One of the most important aspects to understand about concrete is that concrete is created by mixing a bunch of different products together. Usually it’s a combination of water, cement and sand. As such, not every mix is created equally. That means that if something is wrong with your mix at the beginning, it could ruin the entire concrete project.
One of the most common mix mistakes made by the average concrete worker is adding too much water to concrete. Let’s take a closer look at why that is, and what happens when a concrete mix is too wet.
When a concrete mixture is too wet, it causes a greater amount of shrinkage during the drying process than is needed. As a result, the concrete has a great likelihood of cracking and for those cracks are likely to be a fairly good size.
While cracks can be unsightly, the real villain of a watered down mix is the effect it has on the final strength of your concrete structure. A watery mix actively reduces the compressive strength of the dried concrete. Usually, every additional inch of slump in the concrete reduces the compressive strength of the final product by roughly 500 psi. That strength degradation can add up quickly, and can be absolutely devastating depending on what it is you are trying to build.
It’s also worth pointing out that concrete with a higher amount of water in it makes for a more porous final product. As a result, the way that concrete reflects light and holds something like a stain is drastically changed as a well. Depending on what your concrete project is, this can either be a minor inconvenience or a major issue.
If you are working on a concrete project that requires more than one mix or load, it’s important to make sure that each batch of concrete is mixed the same way. If one batch is more watered down than the rest, it will be very clear on the finished product.
It can be frustrating to have to throw out an entire batch of concrete, or even worse, to have to send a fully-loaded mixer truck back, but the truth is that the mix is the most important part of a concrete product. If your mix is watered down, you may find yourself having to redo the concrete project in the near future.
If all of this is a bit overwhelming, don’t panic! There are plenty of resources out there online, and many professional concrete contractors who can help you. Razorback Concrete is always willing to answer any questions you might have. Visit www.razorbackconcrete.com to learn more.