There are thousands of types of concrete available to consumers for residential use. In addition to choosing a type of concrete, you’ll also be faced with decisions about concrete finishes such as stains and sealers. You may also be making decisions regarding which contractor(s) to hire and then making decisions with them as they work with you on the project.
With all the choices, remember that the greatest value concrete has to offer you is its durability and longevity. So picking a mix with an appropriate strength, the correct frame or mold into which it is poured, and the proper thickness of the pour is the most important.
The first decision is deciding what type of concrete works best for your project. Choose whether you need ready-mix concrete delivered or plan to mix your own from a dry mix.
Our trucks arrive directly at your site with wet concrete ready to be poured onto your base. For residential projects requiring smaller quantities of concrete, such as stairs, outdoor tables, benches, or countertops, opt for dry concrete mixed on site.
Foundations, Driveways, Patios, RV Slabs, Sidewalks
Ready-mix is routinely used for poured concrete of this type. For concrete driveways, slabs, and sidewalks, a pour of 4 inches in thickness is typical. (This thickness is in addition to a 2-3-inch base of gravel, sand, limestone, or another aggregate.)
A strength of 4,000 psi (pounds per square inch) after a one month cure is the industry minimum for concrete driveways, slabs, and sidewalks. However, 4,500 psi as the ideal.
According to guidelines published by AsktheBuilder.com, a home foundation requires a thicker pour of 8-10 inches and a psi of 3,500-4,000. This type of concrete project is usually poured into a wooden frame, trenches, or a combination of the two.
Garage Floors and Interior Floors
The 4-inch pour of a standard slab is recommended for both garage floors and interior floors.
For both interior floors and garage floors, the minimum strength recommendation is 2,500 psi, however, similarly to slab projects, an ideal standard is 4,500 psi, especially for garage floors which must sustain much more wear and tear and heavy machinery. To achieve 4,500 psi, ConcreteConstruction.net recommends a 5-inch slump concrete with a water-cement ratio of .5 or less.
The framing of this type of concrete project is simple as the frame of the room already exists. You’ll merely need to remove trim pieces, pour and seal the concrete, then replace the trim.
Indoor and Outdoor Countertops
ConcreteCountertops.org recommends a thickness of 1.5-2 inches. If you desire a thicker appearance for aesthetic purposes, the site recommends adding a drop nose feature to the exterior edge of the countertop to ensure a manageable weight for the countertop.
The Concrete Countertop Institute offers some excellent guidelines on types of concrete to select to avoid issues in the function and form of a concrete countertop.
They recommend selecting a mix that has a high early strength for faster processing, high flexural strength for crack resistance, and low shrinkage potential to minimize curling.
Even with these specifications, there are still several types of concrete mixes to choose from, including stiff and hand packed all-sand mixes, aggregate mixes for vibration, or cast in-place setting and polymer-based flowable mixes.
Concrete countertops are cast in a mold and additives like mesh, fiberglass, and steel are often used to aid in ensuring the longevity and durability of the concrete.
Indoor and Outdoor Stairs
Typically, stairs are at least 9 inches wide with a rise of 6-10 inches between steps. The run of the stairs is the number of inches allowed for the length of a person’s foot, usually around 8 inches.
A tricky element to add when pouring concrete stairs is the nose of the stair. Usually about 1 inch, the nose protrudes from the edge of the stair, forming a lip, and is an optional addition.
To form stairs from concrete, a dry mix is prepared, then poured into a wooden frame. For outdoor stairs, or for a staircase exceeding five stairs, it may be best to have ready-mix concrete delivered to the location and professionally poured into the forms.