Concrete is a construction material composed of cement, fine sand, and gravel mixed with water. After placement, concrete hardens with time and becomes rock solid. It is one of the most widely used components in construction processes all over the world.
To make concrete, you need to mix the mentioned components according to the required proportions. Depending on the type of concrete you need, you could also use concrete admixtures. These can enhance the concrete mix and either speed up or slow down the setting process without compromising the concrete’s quality.
Concrete can essentially be used for almost any part of a building project. For instance, a building’s walls and floors are essentially made with concrete. There are around a hundred other uses of concrete in various building projects. Below are some of them:
Concrete is a significant component in the construction of residential buildings. Six billion cubic meters of concrete are made every year.
Construction of residential buildings is not exempted from this vast use of concrete. Most traditional and modern units utilize concrete to erect the building skeletons, from the foundations to the slabs, columns, and beams.
Using concrete in commercial buildings is said to be safer and more cost-effective than other materials. The Empire State Building, which was believed to be the world’s tallest structure when it was completed in 1931, reportedly used 62,000 cubic yards of concrete.
Concrete buildings require less maintenance than other structures. The excellent water and temperature resistance of concrete makes it ideal for commercial buildings.
The foundation is a fundamental part of a building. Without a solid foundation, a building could easily collapse. Buildings rely on a strong foundation for their overall lifespan.
For solid foundations, in both low- and high-rise buildings, concrete is a widely accepted choice. Reinforced cement concrete is durable and has a sizeable load-carrying capacity, making it an essential part of the construction process.
The incredible strength and durability of concrete make it suitable for flooring. In multiple-story buildings, concrete is used to separate the different floors. If you have a concrete floor, you can’t scratch or dent it easily.
Concrete stairs are normally used for accessing upper floors, lofts, and basements in buildings. They provide a stable and safe base for various finishes, like titles, marble, and wood.
Ring Beams and Lintels
Concrete can be used for the construction of ring beams. Ring beams are used for reinforcing buildings along the sides. They’re usually just below the ceiling and, at times, under the roof structure.
On the other hand, lintels are used to bridge openings such as windows and doorways during the construction of buildings. Ring beams and lintels are typically made up of concrete blocks that could be reinforced by steel bars.
Roads and Driveways
The first concrete road was built in 1909 at Greenfield Township, now northwest Detroit. The temperature and water resistance, plus the concrete’s durability, have made it a viable option for paving roads and driveways. Concrete pavements, streets, and driveways are believed to be more permanent than asphalt paving.
Concrete roads are significantly less prone to wear and tear than other pavement surfaces. They don’t crack, strip, or acquire loose texture easily. Potholes are also rare on well-paved concrete roads. Due to being low maintenance, concrete has become the preferred material for the construction of roads and driveways.
Concrete can be used for fencing. The concrete industry has developed various forms of precast fences. These are faster and easier to install than other traditional methods of fencing. Concrete fences are also usually attractive and durable.
Culverts and Sewers
Water drainage systems such as sewers, culverts, piers, septic tanks, and abutments are constructed using concrete. Concrete has also stood the test of time as an ideal material for sewer pipelines. If not properly constructed, however, concrete sewer lines and culverts could fall victim to erosion.
Home and Garden Ornaments
Concrete can be molded into any shape when wet and freshly mixed. Hence, it’s popular as a suitable material for molding gardens and home ornaments like water fountains, gnomes, pillars, and statues. Concrete water fountains and other ornaments are used for adding to the aesthetic value of a building project. They can be placed anywhere on the property.
Concrete is used for constructing parking lots. Building owners prefer concrete parking lots over other materials. The same concrete can also be used to make curb stops, parking blocks, and wheel stops.
The high strength and remarkable load capacity of concrete make it a preferred material for dam construction. Did you know that the Three Gorges Dam, in central China, is the world’s biggest concrete structure, standing at 607 feet high and 7,575 feet long? Dams carry very heavy loads due to water pressure, making concrete a suitable material for their construction.
Concrete is widely used as a construction material for seawalls, groins, jetties, bulkheads, breakwaters, and other structures exposed to bodies of water. The durability of concrete marine structures has, overall, been excellent based on the erected structures by far.
Concrete can be used in the construction of bridges. It’s long-lasting, stress-resistant, capable of heavy-loads, weather-resistant, and durable. The Beipan River Bridge on the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway is reported to be the longest concrete arch bridge in the world. At 445 meters, it bridges the canyons between the two provinces.
Concrete can be used to construct poles, which are used for various purposes, such as for fences, shed structures, reinforcements, and communication wires. Like other concrete structures, concrete poles are a preferred option because of their strength and durability.
Concrete has been around for centuries, and it’s still consistently the best choice for most builders throughout the world. There are numerous uses for concrete, including walling, structural reinforcement, paving, foundations, floors, stairways, and many more.
The most significant advantage of using concrete is that it’s solid and resistant to most weather elements. Concrete is also relatively economical and requires low maintenance. If you want a durable and robust building that requires minimum maintenance yet retains aesthetic appeal, then you may need concrete for your next construction project.