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How to Pour Concrete in Hot Weather

July 12, 2016

Midwest summers can be excruciating, but hot weather can be found all over the US. While the warm weather may be optimal for swimming and spending time outside, it can affect the way you pour concrete. Before you let the hot weather wreak havoc on your concrete project, be sure you fully understand how to pour concrete in hot weather.

Plan pours during cooler parts of the day.

The temperature of concrete plays an important role in its quality and overall aesthetics. In order to avoid any hot-weather-related issues, try to schedule your concrete work during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or later at night. Although you may need to adjust your project schedule, doing this can actually keep your project running on time because you avoid any temperature-related issues.

Discharge trucks quickly.

The higher temperatures result in quicker set times, so if you’re not prepared, you could end up with unusable concrete or a bad pour. When the weather is hot, make sure that you discharge the trucks quickly. Be sure that you have plenty of people on hand to unload the concrete and handle the job in a timely manner. Remember that the hotter it is, the less time you have to place the concrete. It may cost you more in labor, but it’s worth not having to pay for new concrete.

Use shade.

If you can block the sun from the concrete, you can decrease the temperature and make it easier for you to unload. Consider erecting temporary sunshades in the area where you’re working with concrete. This will keep the sun away from the concrete, which can cool its surface temperature.

Use retarders.

Higher temperatures can cause water to quickly evaporate from the surface of the concrete. This results in a quicker set time. To combat this, some people add more water to the mix, but this lowers the water/cement ratio, which adversely affects the strength of the concrete.

Instead of adding water, use retarders or hydration stabilizers to maintain the moisture level in the concrete mix. This will keep water from evaporating without altering the water/cement ratio.

Use ice or chillers.

Keeping your concrete at a cooler temperature can also be done by using ice or chillers. These will typically cost more, but it can help you place concrete in hot weather without any issue.

Knowing how to pour concrete in hot weather can keep your project running on time. Contact us today to schedule concrete for your next pour.

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Whenever you work on a project, you can choose what type of materials you work with. Materials are going to vary in cost, and this will depend, in part, on the quality of the product. Those that are cheaper may be lower in quality, and those that are more expensive are likely to last. To save money, some people opt for the cheaper materials. While this may seem like a good idea at the time, using poor-quality materials may result in a variety of problems. Take a look at some of the issues you could face if you use poor-quality materials.

Lack of Durability

Higher-quality materials will last much longer, and this increases the durability of your project. For example, if you opt for a high-quality aggregate as a base for your concrete project, that base will be more durable than one made with a low-quality product. Not only will you be able to enjoy your project for a longer period of time, but you’ll also know that it is safer.

Look

If you’re spending time working on something, you want the end result to look nice. High-quality materials look better than poor-quality materials, and this can enhance the overall aesthetics of your project. If you use a poor-quality material, you may not be too happy with the end result.

Cost

As mentioned above, cost can be affected. While you will initially save money on the project by opting for low-quality materials, chances are it will cost you more in the long run. These materials may settle, rut, wash out, warp, fade, break, chip, corrode—basically, they will do anything but last. Best case, they may give your customer the impression that your work is less than professional. Worst case, it may result in warranty work, which impacts your profitability. By the time you’re done replacing everything, you will end up spending just as much as you would if you would have used high-quality materials first, if not more.

Reputation

If you’re a contractor, poor-quality materials can actually hurt your reputation. If a homeowner or general contractor has nothing but problems with the project you handled, they will tell their friends and family about it. This not only hurts your overall reputation, but it will also lose you business, and that’s something you likely can’t afford.

Instead of cutting corners and opting for low-quality material on your next project, make the right choice and choose those that look great and will last for a long time. Ozinga offers a wide assortment of aggregate materials for your next project. Contact one of our materials specialists today to choose the right high-quality material.

Landscaping your home can be a great way to add your own style to the exterior and to give your house some curb appeal. Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb, there are plenty of landscaping projects you can tackle that won’t break the bank. Take a look at the following three simple landscaping ideas and see how you can transform your home in one weekend.

