What Does a Concrete Contractor Do?

Concrete Contractors Dallas TX form, pour, place, and finish specified mass, pavement, flat, and other concrete work. Industry operators may also erect reinforcement and steel when necessary.

Concrete Contractor

Hiring a professional concrete contractor will ensure that your project is completed correctly and on time. It will save you from having to deal with any issues later on.

Site preparation is a crucial step in construction that sets the stage for everything else. This includes demolition, excavation, grading, soil testing, site marking, and other activities. When not done properly, it can lead to serious problems later on in the project.

When preparing a building site, it’s important to consider things like location, topography, access points, and more. Having the proper layout can save you time and money in the long run by eliminating unnecessary work. It also ensures that you have enough space for your structure and reduces the risk of damage during construction.

Another part of site preparation is ensuring that the area has no underground obstructions that could cause major issues with construction. This can include sewer and electrical lines. This is why it’s essential to call the 811 line before beginning any construction work. This service will help you find out if there are any existing underground utilities in the area and will provide you with the necessary information to avoid damaging them.

It’s also important to prepare the site for drainage and septic systems. This will help you avoid flooding, which can be a huge problem for any construction project. It’s also a good idea to get a soil test to determine the composition of the ground. This will help you choose the right amount of concrete base that you need for your building.

Finally, site preparation should also include constructing access roads and paths for construction vehicles. This will make it easier for workers to move around the construction area, which can help speed up the project and prevent delays. It will also help to minimize environmental damage by keeping debris, water, and other materials on the construction site instead of affecting nearby properties.

Formwork

Formwork is a temporary mold into which concrete is poured, casting a desired shape in construction. Once the concrete has achieved optimum initial strength, the formwork is practically removed, although sometimes it may be left in situ (permanent formwork). Formwork should comply with the orientation and lines indicated on the construction drawings. It should be properly propped and braced to prevent deformation during concreting.

It should be light in weight and constructed of a material that can be easily cleaned. It should also be capable of surviving the live load of pouring, vibration, compaction, and curing and resisting shrinkage and swelling. The joints should be tightly fitted and leakproof against loss of water from concrete, and they should ideally rest on non-moveable supports. The form should be easy to dismantle, allowing it to be positioned for reuse elsewhere on the project.

The type of formwork used depends on the type of project and the contractor’s preference. Timber formwork is a traditional option, but steel and aluminum are becoming increasingly popular for high-rise buildings. The interior surface of the formwork should be treated with a release agent—typically wax, plastic, or oil—to keep concrete from sticking. This will save a great deal of time and effort down the line when it comes to stripping the forms.

There are many different types of formwork, from standard plywood and framing materials to gang-formed panels that can be attached together to produce larger, more efficient sections. Another innovative system is fabric formwork, which utilizes sheets of flexible and high-strength fabrics that can adjust to the fluidity of concrete to create interesting architectural shapes. These systems are assembled on site and are a good choice for projects that require complex shapes or where it would be impractical to use prefabricated concrete forms.

Mixing Concrete

Concrete is a composite material composed of aggregates (sand, pebbles, gravel, crushed stone, or blast furnace slag) bonded together with fluid cement that cures to form a solid, durable material. It is the most widely used construction material in the world. Its versatility and durability make it the building material of choice for roads, sidewalks, houses, skyscrapers, bridges, dams, pipes, and even missile silos and nuclear waste containment. It can also be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes.

The mixture of cement and various aggregates is poured into a concrete mold to become the structural component of a finished structure. It is then allowed to set for a specified time based on the type of concrete and the strength required.

Once the concrete is poured, steel rebar is often embedded to add tensile strength. Chemical admixtures are also sometimes added to alter the physical properties of the concrete, such as water reducers and air entrainers. These additives can increase the strength of concrete, decrease its permeability, and slow or accelerate the setting time.

When working with a ready-mix supplier, it is important to be clear about the performance requirements for the concrete, both in its plastic and hardened states. This will allow the supplier to provide a suitable concrete mix and advise on appropriate admixtures.  For example, if the concrete is to be poured with decorative finishes, such as stamping, the supplier may recommend the use of air entrainers to reduce the set time and increase workability. The unit weight test should be conducted to ensure that the correct amount of concrete is delivered; ordering too much will be costly and require a safe method for disposing of the surplus.

Pouring Concrete

Concrete contractors can pour concrete for sidewalks, driveways, swimming pools, building foundations, retaining walls, and more. The work often involves using concrete mixers, formwork, scaffolding, and hand tools.

Prior to the actual pour, contractors make sure that the site is safe and ready for a concrete foundation. They clear the area of all grass, rocks, debris, trees, garbage, and other items that could interfere with a successful concrete foundation. The area is then graded and compacted. Depending on the size of the project, the earth may be backfilled by hand or with machines that speed up the process. Once the ground is prepared, contractors call the local “call before you dig” line and have all underground pipes marked.

After the concrete is poured, it must cure for a certain amount of time, usually 7 days. During this time, it gains strength, which is accomplished by the hydration reaction. Concrete requires water to hydrate, which is why it needs to remain damp for a period of time. To prevent the concrete from drying too quickly, workers use methods like water spraying, wetting down, and soaking.

While there was a time when concrete contractors had to prepare their own concrete, they can now rely on ready-mix plants in most areas. This makes their job much easier and allows them to focus on other aspects of the job. Some companies specialize in specific types of projects. For example, Lithko Contracting works on projects in the commercial, residential, multifamily, and industrial sectors. Others are more general concrete contractors. Whether it’s mixing, pouring, or curing concrete, the goal is to provide high-quality concrete that meets structural standards and customer expectations.

Finishing Concrete

After completing the necessary site prep work, concrete contractors will pour and finish your slab. They will make sure the concrete is pushed into the frames and spread evenly. They may also use a bull float, power float, or hand trowel to create the desired surface finish. They will also remove the forms when finished and snap off the form ties, if used. If the project requires decorative elements, such as dye or design, they will apply these after the concrete dries.

Once the concrete is poured, it is compacted and consolidated to ensure there are no air pockets. Concrete contractors often have to finish concrete in harsh weather conditions, so they will need to keep their supervisors and other construction crews updated on progress. They may do this by text or email, but it is more efficient to use a project management software solution.

If the concrete is for a structural application, it will be reinforced with metal rods known as rebar. The rebar is placed in the forms prior to pouring and is embedded into the concrete once it is poured.

It can take 28 days for concrete to fully cure and become strong enough for heavy usage. However, the cured concrete can be used for light foot traffic 3 to 4 days after placement. In the meantime, a waterproof sealer can be applied to protect the concrete and extend its lifespan. It is important to choose a reliable concrete contractor with extensive experience in commercial, industrial, and residential projects. They will be able to provide the highest quality of work and uphold industry standards. In addition, they will be able to meet strict timelines.