal of all, along with wood and metal. In fact, concrete dates back to the days of the ancient Egyptians, though today’s concrete services and construction crews can pour concrete stronger than anything that ancient civilizations used. Not only that, but concrete services may also offer slab jacking or concrete grinding services, allowing any damaged piece of concrete to be repaired or replaced as needed. While tough, concrete is not indestructible, and sometimes it may suffer from damage or cracks. So, concrete services can be called upon to fix a sidewalk and make it look like new.
What to Know About Concrete
What exactly is concrete, anyway? From the ancient days to now, it is made up of aggregate, water, sand, and cement, and this results in a thick material that can be poured into shape and allowed to harden, or cure. This is why cement mixer trucks contain concrete in a rotating drum, so that the concrete inside will not start curing and become impossible to pour. Concrete varies in strength, but typical concrete has a strength of 3,000 psi while some of the strongest may have a strength of 20,000 psi or even more. This allows enormous construction projects to be made with concrete, such as some of the world’s largest dams. Dams such as the Hoover Dam endure incredible pressure and weight of water on one end without breaking. What is more, concrete tends to get stronger over time, not weaker, and this only adds to its appeal.
Many construction projects begin with concrete, such as making a building, like a skyscraper. After the foundation is dug, then concrete crews will arrive and set up wooden boards to define the borders of where the concrete will go. Now, the concrete will be poured, and workers will use long rakes to smooth out its surface and get rid of any bubbles or ripples. At this time, tools can also be used to carve shapes or lines into the concrete as needed, and the concrete will be allowed to cure. Now that the foundation is set up, construction of the building may continue, with that concrete foundation enduring incredible weight without getting compromised. Don’t forget sidewalks or highway overpasses, either, which are also made with concrete and are vital for travel.
Repairing and Replacing Concrete
While concrete is indeed tough and can last for a long time, it is not impervious to wear and tear or sudden trauma. What might go wrong? A very old highway overpass might be torn down and replaced with a model that uses modern concrete, for example. Also take note that concrete is susceptible for geographic changes both large and small. A concrete sidewalk may start sagging if the ground underneath it becomes too heavy with water and starts sinking, and that will put huge cracks in the concrete. At best, cracked and sagging sidewalks are unattractive, and at worst they are a tripping hazard. It may prove time consuming and expensive to tear up all the concrete and replace it except in extreme cases, so most often, concrete services will be hired to perform concrete jacking.
Once the concrete services have arrived, workers will set up a machine and then insert a tube under the impaired concrete. This minimally invasive method allows workers to start pumping in concrete and other materials, which will expand and lift the sidewalk back up to its original level. Doing so can smooth out the sidewalk and undo the cracks in its surface, and any remaining gaps or cracks can be filled in with finer work. This is often much faster and more affordable than replacing all of the concrete. If new material is poured, it may need two to seven days to be ready for use, but once concrete is raised, it can be used again right away. Some companies are innovating new concrete lifting materials that are even more efficient at this job, compared to the relatively inefficient mudjacking services performed in the 1920s or so.