Posts

How to Decide Which Concrete is Right for Your Home

Building or renovating your home is one of the most personal experiences. While many factors are involved, choosing the right concrete is often overlooked. If you are looking for concrete delivery in Brisbane, you might want to think again about choosing the right concrete.

Things to Check before Contacting Concrete Delivery Brisbane

Concrete might look like a single product, but it is a combination of many and depends on many properties. Depending on your needs, you need to check all of them:

Strength:

The primary criteria while choosing concrete should be the strength, or more precisely, compressive strength. It is measured as Pounds per Square Inch. 2500 PSI is generally suitable for driveways, floors etc. and used commonly in mini concrete Brisbane supplies. The more impact and extreme conditions it will the face, the higher the strength of the concrete should be.

Mixes:

The way concrete would be mixed also has its own importance. While going for concrete delivery Brisbane, it is important to know the type of mixes; whether it is pump mix, exposed aggregate mix, entrained air mix or flexible concrete.

Slump:

One of the most important concrete properties is a slump. It denotes the plasticity of the material and how easy it will be to use. Generally, a slump is increased by adding water.

Colour:

Though it might seem that grey is the only way concrete exists, it’s not quite true. By adding certain additives, you can get a variety of desired colours. This lowers the concrete prices Brisbane offers, compared to painting later on.

Finishing:

Once the concrete is dried and set, finishing is required to deem it ready for use. Floating and troweling are the most common finishing techniques, along with broom and salt finishing. Before concrete delivery Brisbane would ask for your expectations regarding the finished product.

Choosing the right concrete might look complex, but it is extremely necessary. Before you go for concrete delivery Brisbane, be sure to get all your queries answered.

Create and dress concrete entertainment areas with ease

Humans are programmed to spend time outdoors, in the sun, soaking up that vitamin D. But we don’t feel encouraged when our existing outdoor patio resembles a dumping ground instead of a haven. If it’s time to update, don’t forget these points.

Be practical
You might dream big but only have a little space. Is it more suited as a children’s play area or somewhere to sit and read quietly? You can do a lot, whatever the size.

Concrete is the best choice for an outdoor area big or small because it’s practical and doesn’t need as much upkeep as grass. But if you have little ones running around, it’s better to have a smooth finish. This at least saves them from having scrapes if they fall over. Outdoor pavers and tiles are easy to wash or water blast, as well.

Decorating can be cheap
You don’t need to spend a lot to make your patio or balcony pretty. Furniture can be bought second-hand on Facebook, Gumtree, and Ebay. You can find deals at KMart for both outdoor and kids furniture.

Facebook Marketplace is an underestimated source of quality goods. People will advertise garage sales, homewares they want to sell and other services. Most of your budget will go towards the concrete, trades, and labour for your entertaining area, so be open to finding the decorations from other, unexpected sources. As a bonus, they’re usually good quality.

Get some plants
Being near plants makes humans happy. It’s a scientific fact. They’re an amazing source of oxygen and green walls are a common feature in concreted areas that don’t have room for grass.

Check out your local nursery for some hardy natives or some succulents. You can even start up your own little herb garden. Get some baby plants, a planter box, soil and compost and you’re good to go.

 

Read more articles like this:

Get artsy with rebar and premix concrete

10 Sensible or Slightly Guilty Ways to Spend Your Concrete Budget Leftovers

10 Sensible or Slightly Guilty Ways to Spend Your Concrete Budget Leftovers

Okay, so the concrete refinishing/driveway/house renovation is complete and by some miracle, you have some money left over. What on earth are you going to do with it? Be sensible or adopt the You Only Live Once mindset? We have some suggestions…

 

  • Pay off the credit card

The credit card bill is a whammy but some extra cash can ease the sting. The sooner it’s paid, the less interest and anxiety you have when you whip it out.

 

  • Buy a plane ticket

A domestic one or a really cheap international fare. Thailand, here we come! You finally have a reason to hit the ‘book now’ button on those email alerts. Who knew getting a concrete delivery could leave some leftover cash?

New Zealand is technically overseas.

 

  • Redecorate

After renovating or at least putting down a new concrete patio, it’s only fair to dress it all up. You might not have lots of cash leftover but don’t underestimate resell sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. People put up moving out listings and sell near-new items regularly.

 

  • Invest

Yes, it’s boring. But that little boost might serve you well in a decade. Inject a little extra earnings into that investment account or your super. Every dollar counts!

 

  • Buy some groceries

Not just any groceries. The stuff that wouldn’t normally go into the trolley because it busts the budget. Just think, the nice ice cream or some lamb shanks for dinner. Sausages are great, but you deserve to live it up once in a while.

