Are the terms "concrete" and "cement" interchangeable?
No. Although often used interchangeably – even by some construction professionals – cement is not concrete nor is concrete cement. This Old House's general contractor, Tom Silva, knows better and drives us interchangeably crazy! CEMENT is one of the basic ingredients used to make CONCRETE … just as FLOUR is one of the basic ingredients used to make CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. When cement is mixed with other basic ingredients — sand, gravel or crushed stone, and water– the cement and water react to form a paste that glues the remaining ingredients into a rock-like mass which is known as concrete.
Slump is used as a measure of consistency of concrete, and is most often associated with the amount of water added to the concrete mix to increase ease of placement (the higher the slump, the wetter the mix). The addition of water to increase slump beyond the design specification will result in reduced-strength potential for the concrete and possible surface deterioration. Quality Indiana contractors place concrete for exterior pavement applications at a moderate slump — not more than 4 to 5-inches — unless a water-reducing admixture is used.
Chert, which is found to some degree in most aggregate deposits used to produce concrete in Central Indiana, is porous aggregate (sand, gravel, or crushed stone) with low-resistance to weathering. Chert can cause surface defects, known as "popouts," in exterior concrete flatwork applications. Popouts are indentations in a concrete slab surface created when porous aggregate picks up moisture, freezes, expands, and fractures, taking a portion of the concrete slab surface mortar with it. Popouts can be minimized by using low-chert aggregates, which contains a specified maximum percentage limit of porous aggregates. To minimize the potential for popouts in exterior concrete flatwork applications, Builder’s Concrete Mix recommends homeowners and builders specify low-chert aggregate concrete mixes.
FIBERMESH® brand micro-reinforcement, when added to the concrete mix at the batch plant, creates a uniform system of millions of polypropylene fibers, which are formulated to address early-age cracking problems caused by water loss and shrinkage.
Advances in concrete mix design and in forming and finishing technologies permit concrete to take on almost any shape, pattern, color, or texture, in both exterior and interior applications, resulting in special finishes for concrete pavements and slabs limited only by your imagination and the skill of your concrete contractor. Through the use of specialized concrete forms, stains, stamps, dyes, colored pigments, surface retarders, texture patterns, decorative aggregates, or epoxy overlays, experienced decorative concrete contractors command an artist’s pallet full of special finishes for providing durable decorative concrete options for Central Indiana homeowners. Some of the special finishes available include: exposed aggregate finishes, colored concrete finishes, stamped concrete finishes, engraved concrete finishes, stained concrete surfaces, and sawed and pattern-grooved concrete finishes.
Yes. Topsoil and any other organic matter must be removed before placing concrete. Organic materials are unstable and unable to provide uniform support for concrete slabs. A properly prepared subgrade contains no organic material and is crucial to constructing a quality concrete pavement or slab on grade.
Concrete is ordered by volume, expressed in cubic yards required to completely fill project forms. To avoid potential scheduling conflicts, ordering ready-mixed concrete from Builder’s Concrete must be done by calling our dispatch department at (317) 570-6200. Before you call, measure your project and create a scale drawing, including the actual dimensions. Be prepared to share the following information with our Dispatch Department:
• project address
• directions to project site
• county the project is located in
• job site phone number (land-line or cell)
• date and time concrete is required
• volume of concrete needed, in cubic yards
• concrete mix desired
• intended use (driveway, patio, basement floor, etc.)
• desired slump
• description of available truck access
• interval between loads (if more than nine yards of concrete are required)
• concrete placement method (chute, wheelbarrow, concrete pump, or the like)
• payment method.
Ready-mixed concrete is sold by the cubic yard. If you can determine the area of your concrete project (length x width for rectangular projects) and know the thickness of the slab, you can determine how much concrete you need by clicking here.
Normal delivery hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 7:00 a.m. to Noon. Saturday hours are seasonal in nature and subject to the number of confirmed orders received. Holidays hours are determined on a case-by-case basis. Know our employees work long, hard hours throughout the year and, like you, want and deserve time off to spend with family and friends.
Advance notice is strongly recommended to permit scheduling of vehicles needed to deliver the concrete to the job site and to allow for batching, loading, and mixing times prior to departure for the job site. A 24-hour window is a reasonable time frame during the construction season.
Orders may be cancelled, for weather related reasons only, a minimum of one hour prior to scheduled delivery time. We do charge for non-weather cancellations.
The base cost is dependent on the type of mix design used for the particular project application involved. Additional costs for minimum loads, waiting times, and sales tax will also be included in the total charge. The dispatcher will provide cost information, based on your specific project situation.
For loads of less than 4-1/4 yards, there are minimum load charges, which vary, depending on quantity of concrete ordered. The dispatcher will provide minimum load charge cost information, based on your specific project situation.
