Homeowners and D.I.Y. customers
Ready-mixed concrete is a versatile material that is perfect for long-lasting home improvements. Whether it’s a small do-it-yourself project or a major home renovation, that require the services of a professional builder, we have the variety of products and flexible scheduling to meet the requirements of your project.
But keep in mind that concrete needs to be appropriately handled. Concrete has to be placed, compacted and cured properly. Furthermore, precautions need to be made if the weather is hot, rainy or cold. In simple terms, poor compaction and poor curing produce poor concrete with lower strength and poorer durability.
As much information as possible should be provided to your Thomas representative so that they can give advice on a suitable concrete with the right consistency/workability. An estimation of the quantities/volume of concrete required is essential, and additional information about vehicle access, placement rate and method of placement is extremely useful. Please also keep in mind that concrete is delivered in a truck-mixer which, when fully loaded, weighs more than 60,000 lbs and is approximately 30 ft long, 8 ft wide and 13 ft high. Hence, a truck-mixer may not be able to manoeuvre on loose dirt, residential curbs and pathways. Safe access for the delivery vehicle should be provided, taking into consideration its size and weight and the ground conditions and access. Please note that the truck driver will need to maintain a safe distance from any obstacles and excavations or area considered dangerous. Hence, please consider how the concrete is to be moved from the point of discharge to its final position and that placing the concrete from the truck-mixers chute has a limited range.
Before placing and before the truck-mixer arrives, make sure that everything is well prepared and that adequate manpower to quickly place, finish and cure the concrete is available. If casting on the ground, make sure that stones and weeds, plus a layer of top soil, has been removed and that sub-base is well compacted and has been covered with a thin layer of sand and a layer of plastic sheeting. This helps to prevent excessive moisture loss from the concrete. Before any concrete is placed, rigid, level and clean formwork must be in position and accessible, and all the right equipment needs to be ready, for example equipment to compact and finish the concrete after placing. If the truck mixer cannot discharge directly into the forms, skips or barrows, a concrete pump will be needed.
Under normal conditions, concrete has a useable life of about 1 and 1⁄2 hours. However, at high ambient temperatures concrete will lose workability more rapidly. Ideally, it should be placed and completely finished within 1 hour of discharge from the truck-mixer.
For placing during hot weather or when slower placements are expected, please contact your Thomas representative for suggestions.
Working with concrete is relatively safe, however, like all construction materials it should be treated with care and respect. When handling concrete, ensure the correct equipment for the task is being used and that approved personal protective equipment is worn. If the skin comes in contact with fresh concrete, skin irritations are likely to occur, owing to the alkaline nature of cement. Potential effects range from dry skin, irritant contact dermatitis, to – in cases of prolonged exposure – severe burns. Take care to prevent fresh concrete from entering boots and use working methods that do not require kneeling in the fresh concrete.
In its early life, the fresh concrete must be protected from the detrimental effects of drying due to hot sun, dry air and drying winds, and from frost and precipitation. In order to achieve the required durability and strength of any concrete, care must be given to curing. Curing is the maintaining of an adequate moisture content and temperature in the concrete at early ages so that it develops the intended properties. Curing should always start as soon as possible and before the concrete begins to dry out or cool down. Please ask for advice if needed.