1. Plant flowers.

Doing something as simple as planting flowers can help bring some life to your yard. You can find many different types of flowers at a local home improvement store or nursery. If you’re new to planting flowers, talk with a professional to learn which flowers require little maintenance and which thrive in your environment. Be sure to consider where you’re planting the flowers, as the amount of sunlight can impact which flowers will work best in that area. When choosing flowers, you can opt for a theme, such as flowers that are a certain color, or you can mix and match a variety in order to give your home some life.

2. Build a wall for a raised flower bed.

While you may have enough space on the ground to add some simple landscaping, you may also consider adding some depth to your space by raising a flower bed. This allows you to add some dimension and give your home some great curb appeal. Building a wall can be done quickly and cheaply if you opt for concrete blocks or landscape blocks.

3. Add gravel.

Instead of sticking with grass or soil around your home, consider spicing things up with gravel. This is a great alternative and provides an aesthetically pleasing look, and you can use it in various landscape projects. Gravel comes in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can pick what best complements your home. Gravel also offers great drainage, so it’s the perfect companion to flower beds, walkways, or even patios.

Finding ways to bring life to your home doesn’t have to be an expensive challenge. Planting flowers, building a raised flower bed, and adding gravel to your yard are all cost-effective ways to add some curb appeal. Plus, all of these projects can be completed in a weekend, so you can spend more time enjoying your new landscaping.

If you’re interested in adding landscaping to your home, download our decorative landscaping guide to help inspire you.

Curing is a very important step when pouring concrete. Curing refers to the process where the concrete surface is kept moist so the wet (plastic) concrete does not lose too much moisture. Through curing, the concrete increases in strength and decreases in permeability, and it can also minimize cracking, scaling and surface defects. This is why it’s extremely important to cure the concrete correctly. When it comes time to cure the concrete, be sure to use the following tips.

Start at the right time.

Believe it or not, there is a right time to start the curing process. Curing should begin as soon as the finished concrete is hard enough to resist marring. If you start too early or too late, you could jeopardize the curing process, and ultimately, the strength and look of the concrete.

Leave the forms on.

If you used forms for your concrete project, be sure to leave them on during the curing process. This will keep the concrete from drying out too quickly and help the curing process.

Use a curing compound.

Curing compounds are used to retard or reduce moisture evaporation from concrete. Be sure that you are using an ASTM-approved curing compound and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Ozinga offers ASTM C-309 for curing as well as ASTM C-1315 for curing and sealing.

Give it time.

Most mixes are designed to reach a specified strength within 28 days, and it takes the presence of moisture for those 28 days to ensure that the strengths are reached. Water is needed to hydrate cement. Once concrete dries, the hydration process and strength gain are stopped. On the other hand, concrete will continue to gain strength over time as long as there is enough moisture present for hydration. Curing ensures the continued hydration of the cement to achieve expected strength and durability.

Whether you’re a contractor working at a jobsite or a homeowner tackling a DIY concrete project, these tips can help ensure your concrete is properly cured.

Ozinga offers a variety of products to help your concrete project. Take a look at what we have to offer.

There is so much you can do with concrete. You can use it for driveways, patios, walkways, and various other surfaces around your home. If you’re new to DIY concrete projects, it’s very important that you take the time to fully understand what to expect before starting. After all, if you’re unprepared, you could find yourself with a costly project, an unfinished project, or even putting yourself at risk of injury. Before you start your concrete project, use the following tips to help you prepare for the pour.

Have the right tools.

You must be prepared with the proper tools necessary to set up the job and finish the concrete. Most of these tools will be available at your local hardware store.

Contact your local government.

Some cities or municipalities have certain regulations regarding concrete projects. Contact your local city or county planning department to check on any requirements you need to follow, such as construction permits or code requirements. Knowing this information before you start can keep your project running on time.

Contact utility companies.

