Concrete is a versatile construction material, but, unlike other materials such as wood, the sturdy nature of concrete can make working with this material a little bit challenging. Whether you are looking to lay out a slab, drill, or cut through a concrete surface, the right tools and expertise can make all the difference.
Here are costly mistakes people often make when handling concrete. To avoid these mistakes, hire professionals to complete your concrete projects.
1. Inadequate Site Preparation
Installation of concrete surfaces, especially in outdoor spaces such as curbs and parking lots, requires adequate site preparation. In particular, the site should be stable and the soil should have proper drainage.
Site preparation typically entails removing the topsoil and other objects such as tree roots that can compromise the stability of the concrete surface. You should also place several layers of gravel atop the soil to provide a solid surface and to ensure proper drainage of water to keep the underlying structure of the concrete dry and compact.
2. Wrong Choice of Drilling Tools
Drilling through concrete successfully is an art form that requires the right tools and the right technique. Improper drilling can damage the concrete surface and your tools as well.
Before drilling, professionals first evaluate the characteristics of the concrete surface. This helps in selecting the right tools for the job.
A standard rotary drill can come in handy when drilling small holes or drilling through a less dense surface. However, a powerful machine such as an electric hammer drill would be more efficient when working with older or denser concrete surfaces. A good hammer drill should also have substantial power, a stop feature, and several speed settings for efficient performance.
3. Unnecessarily Fast Grinding
Diamond-tipped grinder blades are important tools for cutting concrete. But in an effort to complete a project fast, some operators use the grinder too fast. Grinding at an unnecessarily fast speed presents two problems. First, you run the risk of damaging the grinder's diamond edges. Second, a damaged grinder will not cut concrete surfaces properly, resulting in less-than-perfect project outcomes.
A better approach to faster grinding is to use the appropriate diamond edges or a larger grinding machine to apply more pressure on the concrete surface, enabling the grinder to cut faster.
4. Improper Curing
Another common mistake related to project timing is rushing the curing process. While concrete takes about a day or two to set, proper curing requires up to 28 days.
Inadequate curing will cause the concrete to crack, crumble, and become generally unstable. Proper curing is especially important if you plan to paint the concrete surface and if the surface will be used for heavy or high traffic activities that require a stable surface.
5. Incorrect Cutting Technique
Professional concrete contractors use a variety of tools and methods to cut concrete surfaces. The precise method used at any given time will depend on the requirements of the job.
Essentially, cutting concrete entails laying out the concrete surface and then using a heavy industrial machine to cut deep into the concrete. For the best results, an operator should be careful to cut the concrete surface to the correct depth, understand the nature of the concrete surface, and cut at a sensible speed.
Undertaking concrete projects on your own may seem like a smart way to save costs. However, handling concrete often requires professional input from contractors who understand the chemical and structural dynamics of concrete for successful slab placing, cutting, or drilling.
No matter how small or large your concrete project is, let the licensed and insured Louisiana concrete experts at Capitol City Concrete Cutters help you to complete the job successfully. Give us a call today for a free estimate.