What is concrete anyway?

Ever wonder what goes into this (mostly) grey substance you see all over the world? We’ll break it down for you!

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Concrete is essentially the combination of 3 materials: Aggregate, Portland Cement, and Water.


Sand is the fine aggregate. Gravel or crushed stone is the coarse aggregate in most mixes.

Portland Cement

Portland cement is a fine powder produced heating limestone and clay minerals in a kiln to form clinker, grinding the clinker, and adding small amounts of other materials. The cement and water form a paste that coats the aggregate and sand in the mix. The paste hardens and binds the aggregates and sand together.


Water is needed to chemically react with the cement (hydration) and too provide workability with the concrete. The amount of water in the mix in pounds compared with the amount of cement is called the water/cement ratio. The lower the w/c ratio, the stronger the concrete. (higher strength, less permeability)

Concrete is a versatile and commonly used construction material in residential homes due to its durability, strength, and ability to be molded into various shapes.

Here are the top five uses of concrete in residential homes:

  1. Foundation: Concrete is widely used for residential home foundations due to its exceptional load-bearing capacity and ability to resist settling and shifting. A solid foundation is essential for the stability and longevity of a house.
  2. Structural Walls: Concrete can be used to create load-bearing walls, both exterior and interior, providing stability and support to the entire structure. Concrete walls offer excellent resistance to fire, wind, and impacts.
  3. Flooring: Concrete floors are a popular choice for various areas of a home, including basements, garages, and outdoor patios. They can be left as polished or stained concrete for a modern and industrial look, or covered with other flooring materials.
  4. Driveways and Walkways: Concrete is often used for driveways, walkways, and pathways around the exterior of the house. It provides a durable and long-lasting surface that can withstand vehicle and foot traffic, as well as exposure to the elements.
  5. Outdoor Features: Concrete is frequently used for constructing outdoor features such as patios, decks, retaining walls, and swimming pools. Its versatility allows for the creation of various shapes and designs, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the outdoor living space.
While these are the top five uses of concrete in residential homes, it’s worth noting that concrete can be employed in numerous other applications, such as countertops, staircases, decorative elements, and even as a design feature in architectural structures. Additionally, advances in concrete technology have led to the development of different types of concrete with improved characteristics, such as high-strength concrete, fiber-reinforced concrete, and decorative concrete finishes, further expanding its potential uses in residential construction.


What is concrete anyway?


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