When you work with concrete, you will need to dig up existing land. Before you start to dig, it’s very important that you contact your local utility companies. They can come out and mark where any underground wires or cables may be located. If you live in Illinois, you can contact JULIE, and they will mark all your buried utility lines and cables for you. This way, you know what areas of your yard you need to avoid while excavating the land.

Excavate the area.

You will need a clean, flat surface for your concrete project. This will require you to dig up dirt and flatten the surface. Your concrete surface will also require a subbase, so you want to be sure you lay down a layer of rock. Use our materials calculator to determine how much subbase you’ll need, or contact our materials specialists for assistance.

Calculate your materials.

Having the right amount of materials on hand will help your project run smoothly. As mentioned above, be sure you have enough subbase for your project. If you need to make concrete forms, be sure to have the proper lumber on hand. Since this is a concrete project, you’ll also want to be sure you have enough concrete. You can determine how much concrete you need by measuring the height, width, and depth of the area and use this to calculate your materials. If you need help, feel free to use our concrete calculator or contact our dispatch team.

When you’re prepared for the pour, your concrete project will run more smoothly. Let our concrete specialists help you determine the right type of concrete for your specific project.

Sand is an extremely fine aggregate used in many different applications, including concrete, backfill, landscaping, surface treatments, and snow and ice control. What most people fail to realize is that not all sand is created equal, and some is best used for certain applications instead of others. Learn more about the different types of sand to help you determine which is the best option for your next project.

Torpedo Sand

Torpedo sand is a natural sand most commonly used to create asphalt and concrete, but it can also be used for multiple landscaping applications too. Since it’s simple and coarse, and since it can drain well, it is a great product for backfill and subbase. You can also mix torpedo sand with black dirt to make it easier to work with.

FM20 Sand

FM20 sand is produced by crushing larger stone or gravel into finer particles. It is typically used in asphalt mixes, but it can also be used in landscaping applications. FM20 is also IDOT approved, so it’s a great aggregate to use under roadways and shoulders. If you want to use this sand for drainage, consider mixing it with black dirt.

#1 Mason Sand

If you’re looking for the right type of sand for your sandbox or volleyball court, you’ll want to turn to #1 mason sand. Due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness, it’s a very popular choice for multiple applications. This material is very fine, so it’s perfect for play areas. Mason sand can also be used for mason work as well as underneath swimming pools.

Fill Sand/Trench Backfill

Fill sand is perfect for just that—fill. This aggregate is often a mix of different sands. It’s not processed, which means it can be clumpy, but it does compact well, which makes it great for those areas you need to build up.

Grits Sand

If you are using brick pavers for a patio or walkway, you will need to underlay the pavers and fill the areas between the bricks with sand. For optimal performance, grits sand is the best material for this application. Grits sand compacts well and will ensure the pavers do not re-settle. Grits sand is also economical, so it can also be used in place of torpedo sand for backfill and trench fill projects.

Sand can be used for a variety of applications, but since not all sand is created equal, it’s very important to choose the right type for your project. Ozinga’s materials specialists are always available to help you choose the right sand.

The weather is getting nicer, which means it’s time to start paying attention to your landscaping. One great material to consider is gravel. Gravel comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors, making it a great choice to spice up your home’s landscaping. If you’re new to using gravel, you may not be exactly sure what you can do with it. Thankfully, the following five gravel landscape ideas will teach you how to use this beautiful and cost-effective product perfectly around your home.

1. Mulch

Many homeowners use mulch to cover the dirt in their flowerbeds and gardens. While mulch offers many benefits, you can also opt to use gravel instead. Gravel is much more durable than mulch. In fact, while mulch needs to be replaced or supplemented annually, gravel can be a permanent solution. In addition, gravel can be lighter in color than mulch, which can add a beautiful aesthetic to your space by making it appear larger.

2. Walkway

Would you like a walkway in your yard? Using gravel to create a nice walkway is a beautiful way to bring class and style to your home’s exterior. You can opt to create a typical gravel walkway, or you can use gravel as a base and use stepping stones or other objects as the actual walkway.