 

  • Take the family out

When was the last time you packed up the kids and the car and drove somewhere for the weekend? Having some leftover budget is a chance to treat them and make some Kodak moments. Drive to the beach, go to Australia Zoo. Stay on the coast overnight. What’s stopping you?

 

  • Donate

There are charities that rely on the goodwill of donors to provide services to those in need. With so many to choose from, it’s important to choose a charity that not only aligns with your values but is transparent about where the donations go.

Options include RSPCA, The Smith Family, Australian Wildlife and hundreds of others.

 

  • Go shopping

There’s no shame in treating yourself every once in a while. Some new clothes, tools, or those headphones from JB HiFi isn’t an unreasonable splurge.

 

  • Go shopping for other people

Yes, other people deserve some TLC. Birthdays, anniversaries, or some ‘just because’ gifts can give satisfaction to both people. So go on and spend a little extra on somebody for their birthday this year.

 

  • Pay off a little debt

You spent money on the concrete driveway and you deserve to treat yourself with the leftover money. This won’t be the first type of treat that comes to mind, however…

What about voluntarily paying off some of your HECS debt? You’ve put a lot of money into your education and spent this long making small payments. A couple of hundred dollars could ease the pressure and make all that other spending guilt-free (somewhat).

 

Need more info?

Get artsy with rebar and concrete

Planning a renovation? 5 ways to prevent budget blowout

Get artsy with rebar and premix concrete

Concrete isn’t exclusively for pavement and driveways. It’s a material that’s useful for many domestic and private uses…like art. Architects are artists with the stuff, as are sculptors. Look at Ai Weiwei. Though grim, he used rebar from the Sichuan earthquake to make both art and a statement about the lives lost. Our suggestions, though, have less to do with destruction and more with creating.

Homewares

Premix concrete and rebar have a number of uses for our inner homewares fanatic. If you have the right tools, there’s nothing that can stop you! You can also turn your hobby into a profit and sell your wares online, on sites like Gumtree or Etsy. What can you make? Well, what can’t you make, really. Premix concrete can be shaped into the likes of:

  • Fruit bowls
  • Plates, bowls
  • Candle holders
  • iPad stands
  • Vases (flowers, succulents)
  • Paperweights

You get the picture. Any of the above can also be made with rebar, but premix concrete is more reliable (less gaps).

Furniture

Premix concrete is hardy and versatile. Besides homewares, you can also make furniture out of it! Rebar is also good for this, but is better as a  frame because the sharp edges can cut someone.

Concrete furniture looks amazing when it matches the rest of your home. Think renovated warehouses, rooms with exposed walls and cement rendering etc. Everyday homeowners have gotten more design savvy thanks to home renovation reality television.

You might need to order a little extra premix concrete and rebar to make solid items. You can’t do much with only half a bag of product. Cement-appropriate items include:

  • A variety of tables (coffee, bedside, dining room)
  • Kitchen bench (alternative to marble)
  • Shelving units
  • Storage boxes

 

Garden accessories

The contactor most likely used premix cement and rebar to create your driveway, patio and other large slabs around the house. You can use the leftovers to make something pretty, no different to a sculptor. Some furniture and accessories, like the ones above, are appropriate to have on the patio.If you have the means, and an inner Michelangelo waiting to unleash itself, create a cement block and get carving!

Here’s something else interesting to read:

Reocrete History Lesson: Famous concrete structures around the world

Reocrete History Lesson: Famous concrete structures around the world

Concrete and rebar are essential building materials that modern construction can’t go without. We wouldn’t have these amazing monuments otherwise!

 

The Pantheon, Rome

The Romans created some prolific structures that attract tourists by the millions today, including the Pantheon. The temple was finished in the early first century AD by Emperor Hadrian and has the honour of having the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Roman concrete is made with lime, ash and rock aggregate. This simple mixture has amazed archaeologists for its durability.

Petronas Towers, Malaysia

The twin skyscrapers held the world record for the longest continuous concrete pour until 2007. The amount of time it took? 54 hours!

Petronas Towers is home to the offices of various conglomerates like Huawei, Bloomberg, Microsoft and Reuters. Besides the double decker walkway there’s a daily lightshow in the evening and a shopping precinct selling luxury brands. It’s also a popular setting for television shows and movies in the spy genre.

 

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer was completed in 1931 and is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone. It’s also listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. After construction was completed it quickly became a symbol of Christianity around the world and a major tourist destination in Brazil. Fun fact; the original design was quite different. Initial designs included Jesus carrying a cross over one shoulder while holding the globe in his free hand.

