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Cement and concrete FAQs

We troubleshoot the most common issues that arise when working with concrete and cement.

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There is nothing worse than planning, prepping and executing your project correctly, step-by-step, only to end up with a final product that cracks, flakes and looks like it has been poorly made. These tips below may provide some insight into where you’ve gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. Plus, if you’ve accidentally stained your concrete with another substance, we tell you how to remove it.

How to increase the strength of cement

To increase the strength of cement, simply add more cement. The factor that predominantly influences concrete strength is the ratio of water to cement. The more water you add, the weaker the concrete will be and vice versa.

Why do concrete surfaces flake?

Concrete surfaces flake for one or more of the following reasons:

The water/cement ratio should be as low as possible to improve durability of the surface. Too much water in the mix will produce a weaker, less durable concrete that will contribute to early flaking of the surface. It is important that you allow every drop of water to evaporate before using, painting or adding a sealant. If you don’t wait for the excess water to evaporate completely, then the surface water content will be higher and will result in your concrete being weaker and less durable. 

Why does concrete crack?

It is normal for concrete to shrink as it dries out. This change in volume is due to water evaporation. It is because of this process that your water and cement ratio needs to be accurate as it affects the quality of the cement and outcome of your project. The more water you add to your cement mix, the more water evaporates and therefore more cracks will form.

Accidentally stained your concrete? Here’s how you can remove the stains.

To remove stains you can use the dry and mechanical methods, or the wet method, which makes use of chemicals or water. Common dry methods include sandblasting, grinding or scouring. Steel-wire brushes should be used with care because they can leave metal particles on the surface that later may rust and stain the concrete. Wet methods involve the application of water or specific chemicals according to the stain. The chemical treatment either dissolves the staining substance so it can be blotted up from the surface of the concrete or bleaches the staining substance so it will not show. 

 

 

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