3. Patio

When the weather is warm, sitting out on the patio can be a great way to enjoy some family time or to just relax. Making a gravel patio can be a great way to create a relaxing space in your yard for a very affordable price. Like with a walkway, you can opt to create the entire patio out of gravel, or you can use gravel as a sub-layer and place larger concrete blocks on top. The best thing about using gravel is that it offers great drainage and is easy to maintain.

4. Dog Run

Dogs make great companions, but they can wreak havoc on your yard. Instead of patching grass every year, consider creating a dog run. These can be created in any size you choose, and pea gravel is a great material to use as the base of this area. It’s softer for a dog’s paws, and the drainage makes for an easy cleanup.

5. Yard

When you think of a yard, you likely think of grass, but there’s no rule that says you need to have grass in your yard. If you want a truly unique look, consider using gravel instead of grass. There is no weekly maintenance with gravel, and if you live in an area with frequent drought, you don’t need to worry about wasting water on your lawn. So if you truly want a great-looking yard without all the hassle, you should consider gravel.

Gravel is an affordable material that’s perfect for landscaping. If you want to spruce up your home’s exterior, consider using gravel for one of these five ideas. If you’re interested in more landscape ideas for your home, download our decorative landscape guide.

According to OSHA, there are 250,000 people working in concrete manufacturing, and in just one year, more than 10% of those workers experienced a job-related injury or illness. Working with concrete while on the job can come with risks, which is why it’s extremely important that you always maintain proper safety. No matter if you’re unloading concrete from a truck or actually placing it in the desired location, make sure to always use the following concrete jobsite safety tips.

Concrete Truck Position

Concrete trucks are tall and extremely heavy with limited visibility from the cab. This means they can cause damage to your jobsite if you’re not careful or prepared. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have cleared any tree branches from the area. This way, you don’t run the risk of having the truck knock them down. You should also be mindful of low-hanging wires. If you notice some, try to find an alternate route for the truck or consider manually unloading the truck with wheelbarrows.

Besides ensuring that branches and wires are out of the way, you also need to be mindful of where the truck will park. Keep in mind that these trucks are extremely heavy, so it is very likely that they will damage the ground or even knock over foundations. For this reason, always be sure to park the truck perpendicular to an excavated area and maintain a distance of about one foot for every one foot in depth.

Protection

When working with concrete, it’s very important that you protect yourself properly. Always make sure that you’re wearing the right personal protective equipment. Protective eye coverings can help keep blowing dust or splattering concrete from damaging your eyes, and a hard hat will keep your head safe from falling debris. You should also make sure you’re always wearing a brightly colored safety vest so that everyone else on the jobsite can see you at all times. Work boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants are also recommended to protect your skin and body while on the job.

In addition to protective coverings, you also need to make sure you’re protecting your body while working. If you need to lift heavy products or equipment, always be sure to bend at the knees and keep your back straight. If an item is too heavy, ask someone else for assistance or use some type of equipment to move it.

Chutes

Chutes are necessary for unloading concrete, but it’s important that you always use caution around them. Always be mindful of where the chute is located and never walk beneath it. Chutes are extremely heavy, even when empty, and serious injury or fatality may result if the chute should malfunction.

Chutes that are full of concrete are very heavy and difficult to stop once they are moving. Never stand between the chutes and another object like a car or building. It’s also very important that you keep your hands away from objects when holding the chutes.

Tools

Using the right tools is important for your safety. Whenever possible, let mechanical equipment place the concrete as close to the final position as possible. This will relieve strain on your body. Once the concrete is unloaded, you should push the concrete into place with a short-handled, square-edged shovel.

Skin Safety

Wet concrete can cause irritation or even burn your skin. If any part of your skin becomes exposed to wet concrete, make sure that you wash the area with a pH-neutral soap and water immediately. If the irritation persists, seek professional medical attention.

