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    How to Prepare a Walkway for Ready Mix Concrete

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Ready mix concrete can create a beautiful, functional, and long-lasting walkway that will serve your needs for many years to come. Laying a concrete walkway is a task any homeowner can complete on their own. With careful preparation, you can be ready to go when the concrete arrives for a project that goes smoothly and quickly.

    Design the Walkway
    First, you must design the size and shape of the walkway you’d like to create. Once you’ve determined how your walkway will look, create an outline of the path using 12” hardboard siding cut into six-inch widths. Stake the siding down on your lawn in the desired shape of your walkway and use marking paint to draw an outline for digging.

    Excavate the Area
    Most of the work that goes into creating a walkway is excavating soil, sod, and other material from the path so that concrete can be laid. Remove soil to a depth of six inches to accommodate the concrete slabs. If your yard is unevenly sloped, you should also consider elevating the walkway so it will drain properly. Excavate an area three inches wider than your intended walkway on either side to provide room for your concrete forms.

    Prepare the Forms
    Wooden forms hold concrete in place as it dries. You can build forms from either rigid lumber or flexible siding, depending upon your walkway’s design. Drive stakes into the ground every three feet, attaching them to the forms with drywall screws. Pack down the soil inside the forms, then spread four inches of gravel to provide additional durability for your concrete. Place steel mesh over the gravel, cutting it to fit inside your forms where it will prevent heaving, cracking, and buckling in your finished walkway.

    A-1 Ready Mix Concrete provides premixed concrete, colored concrete, and crushed aggregates in the San Francisco area. Call us at (510) 629-4523 to schedule delivery of ready mix concrete for your next walkway, patio, or other home project. You can learn more about laying and drying concrete on our blog.

    Backyard Concrete Patio Project

    Last updated 2 months ago

    A concrete patio provides a convenient location for family get-togethers and neighborhood parties. The design possibilities are limited only by your imagination, allowing you to create a backyard space that you can enjoy for years.

    In this video, you will see how a complete patio makeover transforms an older, out-of-date yard into a usable and modern space. The main patio uses sand-washed concrete with integrated bands of bluestone and a black pebble perimeter to allow drainage and guide the eye away from the house. This home’s patio also includes a dining area, a pool, and a fountain. 

    Are you ready to create a concrete patio to improve the functionality and aesthetics of your yard? A-1 Ready Mix Concrete is here to help; we provide ready mix concrete for use in both residential and commercial needs. Check out our website or call (510) 629-4523 to learn more. 

    How Does Concrete Harden?

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Concrete is comprised of sand, gravel, crushed stone, Portland cement, and water. These ingredients are mixed together, then poured into forms or molds to create the desired structure. Adding water to concrete starts the process of hardening, which occurs via hydration. Hydration occurs when the molecules of the concrete ingredients bind with the molecules of water, causing an increase in strength as the mixture forms a crystalline structure. Because of this reaction, concrete will even harden underwater, increasing the versatility of projects use concrete as a building and support material. Concrete will continue to harden long after it dries, getting stronger with each passing year. Although hardening happens quickly at first, the reaction slows down significantly over time. Concrete is tested at 28 days to provide a standardized process for measuring strength; by this time, most of the hardening process has been completed.

    A-1 Ready Mix Concrete is pleased to provide top-quality ready mix concrete for both residential and commercial use. Let us help you with your next construction project; call (510) 629-4523 to schedule a free consultation in the San Jose and San Francisco areas. You can learn more amazing facts about concrete on our blog.

    Concrete Projects You Can Do in Your Backyard

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Concrete is a versatile and durable material suited to many types of home projects. A patio, garden, walkway, or other feature made from concrete adds value to your home and cosmetic appeal to your yard and home. Ready mix concrete is easy to work with and requires very little maintenance to keep looking its best over the lifetime of your home.

    A patio is a paved outdoor space where your family can enjoy cooking, eating, and socializing. Patios range from traditional square or rectangular concrete slabs to intricately designed curving and artistic spaces that complement the exterior of your home. If you have a pool, you may also wish to integrate this feature into your patio for functional and cosmetic purposes. You can add artistic elements to any patio using brick, natural stone, and mosaics.

    Walkways connect the various areas of your yard, helping you to fully enjoy your outdoor space. You can use walkways to define or enhance a garden or landscaping feature. Winding garden paths enhance the visual appeal of your yard and provide a place for quiet meditation. A broad concrete walking path provides sure footing between your home and a shed or garage. You can enhance the look of any path by bordering it with brick, stone, or landscaping elements to integrate it into the flow of your yard.

    Planting Beds
    Concrete-walled planting beds provide an attractive way to protect and outline your garden. Concrete is frequently used to create raised retaining walls in planting areas to keep moisture near growing flowers, trees, and other foliage. A raised planting bed also makes gardening easier by eliminating the need to bend down when pruning, weeding, or harvesting.

    Let A-1 Ready Mix Concrete help you complete your next backyard project with ready mix concrete, portable plants, concrete recycling, and more! We are a family owned and operated business proud to be serving the San Francisco area. Call us at (510) 629-4523 or click through our website to learn more about how concrete can enhance your next home improvement project.

    What Causes Cracks in Concrete?

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Cracking is one of the most common problems associated with concrete. A crack may form during the curing process or years later as a result of outside factors, such as weather. Preparing, laying, and finishing concrete properly can minimize incidences of cracking for a beautiful, long-lasting result.

    Freezing, Thawing, and Temperature Changes.
    Concrete is a porous material. Long after it has dried, water from rain or other sources can seep into the concrete matrix. Repeated freezing and thawing causes expansion and contraction of any moisture inside the concrete, weakening the material and eventually leading to cracks. Thick slabs of concrete may be subject to temperature differentials, which cause uneven expansion and contraction inside the concrete when the surface is at a different temperature than the core. These stresses may result in cracking throughout the material.

    Steel-reinforced concrete offers superior strength and stability for many large-scale construction projects. Over time, however, corrosion of steel reinforcement beams affect the surrounding concrete. When steel corrodes, it produces rust. Because rust takes up a larger volume inside the concrete than the steel beam alone, tensile stresses result that cause cracks to form. Initial cracks may lead to more extensive damage as air and water seep inside the concrete, speeding the corrosion process.

    Overloading and Loss of Support
    Settling, flooding, or weathering can affect the soil beneath concrete slabs and structures, leading to insufficient support and cracking. Improper use of concrete forms during construction may also lead to structural issues that result in failure and cracking of the final concrete product. Overloading a concrete structure by forcing it to support more weight than it was designed to bear can also cause cracking, crumbing, or collapse.

    Working with concrete can be stressful if you aren’t familiar with proper handling of the material. If you need concrete for your next construction or renovation project, call in the experts at A-1 Ready Mix Concrete for the help you need. We will deliver our ready-to-use concrete right to your site when you need it. Call (510) 629-4523 or visit us on the web to learn more!

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