You see this building material every day. You walk on it, you drive on it, and you may even work or live inside a building that was made from it. But do you even know what concrete is made of? Ready mix concrete is a mixture of sand, stone, cement, and water, and each one of these items has a responsibility. The sand and stone act as fillers in the concrete, while the cement mixes with water to create a paste that holds it all together. So how does it all work together?
Cement vs Concrete
Some people intertwine “concrete” and “cement”, but they are actually two different things. Cement is the powder used to make concrete, i.e., cement is an ingredient inside concrete. So it’s not a cement mixer or a cement driveway, but a concrete mixer and a concrete driveway.
Sand and Stone
Natural sand, limestone and gravel are the common sand and stone products used to make concrete in the Midwest; however, different aggregates can be used depending on the type of concrete desired.
Cement and Water
In order to make the paste that holds everything together, the cement must mix with water. However, if you put too much water in the mix, you could end up ruining the concrete. Too much water can damage the durability of the concrete, making it unsafe to use on certain projects. In addition, concrete with too much water could lead to common concrete problems such as scaling or cracking. If you are making concrete, you must ensure your water to cement ratio is correct for the particular application.
Concrete can be used for a variety of projects, from residential to commercial to infrastructure. However, what’s important to remember is not all concrete mixes can be intertwined, so what works for a driveway in Chicago may not work for a high-rise in Miami. If you’re planning a project with concrete, be sure to consult with a professional before beginning.
Ozinga is a leader in the concrete industry, and we've have a variety of specialty concrete mixes to help your project.