In order to ensure you don’t become a safety statistic on the jobsite, make sure that you are following these jobsite safety tips and are always exercising caution when working with concrete.

Ozinga has been supplying concrete and concrete products to homeowners and contractors for more than 85 years. If you’re interested in concrete for your next project, contact one of our concrete specialists today.

Concrete can be much more than just a gray slab. No matter if you’re looking to install a patio, walkway, or driveway, there are a variety of decorative concrete ideas you can use to spruce up your yard or landscaping.

1. Color

When you think of a concrete driveway, you probably think of a gray slab. However, concrete can come in a variety of colors, not just gray. Topical and integral colors can be added to the concrete. Integral colors are added to the concrete mixture to give it a rich color. Topical colors are added to the top layer of the concrete to also give it a more aesthetically pleasing look. No matter which you choose, you can opt for something natural in tone, or you can be a little more daring with your choice.

2. Stamps

Having a plain, flat surface can be boring. If you prefer to spice it up, you should consider adding concrete stamping to your slab. Stamped concrete resembles natural stone or brick and can add dimension and class to the exterior of your home. Whether you want something that resembles slate, cobblestone, or another look in between, stamped concrete can give you exactly what you want.

3. Polish

Polishing is a great choice for interior concrete floors and can provide an aesthetically pleasing look for a minimal cost. You can polish brand new concrete floors, or you can use it to bring life to your older, dated floor. When you opt for polished concrete, you also experience relatively low maintenance.

4. Stain

Stained concrete can offer a very attractive look to your concrete floor. Stain can be applied to both interior and exterior flooring, and there are a variety of options to choose from, so you can get the exact look you want.

5. Exposed Aggregate

Exposed aggregate concrete offers a unique yet simple way to get a great look. Exposed aggregate removes the very top layer of the concrete and exposes the variably sized aggregates found inside. This decorative concrete is available in multiple aggregate sizes and offers the same durability as traditional concrete, but also offers a one-of-a-kind look. You can also combine exposed aggregate concrete with an integral color to give your concrete a specific look.

Concrete is an extremely versatile material that is great for driveways, patios, walkways, and more. If you want to get away from the traditional gray concrete look, you can always opt for a decorative concrete option. Note that it’s in your best interest to use a concrete sealer on your decorative concrete to keep it looking great for an extended period of time.

If you’re interested in what you can do with your concrete, download our decorative concrete guide.

When you think of dirt, you probably just think of that dark brown or black material that can be found in your garden or on a jobsite, right? It’s true that what you’re thinking of is actually dirt, but did you know that not all dirt is the same? There are different types of dirt that are best for different applications. Before you submit your next dirt order, learn about the different types of dirt below to ensure you’re choosing the right product for your project.

Fill Dirt

Fill dirt is often the least expensive type of dirt. This material is used precisely to fill in a hole in the ground or to purposefully change the grade or elevation of a property. This product is usually taken from locations where the soil is being removed, such as at construction sites. In addition to dirt, most fill dirt may also contain rocks and sand.

In some cases, fill dirt is mixed with sand to make it lighter and provide better drainage. It is most commonly used on construction sites, but it can also be used for highway maintenance. Fill dirt can also be used for landscaping projects that require elevation changes, such as the addition of a swimming pool or waterfall.

Topsoil

Topsoil refers to the top layer of soil, usually about the first 2-8 inches. This product is rich in organic material, including a high amount of decomposing plant and animal material as well as a high amount of nutrients. Topsoil is usually black in color and is typically recommended as an addition to home gardens, flower beds and lawns.

Black Dirt

Black dirt is not the same as topsoil, even though it may look the same. Black dirt typically contains iron and other chemicals, which is what gives it that dark brown or black hue. This material is commonly used in landscaping, gardens and lawns as well as for filling in low areas or creating walkways.

Although most types of dirt may look the same, they’re not always interchangeable. Before you order dirt for your next project, let one of Ozinga’s materials specialists help ensure you’re choosing the right product.