Payment is due at the time of delivery (C.O.D), unless you have an account set up with Builder’s Concrete. C.O.D payment may be made by cash or credit card. Credit cards need to be verified by the Dispatch Department before Builder’s Concrete will ship your order.
Placing and finishing concrete requires knowledge about concrete and the fundamentals of good concreting practices. It requires skill with both basic tools – including hammers, tape measures, chalk lines, saws, and a hose – and specialized concrete tools, including come-alongs, a straightedge, a concrete edger, a bullfloat, a hand float, and a groover (jointer), to name a few. If organization, planning, and project management skills are not your strong suit, you would best be served by hiring a construction professional for your concrete project. Site excavation, subgrade preparation, and building and setting concrete forms are not easy tasks for most do-it-yourselfers. Placing and finishing concrete is hard work. Concrete is heavy – about 150 pounds per cubic foot – and difficult to place, consolidate, strike off, level, and finish. Timing of many finishing operations is crucial and best learned through experience. Mistakes in timing may prove critical. As the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association's Finishing Concrete Flatwork publication points out, "Any finishing operations undertaken while the concrete slab is still "bleeding" will result in problems for the finished slab, such as scaling, cracking, delamination, dusting, or concrete blisters." Bleeding characteristics for concrete can vary, based on mix design, subgrade preparation, and weather conditions, and can often challenge experienced contractors. Yet for some do-it-yourselfers, the hard work and high-degree of skill, management, and adventure required to complete a successful concrete project provides a unique sense of satisfaction. If this describes you, and you can muster enough friends to safely and efficiently transfer concrete from the ready-mix truck into preset, well-braced forms, go for it.
No. Placing the concrete for your project is your (or your concrete contractor's) responsibility. Builder’s Concrete’s role in successful concrete projects is to produce, deliver, and discharge the specified concrete mix for your project, in a safe and timely manner. Builder’s Concrete drivers are licensed (CDL), skilled delivery professionals, and the company's ongoing investments in driver training, coupled with a commitment to exclusively employ front discharge vehicles, do help homeowners (or their concrete contractors) save placement time. Front discharge vehicles allow Builder’s Concrete drivers to control their concrete chutes from inside the truck cab and provide improved driver visibility of the job site, project forms, workers, and mix placement needs. This extra visibility, and the placement expertise of our drivers, eliminates the need for extra placement personnel to manage concrete chutes or to direct the ready-mix driver professional.
Builder’s Concrete works with reputable commercial and residential concrete contractors in Central Indiana daily and can help you find contractor candidates for your concrete project.
Yes. Many good resources are available for do-it-yourselfers. Two especially good printed resources are ACI International's Slabs on Grade and the Portland Cement Association's The Homeowner’s Guide to Building with Concrete, Brick and Stone.
Builder’s Concrete sells quality concrete placing and finishing tools. But for most homeowners, purchasing tools is not practical, unless you contemplate numerous concrete projects at your home or are planning on helping friends with their concrete projects.
Many rental yards and do-it-yourself centers in Central Indiana carry professional-grade placing and finishing tools and equipment. A good yard or center will know what tools your project will require. Homeowners may also need to rent tools and equipment for site excavation and subgrade preparation.
The empty weight of a Builder’s Concrete front-discharge concrete transit mixer with typical levels of fuel and water is around 36,000 pounds, and will double in weight with a full 9-yard concrete load. The height of our vehicles can be up to 13.6 feet; the width of our vehicles is 8.6-feet, mirror to mirror. The consequences of moving equipment of this size onto your property to facilitate unloading times must be carefully considered.
Only if the driver determines the situation is safe, with the additional requirement of a signed waiver of release by the homeowner for all movement past the curb line. Your Builder’s Concrete driver will take the following factors into consideration:
• can the slope leading to your project be safely navigated?
• can the ground to and surrounding the project support the weight of the loaded truck?
• can the truck maneuver safely under power lines, tree limbs, roof eaves, and other overhead obstructions
• can the truck maneuver safely through the opening available to reach the project?
The chute systems on Builder’s Concrete vehicles typically reach up to 18 feet.
For most homeowner concrete projects, the truck chutes and/or use of a wheelbarrow or concrete buggy will be sufficient for unloading and placing the concrete. The need for a concrete conveyor or concrete pump will be dictated by your particular job site circumstances. There is a separate charge for these types of material-placement services. Builder’s Concrete works with the best concrete pumping/conveyor service contractors in Central Indiana and is happy to provide recommendations and contact information for you.
Concrete is a perishable product, and most specifications require it be discharged on the job site within 90 minutes or 300 revolutions of the truck barrel, after the addition of water to the concrete mix at the batch plant. Allowable unloading time at the job site is 7 minutes per yard. Thus, an 8-cubic yard load of concrete would be expected to be unloaded in 56 minutes or less. Charges in excess of allowable times are $100 per hour.
