Make Sure Your Concrete Contractor Follows These Crucial Steps

Whether it’s fixing up your driveway or laying the foundations for your home, concreting work is complex and is always best left to the professionals. With that being said, not everyone who markets themselves as a professional concreter is necessarily up to the task. A proper concreting job completed by trained specialists won’t come cheap, so you’ll want to know that you are getting some bang for your buck when parting with your hard-earned cash.

The sad reality is that the world as a whole is going through an immensely difficult economic downturn as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With so many people out of work, many unscrupulous characters are looking to make some cash by taking advantage of the average person’s lack of expertise when it comes to complex contracting work, including concreting.

However, help is at hand. In this post, we’ll use our industry knowledge to provide you with some essential pieces of advice so you can be sure your concreter is doing a good job and getting you top-quality results. So if you’re getting concrete laid, make sure your contractor follows these crucial steps.

Laying Out Proper Reinforcements

First things first, any good contractor will spend a fair amount of time preparing the area before laying the concrete. Part of the preparation process involves installing reinforcements. These should be made of steel and can be rebar, welded wire reinforcement fabric or trench mesh. Don’t be afraid to question your contractor about the types of reinforcements they’re using. If you have doubts about the reinforcements being used or the contractor doesn’t lay any out at all, this should be seen as the first sign of trouble.

Ensuring the Reinforcements Are Raised Off the Ground

Once you’ve established that proper reinforcements are being used, you’ll need to ensure that they are being installed in the correct way. If they are being placed flat on the ground, alarm bells should start ringing for you. A professionally trained concreter will know that the reinforcements need to be supported by bar chairs made of wire, concrete or plastic.

Spacing the Reinforcements Correctly

Another element of using reinforcements that is worth keeping an eye on is the spacing. The bar chairs need to be spaced no more than 800mm apart — this is roughly a stride or step apart. If the space between the reinforcements is too large, this may make the concrete unstable, which is going to cause problems down the line, like cracks.

Ensuring the Concrete Mixture Is of the Right Consistency

Once the prep work is done, it’ll be time to get that concrete poured. You should take a look at the concrete mixture and note its consistency. It should be fairly smooth. Any large lumps or chunks should signal something that isn’t quite right. Furthermore, well-mixed concrete won’t contain any bits that are bigger than 20mm, which is about the size of a fingernail. Any large chunks in the concrete are likely to prevent it from setting correctly.

Carrying Out a Slump Test

Any legitimate concreter will carry out a slump test. This is when a rod is inserted into wet concrete and pulled out. Generally speaking, some concrete should be left on the rod, similarly to putting a skewer into a baked cake and there being a few crumbs. As part of the slump test, the contractor should watch as the concrete resettles too for any other issues.

If you notice a lot of the concrete comes away with the rod, it is an indication that there is a problem with the mixture. This usually means that there is too much water in the concrete, and it needs to be mixed again.

Ensuring the Concrete Is Laid Within 90 Minutes

Another thing to keep an eye on is time. From the moment your concreter adds water to the mix, they should have absolutely all the concrete out of the mixer within 90 minutes. Dawdling and taking too long to get the concrete laid is likely to mean it won’t set correctly. With that being said, there are special chemicals that some concrete contractors use to delay the process in certain circumstances — talk to them and ask if this is the case.

Finishing Up the Job Correctly

Remember, simply laying the concrete doesn’t mean the contractor’s job is done. There are still some finishing touches that need to be completed.

Firstly, the concrete will need to be compacted via the use of vibrations. This makes the concrete stronger by getting rid of air pockets and ensures there is sufficient concrete around the reinforcements. It will also help make the concrete more resistant to termites.

Although using vibrations is a necessary part of the process, you should be aware that over-vibration can be problematic, so be sure to talk to your concreter about the process.

Furthermore, good concreters will make sure the edges of the slabs are cured for protection against dampness. Make sure your contractor doesn’t overlook this part of the job. In regards to curing, there are some contractors who may use chemicals, so be sure to discuss this with them to ensure it is compatible with any of the surface finishes you are after.

Get Top-Quality Concreting Services Today

In short, concreting is complex, and the job involves several key steps. So be sure your contractor follows all of those steps listed above in order to get the best results. Don’t be afraid to raise issues or ask questions so you can rest assured the job is done to the highest standards.

If you’re looking for expert concreting services, then you need to talk to JMC Concrete. All our work is completed to the high standards that are outlined in the National Construction Code, so you can be sure your concrete will last for years to come. Get in touch with us today to discuss your concrete project.

Our Client Testimonials

Below is a collection of client testimonials received throughout the years from our valued clients.

Jayden was friendly, professional and did high quality work. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Jayden again or recommend him.

Chris Doncaster, VIC

Top quality job. Everything done as promised with excellent results. Very professional and friendly, good to deal with.

Shaun Vermont, Vic

Jayden installed concrete slabs and outdoor tiles on top of it. He has done an excellent job. We haven’t met a tradesperson as honest as him who keeps customer satisfaction as top priority. We highly recommend him.

Darshil Box Hill North, Vic

Jayden completed our exposed aggregate driveway and plain concrete to our backyard at out house in Kew. He was very easy to deal with, great communication and competitively priced. I would recommend him as a concreter to anyone.

Natasha Kew, Vic

Jayden did a first class job. His attention to details - especially control of water flow - was very professional. He communicated throughout the job such that I was always fully informed of what and when works were taking place.

Robin Chirnside Park, Vic
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