Burj Khalifa, UAE

163 floors, over 50 elevators and 36 window cleaners. That’s just some of the impressive numbers you can associate with the Burj Khalifa. It topped Taipei 101 in height after opening in 2008, scaling 829 meters. The building is so high that it has its own rules regarding Ramadan. People living on the higher floors must wait a few minutes longer for their fast to end thanks to their view of the sunset.

 

On the Corner, Japan

This apartment block takes ‘living on the edge’ to a whole new level. In a country where space is hard fought, EASTERNDesign Office got creative with what they had. Seven apartments fit into this tiny block, each with one bedroom and the balcony at the pointy end of the structure.

 

Here’s more interesting things to read

Planning a renovation? 5 ways to prevent budget blowout

We’re experienced in construction and have poured a few slabs around new home builds. The apprehension and excitement that comes with renovation can overshadow money matters until it’s too late. You’ll have a lovely home, but can end up with some excess debt you don’t need.

 

 

Organise your quotes

The builder, the concrete delivery and trades, the painter…everyone working on the home. You’ll have an initial budget planned already. Having those quotes laid out in front of you will help you allocate what needs to be spent where.

 

 

Reduce, reuse

Recycle! New isn’t always better. It certainly doesn’t equal a better bank balance. When you renovate you can save more money by going to a charity shop or some other reseller.

Remember this old saving trick?

 

Only the essentials

Essential expenses like concrete slabs and plumbing are what you need to ‘splurge’ on. Plumbing, carpentry, concrete delivery and laying, electrical wiring; these come first. Decoration is fun but it needs to take a backseat sometimes. Having proper drainage and running water is more important than a few designer throw cushions.

 

 

I’ll pay you in…

Family loves you, so they’ll naturally help out, right? Well…

Organising a ‘working bee’ or a ‘please help us move back in’ event post-renovation will help you get the little jobs out of the way. Even some of the bigger ones, like painting and general maintenance jobs, can be done for ‘mates rates’. Mates rates can include a barbecue with the works: burgers, sausage sizzles, and good times with friends.

It’s important, though, to give people advance notice that you need help. Tough, sweaty work isn’t everyone’s idea of weekend fun and they mightn’t help out if you just spring it on them. Put up a Facebook event and promise a barbecue at the end to thank everyone for their effort.

 

 

Have extra ‘just in case’

Unforeseen circumstances happen; extra expenses due to complications. There’s a problem with the wiring, plumbing, etc.

These mightn’t happen to you, but the general amount to set aside ‘just in case’ is 20 – 30% of your total budget.

Setting your plans in concrete

Planning a renovation or building project requires awareness, patience, and materials like concrete and rebar. You’ve met the interior designer to pick out paint colours and beento the furniture shop for a new couch. Getting the practical details right, though, is important.

 

(Tensile) strength

Concrete and rebar –  one won’t exist without the other in any commercial project. Rebar is laid and the wet mixture is poured over it. Because the bars have grooves, the concrete has  a strong ‘grip’ which prevents cracks.

Concrete is hardy and long-lasting, but only if the right type is used for the job. The slabs must withstand nature, traffic from people and machines, and anything else that will make it crack. Cracks in walls, ceilings, or support slabs spell disaster.

 

Have here or take away?

Cement mixes are readily available in hardware stores, and popular with DIYers. Professional concreters, though, will have ReadyMix cement trucks available. The barrel on the truck constantly turns, keeping the mixture at a good consistency and making sure the heavier stones don’t settle at the bottom.

Benefits of ReadyMix concrete include not having to make the mixture yourself. Amateur renovators might find this overwhelming and while it’s fun to watch the struggle on renovation shows, you might not laugh when it’s your turn. Another perk is knowing that  you’ve bought the right amount of cement. If you fall short, it’ll cost money that you delegated elsewhere on your budget.

 

DIY or a little extra help?

Unless you’re a builder or tradie who deals with concrete every day, it’s probably best to let the professionals handle the job. Experienced DIYers can order the premixed cement and do the work themselves to save money. The project, though, will go a lot faster with some experienced helping hands.

Professional concreters will come over in the early stages of the project for measurements. This way, you’re getting the right amount of concrete the first time. You don’t need to worry about running off to the hardware store for more supplies mid-project.

Flexibility with concrete

The words ‘concrete’ and ‘flexible’ aren’t two you’d imagine go together. But concrete has a lot of versatility, making it a popular choice in construction, design and even art.

