When most people think about concrete in Utah, they immediately think about sidewalks and patios, but few know the material can also be used to make breathtaking and aesthetically appealing indoor floors, foyers, and even countertops. Concrete certainly holds decorative value, and that is why concrete pouring has evolved into something of an art form. Projects involving poured concrete typically only turn out beautiful for one reason — professionals who are aware that pouring concrete is a challenging task involving an immense amount of knowledge in regards to the measurement and installation process.
Before property owners can start their concrete project, they must find a trustworthy and skilled contractor for the job. This part of the process usually starts with property owners calling various Utah concrete pouring companies and choosing one based on their budget restrictions, as well as the experience level, scheduling availability and reputation of the company. Once homeowners select a concrete pouring company they feel comfortable with, they should proceed to discuss their project more extensively.
After the initial project is discussed and the contractor gains a deeper understanding of the what the property owners desire, this professional will usually proceed to discuss the logistics and other aspects of the property with the owners. This information should be presented in a clear and understandable document that outlines the most important steps of the concrete pouring process. A reputable concrete company will always present property owners with a contract that contains the following information:
Property owners should read the contract carefully and ask any relevant questions about the installation process. Once the contract is signed by the property owner, the concrete pouring company can officially begin the installation process.
Before the pouring process can begin, the site must be properly prepared. Simply put, this means the area where the project will take place must be cleared of any debris and cleaned. The concrete pouring company will use specialized equipment to clear the area of any rocks, shrubs, or trees in the area so the concrete can be poured on a clean, level earthen surface. Using a granular fill of at least four inches, the contracting company will create a sub-base to use (unless the earth is stable enough). This sub-base will be spread over the entire project area, with most of the attention going to the edges. A stable and properly placed sub-base prevents soil and frost from causing the concrete to heave. It also allows the concrete to cure effectively.
The concrete pouring forms can be set after the sub-base is prepared. These forms are manufactured from metal, plastic, or wood, and their sizes range from 4 inches in height to several feet tall. Forms used for residential projects are usually made of wood but held in place by metal or wood stakes and specialized nails and screws. Before installing forms, the concrete pouring company should take the grade of the land and project into consideration for drainage purposes. After the concrete is properly cured, the concrete pouring company will remove the forms.
Once the sub-base is fully compacted, the actual concrete pouring can start. Most contractors take the local climate into consideration when selecting a concrete mix. The concrete will be poured from a truck with a spinning drum (the spinning keeps the concrete from hardening). If there is no way to bring the truck near the project site, the contractor may have workers use a concrete pump or wheelbarrow to transfer the concrete to the project site. The wet concrete will be poured into the forms, and once this is done, the workers will rake the top of the concrete to prevent the formation of air pockets and voids.
The next step in the concrete pouring process involves using a metal or wood board to screed the top of the wet concrete. This helps the wet concrete consolidate properly, and the end result is a project with a smooth and level top. After the top of the concrete is perfectly level, a trowel is used to further smooth the surface and perfect the edges. After the screeding process is complete, the concrete will be free of any depressions or bulges. The contractor will then complete this process once more to ensure the surface has the correct type of finish.
Once the final finish is applied and the concrete pouring process is done, the concrete must cure (rest and harden). The curing process usually lasts roughly 28 days, with the first two days being the most important. Once the concrete in finished, the contractor’s workers will apply a chemical compound that helps with the curing and sealing process. The compound also prevents cracking and discoloration.
During cold weather, the contractor may need to cover the project with a curing blanket to prevent freezing and cracking. Concrete should never be poured at extremely low temperatures (the colder it is, the longer it will take the concrete to cure). Even though the curing process lasts roughly 28 days, people are usually able to walk and drive on their concrete five to seven days later.
The concrete pouring process can take a long time (by today’s standards anyway), but once a project is done, it will more than likely last a lifetime with appropriate care. Due to its remarkably durable appearance, many property owners erroneously assume concrete does not require any maintenance. This is incorrect, and property owners should be sure to apply a high-quality sealer to their project once every one to five years (depending on the duration of the sealer). Property owners who reside in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations or extreme heat or cold may need to apply a sealer more frequently than those who reside in milder climates. Concrete can also be easily cleaned with a simple mixture of soap and water.
Concrete offers unique benefits of durability and versatility. The right Utah concrete pouring company can help property owners transform the interior or exterior of their homes or businesses.