A Guide to Rapid-set Concrete
For some building applications, it might be necessary to use a concrete mix which hardens more quickly than standard ready mix concrete. This type of concrete is called rapid-set concrete, and in this article, we’re looking at the uses, benefits and characteristics of this concrete type.
What is rapid-set concrete?
As the name suggests, rapid-set concrete is a concrete mix which hardens faster than standard mixes.
- Whereas traditional concrete will harden within 48 hours, rapid-set concrete will harden within an hour.
This significant difference makes it highly beneficial for certain jobs, but unsuitable for others.
How is rapid-set concrete made?
There are three base ingredients in any concrete mix: water, cement and aggregates. You can change the characteristics of a mix by changing the proportions of each ingredient. Rapid-set concrete has a higher cement content than standard mixes, and will also contain specific admixtures to speed up the hydration process.
Rapid-set concrete comes ready mixed, so if your project will benefit from a faster setting time, then you can order it quickly and without any hassle.
When should I use rapid-set concrete?
Rapid-set concrete is a fantastic choice for many DIY jobs. Ideally, it is best to use this type of concrete for small-scale, non-load-bearing jobs.
Here are some examples of projects suitable for rapid-set concrete:
- Installing fence posts
- Minor repairs to concrete — e.g. steps, posts
- For small jobs in cold or rainy conditions
And here are some examples where rapid-set concrete is not suitable:
- Complicated projects — with multiple pour sites, for example
- Large-scale construction
- Load-bearing construction — e.g. supporting columns
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How much does rapid-set concrete cost?
Like other specialty concrete mixes, rapid-set concrete does come with a higher upfront cost. Cement is the most expensive ingredient in concrete, so having more of this in a mix will naturally raise the price. This also goes for any admixtures added into the mix.
However, if you’re working on a project with a tight deadline, or you want to focus on other things after pouring, this concrete will be worth it.
The advantages of rapid-set concrete are focused on immediacy. It’s a mix that suits smaller jobs which don’t require a lot of attention. However, there are some disadvantages to using this concrete type in projects that are more complex or hands on.
Because the concrete sets so quickly, it becomes harder to make any changes to the concrete after pouring. Finishing, for example, can be more difficult, as there’s less leeway for errors.
With a standard mix, you can take your time to ensure a smooth finish — avoiding air bubbles or uneven levelling — which helps to provide long-term durability for the finished construction. For this reason, it’s important not to use rapid-set concrete on load-bearing constructions.
However, for quick, simple jobs — like the ones we’ve listed above — rapid-set concrete will get the job done, without worry.
We deliver a range of specialty mixes, including rapid-set concrete, directly to sites across Surrey, Woking, Hampshire and beyond, offering delivery on a same-day or next-day basis. To find out more, contact us today.