Concrete is a popular building material in Texas, and it’s easy to tell why. Concrete is relatively inexpensive, durable, easy to work with, and is able to withstand near-constant exposure to the state's hot and humid climate and high heat.
That said, there are some things you should know before you start using concrete for your next project. In this FAQ guide, we'll answer some of the most common questions about concrete, and cover everything you need to know before you start your project. If you're ready to start working with concrete in Texas, read on!
What Is Concrete?
Concrete is a building material that has been around for centuries. It's made from the very basics: cement, aggregate (rock and sand), water solids with other additives like chemicals to enhance or modify its properties, depending on what it’s being used for. It’s a versatile tool that never goes out of style, which is why Texas (and many other well-known cities) are all often something of a concrete jungle.
Fun fact: Concrete is the most widely-used building material in existence and is second behind water as the planet's most-consumed resource.
What’s The Difference Between Cement And Concrete?
Cement is a powdery substance made with calcined lime and clay. Concrete is actually a durable construction material that can be made from cement, sand, gravel, and water.
The mixture of these ingredients forms an instant binding paste that, when mixed together at high pressures, makes the heavy, rough building material we typically refer to as “concrete.”
Why Do We Use Concrete For Roads, Parking Lots, And Sidewalks?
While concrete is both a beautiful and affordable building solution, there are many other reasons why businesses and municipalities continue to use it for roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, to name a few.
For one, concrete is incredibly environmentally-friendly—it produces no emissions or toxins, and is made of naturally occurring materials. Plus, the amount of CO2 produced during manufacturing and when using concrete is relatively small. Similarly, concrete costs very little to maintain, and, when laid correctly, will retain its classic appearance (and value) for years.
Another thing to note is that the durability of concrete is relatively unmatched compared to other building materials. It won’t crack, break, or shatter, and can last as long as 60 years or more with minimal maintenance. Concrete also improves traction (making for safer roads), reduces noise pollution (making for more pleasant communities), and costs significantly less than similar materials, like asphalt.
What’s The Best Texas Concrete For Sidewalks And Driveways?
That depends on where exactly project is located. In areas with very hot summers and very little shade, it is best to use a concrete mix with a high air content and low water-cement ratio in order to increase its durability and minimize shrinkage cracking. In cooler areas, any conventional concrete mix should work well. But in either case, you’ll want to make sure that the concrete you use is well-compacted and cured properly for optimal performance.
Pro tip: Something to keep in mind when working with concrete for sidewalks and driveways is consistency. If the ingredients are off just a little between batches (typical when you mix concrete yourself) the color and strength of your concrete will be off too. You can ensure the concrete you use is consistent by working with a concrete paving professional near you. A professional can recommend a crack-resistant concrete mix that matches the color you like, sets fast, and remains strong with years of use.
What’s The Best Type Of Concrete For Commercial Parking Lots And Roads?
Parking lot and roads require a substantially thicker slab of concrete than sidewalks and driveways. That’s why your concrete’s weight capacity—or how much weight it can hold—matters. You can ensure the longevity and safety of your parking lot by using stronger mixes that can withstand the weight of any vehicle that may drive over it*. You may also want to opt for reinforced concrete, which is concrete that made with steel rods or bars for extra durability and strength. You can speak to a local concrete contractor for a professional recommendation that’s suitable for your traffic and/or load bearing applications.
* Keep in mind that your concrete’s weight capacity should account for the fact that most vehicles in the United States are roughly 4,000 pounds (sometimes more) and that snow can add an additional 20-30 pounds of extra weight per cubic foot.
How Much Does Concrete Cost?
The cost of concrete is fairly constant, based on how much you need to use. Prices are generally determined based on square footage or yards, plus the cost of labor to lay it.
Get Concrete in Texas Today!
Need concrete for your commercial project? Not sure what to get? Contact Lone Star Paving for a professional recommendation! As the go-to asphalt and concrete paving contractor in Texas, we can recommend a concrete mix based on your project’s requirements—including its size and weight capacity and your specific preferences.
We also provide professional concrete paving and flatwork services for roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and more, so that you can get the job done right the first time! Plus, all our concrete projects come with a one-year quality guarantee, so you can rest assured that your paving investment will last!
Contact us today to find out how we can help with your Texas paving project!