 

Shape-shifting

Wood is all angles and sharp corners. Trades need to use loud machine tools to get the wood the way they want it to look. Concrete does require effort during the mixing process, but once it’s poured it’s easy to shape, mould. or scoop.

 

Damage-proof (mostly)

Unless Superman or The Hulk is around wanting to show off their strength, concrete will withstand plenty of punishment.

That’s not to say, though, that all concrete is equal. Different blends will withstand different amounts of pressure and the contractor/builder will give their recommendation on what to use. 3500 psi blends withstand everyday foot traffic and are commonly used in houses and commercial building floors. Vehicular traffic is another matter. Concreters will only use 5000 psi mixes or above in warehouses, public buildings where machines drive across the floor,  and even airport hangars.

The concrete isn’t strong enough, though, on its own. To ‘toughen it up’, steel bars (rebar) get laid first before the slab is poured. The rebar holds strong against vibrations, adding to the slab’s tensile strength. It also acts as a frame, especially when the concrete is an ‘unusual’ shape or standing vertically.

 

Creative control

Concrete is known to feature in art installations. Artists can make moulds and pour the concrete in, or carve a sculpture out of a slab. In schools and homes, children take to the concrete with chalk to make drawings.

You don’t have to leave your concrete grey, either. Homeowners can choose from among lots of options around colours. They can also ask for a pattern to get stamped in so the final product mimics tiles, wood, or even marble.

Aggregate or coloured concrete? Choosing a finish

Exposed aggregate concrete is one of the options you can choose for your renovation needs. Concrete isn’t a “one type fits all” material. Some customers ask for a smooth grey type. Others go slightly outside the box. Here’s a list of finishes that might help you decide what’s best for you.

Exposed aggregate

Concrete is a mix of cement and aggregate. These are larger stones that make up the bulk of the mix. Older concrete pathways and plenty of driveways have this type of finish. The look is accomplished by blasting away part of the surface cement so that the larger stones are revealed underneath.

Coloured

Sometimes grey is, well, grey. Concrete is a part of the home, whether it’s a pathway leading to the front door or a slab that makes up the kitchen floor. You have the option to colour the concrete the same way you’d choose the colour for the walls.

Popular colour schemes include warm tones like reds and oranges on the outside. In comparison, interior coloured concrete is softer. Tones include greys, whites and even light blues. Ask your contractor what colours are available.

Stamped

This type of finish mimics the effect of pavers. The concrete is poured and a pattern stamp is placed on the surface before it fully dries. Common patterns make the concrete look like tiles and there’s even some that give a “wood” appearance.

Polished

This is ideal for interior concrete. Exposed aggregate is a surface that customers choose to polish most often. Nobody wants to cut their feet on small, sharp stones.

Warehouse interiors that were renovated to make living space have existing concrete floors already, but these are rarely polished. Contractors are brought in to clean up the floors, polish them and add a coat of sealant. Concrete is a porous material and stains easily, so this step is necessary to prevent cosmetic messes.  

Concrete Design Ideas

Concrete has an unglamorous image as something councils use to make footpaths and this isn’t fair. Its design applications for the home are endless, both outside and in. Concrete isn’t just a boring material you only use for making driveways. We’ve listed its other design uses below.

Patios

These are found in any home, whether it’s made of pavers or a concrete slab. Patios are an essential part of the Australian lifestyle. Where else would you put the barbecue and the outdoor dining set?

The method for laying out a patio is the same as if you were installing a new driveway. You can choose the type of finish you want the concrete to have, colour and surface area.

Garden Beds

Inbuilt garden beds are great for adding a little life wherever they are. Contractors build them against a wall or as a stand-alone structure. They’re strong and versatile. You don’t even have to use the garden beds for plants. They make a great storage solution. If you build a garden bed but don’t plant anything, there’s another option. You can use it to store equipment overflowing from the shed or any kid’s toys lying around. Add some thick wooden or steel slats, some cushions and you have an extra seat!

Walls

Concrete walls are an out-of-the-box design idea for modern homes that get featured in the pages of home and real estate magazines. Tadao Ando, the Japanese architect, designed structures entirely made of concrete. He designed his buildings to use the natural light wherever they are, and purposefully left the walls bare to emphasise the beauty in simplicity.

Some homeowners, though, might not see things in Tadao’s perspective. Blank walls are blank canvases. They might hang several pieces of art on the walls or even commission a mural as something unique.

Concrete and rebar together make a near-indestructible combination. They are a great return on investment and provide something sturdy for the home. While concrete home designs are nothing new, people designing a home might not give them much consideration. They favour more “traditional” home builds. The above ideas show, however, that concrete and rebar have so much more potential than just making new footpaths.