There is no typical or specific time frame for working with in-place concrete, due to the many variables involved, such as mix design, ambient temperature, wind velocity, and placement location (indoors/outside), to name a few. For these, and reasons stated above, the use of a qualified concrete contractor is highly recommended, unless you and members of your placing and finishing team have prior experience in placing and finishing concrete.
Brooming of the concrete surface provides a safe, attractive, non-slip surface for exterior concrete flatwork. Broom finishes are created by pulling a special dampened, stiff-bristle concrete texturing broom across freshly floated concrete, and can be applied in many ways, including straight, curved, and wavy lines. Most broom finishes for concrete sidewalks and driveways are straight-line textures broomed at right angles to the anticipated traffic direction. Broom finishes are not incorporated into most decorative concrete finishes.
Curing is the procedure for maintaining an acceptable moisture content and temperature profile in the concrete to ensure desired properties of the concrete are achieved. Testing demonstrates improper or lack of curing can cut the strength of a proper concrete mix by as much as 50%. The potential for concrete shrinkage, cracking, and dusting increases significantly when concrete is not cured correctly.
For Central Indiana, the American Concrete Institute and the American Concrete Pavement Association recommend a minimum of seven days following concrete placement before using a concrete driveway. Other concrete industry educational and technical societies recommend anywhere from three-to-seven days after placement, depending on anticipated driveway loading factors and the concrete mix design used. Consult with your concrete contractor regarding when you can place your new driveway in service.
While a curing compound acts to prevent moisture from leaving the concrete during initial stages of strength development, a concrete sealer is designed to prevent moisture from entering the concrete matrix, to assist in limiting surface deterioration due to cycles of freezing and thawing. New concrete should air dry for 30 days prior to the application of a concrete sealer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application rates and intervals. Many sealer applications are effective for a two-year period.
The use of deicing chemicals during the first year of service is not recommended, especially if concrete is installed late in the year. Sand is an acceptable alternative anytime. Deicing chemicals used for snow and ice removal can cause and aggravate surface scaling. Therefore, judicious use of these products with regard to amount and frequency of application is strongly advised. Remember deicers can also reach concrete surfaces other than by direct application — for example, drippings from the under-carriage of vehicles. During and after the concrete's second winter, deicing chemicals containing sodium chloride (common salt) or calcium chloride may be used judiciously. NEVER use deicers containing ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate, as they will chemically attack and rapidly disintegrate concrete. ALSO NOTE: common garden fertilizers often contain ammonium sulfate and/or ammonium nitrate, and can cause disintegration of your concrete. Avoid loading or cleaning your fertilizer spreader on your concrete slab and follow best-spreading practices by applying fertilizer around the periphery of your lawn first, without crossing pavement, then run the spreader back and forth within the area bounded by your perimeter fertilizer run. This practice both ensures consistent fertilizer application around the edge of your lawn and, because the spreader never crosses pavement, minimizes the potential for fertilizer damage to your concrete.
Frequent cleaning keeps your new concrete looking good and does wonders to improve the curb appeal of your home. By keeping your concrete clean by frequent sweeping and occasional hosing, you can also significantly reduce fall risks to family and guests. Wet leaves left on a driveway will have a tendency to stain, so be prepared to clean your driveway often in fall. Leaf stains can be cleaned away with a pressure washer (light pressure) or with hot water mixed with tri-sodium phosphate (one pound per gallon is recommended).
Area banks, savings and loans, and credit unions have many financing options for home improvements. Their loan officers will be happy to help you compare interest rates, payment options, and tax advantages and will work with you to figure out the best option for your financial situation. The most likely financing options will include cash-out refinancing, home-equity credit lines, second mortgages, and home improvement loans.
Mechanic's liens exist to provide collection rights to contractors and material suppliers who supply construction services or materials for improvements to real property. Waiver-of-lien forms provide protection for homeowners who pay their home improvement bills. With a mechanic's lien, the concrete supplier or concrete contractor has the right to serve the homeowner with notice of lien and to record it as part of the county land-title records, should payment not be made for materials or services provided. A lien is a claim of partial ownership of your home. If the mechanic's lien is not paid, the material supplier or contractor can commence court proceedings to foreclose the lien and sell the property in payment of the obligation. A waiver-of-lien form provides a homeowner proof that subcontractors and material suppliers have been paid and relinquish their right to serve the homeowner with a notice to place a lien the home. The case history that follows explains why lien waivers are important to homeowners:
You are best served by hiring a concrete contractor who has proper insurance coverage, including liability insurance covering property damage and worker and public injuries, vehicle insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. Consumers' Report cautions homeowners to get written proof of these policies. Once you start thinking in earnest about your concrete project, contact your insurance agent regarding necessary safeguards.
Builder’s Concrete stands behind its quality products and warrants its concrete shall be free from manufacturing defect at time of delivery.