The Dangers of Using Poor Quality Concrete
Concrete has been used in construction for centuries, which just goes to show how strong and durable it is. However, not all concrete is created equal, and you’ll want to make sure you’re not getting swindled when it comes to something as important as construction materials. Here at Total Concrete, we’re always talking about our ‘top quality’ concrete, but what does that really mean? In this article, we’re looking at what it is that sets quality concrete apart from the rest, so that you know what to look out for.
What causes concrete to be of poor quality?
Using incorrect quantities of cement, or not creating a mix that has been batched correctly for its application, often results in sub-par concrete. Unfortunately, some suppliers will try and cut their production costs in order to make a bigger profit, so they use cheap materials and poor workmanship when producing their concrete. For example, China’s tallest building – the Ping’An Finance Centre – caused a lot of controversy in 2013 when it was deemed unsafe to work on due to poor concrete that had been mixed with beach sand.
Poor quality concrete can also be caused by the use of recycled materials. Although some companies may use it as a way of boosting their green credentials, using a high percentage of recycled materials in a concrete mix can compromise the quality of concrete, potentially leading to problems with its strength and finish. Failure rates are increasing for concrete that contains a lot of recycled materials, which is the main reason that you won’t find them in Total Concrete products.
What impact does this have?
All sorts of problems can occur when concrete is not up to scratch. Improper mixing methods often result in concrete that has little strength and so isn’t fit for purpose, meaning that it is likely to fail.
Concrete inspections should be carried out by professionals, but there are just some of the warning signs you may spot if a shoddy job has been done:
- Honeycombing – a pattern that occurs when too much concrete has been placed in one area at a time, or it has not been compacted properly
- Cold joints – created when new concrete is poured next to concrete that is already partially hardened, causing a weak bond between the two
- Cracks – these can appear in several forms and be related to a variety of different causes
How can you avoid poor quality concrete?
As a customer, making sure you take the time to seek out a reputable contractor who follows appropriate methods will help you ensure that you receive a quality finished product that’s worth the money. Here are our top tips:
- Do your research – understanding the construction process and knowing what you are looking for means that you’ll be able to spot anything untoward
- Search for a BSI-accredited supplier – this certification is a mark of quality for all aspects of a supplier’s business, from the plant, equipment and production processes to the overall management system and personnel
- Look for reviews on Google – when it comes to finding out if a company is trustworthy, reviews from real customers are the most reliable source of information
Total Concrete is a leading concrete supplier based in Woking. Founded in 1999, we’re a family-run business with years of experience in the industry, catering for small DIY jobs as well as major commercial projects. We operate throughout Surrey, SW London, Hampshire and Berkshire – for quality concrete, look no further. Simply get in touch to find out more.