Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, and it is one of the most durable. Today’s concrete has high performance expectations that are dependent on your viewpoint as an owner, designer, contractor or concrete producer. Concrete can be engineered, or designed, to provide exact performance and meet your expectations. This is typically completed during the design phase of the project. What is important to you as the owner are likely the aesthetics and longevity. So, will your clients or customers be welcomed to your facility by the beauty of concrete, and will it last forever?
The Beauty of Concrete
Concrete can be integrally colored, stained, textured, and polished – if you have a design or look in mind, this can be done with concrete. Many structures are moving toward a trend of interior concrete floors, designed to look like other materials and prevent the headaches associated with flooring finishing issues.
What to Expect from Your Concrete
Concrete will crack. This is as guaranteed as paying taxes. Designers know this and expect it to happen, although we design to minimize the chance of random cracks. Have you ever noticed the joints in concrete? That is the designers telling the concrete to crack at a specific location to look aesthetically pleasing. A random crack may look unsightly, but the concrete will still perform for years to come.
Exterior concrete can be produced to provide a durable surface. Concrete unsuited for exterior applications can scale when exposed, especially during our Minnesota winters. Cosmetic scaling occurs when the near surface “flakes” off, but the underlying concrete is still suitable. The concrete will continue to provide a hard surface to walk on, although the issue may be astatic. If the concrete is a loading dock that few rarely see, it may not need repair.
We can design and place concrete that is near perfect, but is that really needed? We do need a consistent balance between the economics and the required outcome. An interior floor that clients or customers walk on when visiting your facility should have different expectations than the parking lot, sidewalk, or loading dock.
The Concrete Consulting group at Braun Intertec has the experience to design concrete mixtures to meet project needs and assist in limiting potential issues. We also routinely work with the Structures Evaluation and Building Sciences groups to determine the cause and extent of concrete deterioration. We have worked with many owners, contractors, and ready mix producers to evaluate distress in structures and help projects succeed. Contact Justin Lashley at 651.747.6748 for more information.