When to call a Professional – DIY Concrete Blunders

While many Portland cement concrete projects can prove to be successful with “do it yourself” instructions, even the most experienced home improvement enthusiast should know when to call a professional. Although seemingly simple to measure, mix and pour there are some instances when the help of a professional concrete contractor may be required to avoid common concrete blunders.

Here to point out common challenges faced when working with concrete on DIY projects, Sephaku Cement highlights common concrete blunders and when to call for back up.

Suitable Subgrade

Preparing the subgrade is one of the most critical steps in any concrete application regardless of whether the project is DIY or commissioned by a professional contractor. Forming a stable and sound foundation for any concrete application to stand on will determine the ultimate strength and crack resistance of the surface. When installed on poorly compacted, uneven and irregular subgrade, concrete applications will eventually result in cracking and crumbling as the foundation shifts underneath the weight of the fitting. Call in a contractor who can assist with the correct compacting equipment to ensure that the subgrade is of the correct quality and adequately prepared to withstand the weight of the application without shifting or buckling under the pressure of the installation.

Unexpected Weather Interference

Where variations in the weather bring about varying ambient conditions that can influence the pouring and curing of Portland cement concrete, although weather interference usually only occurs under extreme conditions, there are some instances, most of which are unexpected and almost always take place when working on a deadline or during the most critical part of the job that can hamper the success of your home improvement project. Call on a concrete expert when the summer pouring temperatures exceed 32 degrees celsius and pay careful attention to curing in below freezing conditions. While wet and rainy conditions may not be terribly detrimental, too much hydration too quickly can be as damaging as drying too fast.

Incorrect Tools

Armed with adequate skill may be only as effective as the tools you have available to work with. From something as simple as a wheelbarrow to a small-scale concrete mixer, a hard bristle brush, float leaves and finishing trowel, the complexity of your concrete project will determine the specialised tools required to work with. Without the appropriate equipment to complete your job to perfection rather call on the help of concrete suppliers or equipment rental services who will be able to provide you with the necessary resources to produce the perfect concrete finish.

Water Works

Perhaps not necessary to call on an expert to correct, but consulting an expert couldn’t hurt. By now we know that measuring the correct ratio of water to cement, to aggregate is an art that must be perfect if you want your DIY concrete project to result in a durable and crack free application. Depending on the desired finish, strength, and purpose, the best construction tips will advise that while additional water may make concrete pouring easier to work with, incorrect water ratios will result in an uneven pour and weakened/cracked concrete finish. Don’t be tempted by adding additional water when blending, slow and steady wins the race when producing the ideal concrete mix.

Working with the correct type of cement for the job, careful planning and adequate preparation are all the markers that make for a successful concrete application, but much like following a recipe from your favourite cookbook, if one step is overlooked, the measurements don’t add up or the ingredients are not of sound quality, a lot can go wrong, hard and fast.

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