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9 Tips for Pouring Concrete in Hot Weather

When the concrete is hotter than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the process of hydration is sped up and generates internal heat. When cement hydrates it uses water and grows crystals around the aggregate particles. When it’s too hot, water can be lost through evaporation. This doesn’t allow the concrete to hydrate properly due to the lack of water present and can result in loss of strength. The main concern with working in hot weather isn’t just the air temperature, but the concrete’s temperature.

Pouring concrete in hot weather could present the following problems:

  • Increased difficulty when finishing the concrete
  • The formation of cold joints due to hot weather decreasing the setting time
  • Reduced strength and durability
  • Lower compression strength
  • Additional drying shrinkage of the hardened concrete
  • Increased risk of cracking

If the temperature of the concrete at the time of concrete placement will exceed 77 degrees Fahrenheit, a plan should be developed to negate the effects of high temperatures. Here are 9 tips for pouring concrete in hot weather:

  1. Have sufficient manpower to manage the concrete when it is being poured and for the finishing process ­— this is team effort .
  2. If possible, avoid pouring concrete at noon or during peak times for hot air temperature. Mornings are IDEAL.
  3. When pouring concrete in hot weather, space control joints at smaller intervals than cold weather concrete joints.
  4. If possible, keep an evaporative retarder ready on site in case the temperature gets hotter and water is rapidly evaporating.
  5. Use ice as part of the concrete water mix to cool the concrete.
  6. Reduce the mixing time once water has been added to the mix.
  7. Bags of concrete mix and all equipment needed to pour concrete in hot weather should remain covered or in the shade until the last moment before using. Keep equipment cool.
  8. When pouring concrete for a slab, first dampen the sub-grade. Take the hose from the concrete truck and mist the sub-grade. They might get angry but who cares.
  9. Use cool water to dampen side forms for slabs or walls.

[VIDEO] HUSBAND FILLS WIFE CAR WITH CONCRETE

Doing something in the name of revenge typically is never a good idea.  Concrete truck operators getting involved with that revenge is probably an even worse idea.  But, anger makes people do weird things, including video taping their revenge.

A husband in Russia was extremely upset after he found out his wife changed her last name in order to promote a supermarket chain. By changing her name to Veniy, the name of the supermarket, she would be paid 50,000 RUB, which is about $889 USD.  The couple were having some other problems, as well, which “prompted” the husband to want revenge.

The “revenge” was caught on tape and showed the husband directing a concrete truck to dump a car full of concrete inside his wife’s prized car.  This video is actually hilarious. Hey, I guess it’s a good life lesson not to mess with any concrete contractors 😊

PICKING THE RIGHT CONCRETE CONTRACTOR

New Concrete Walkway

Making your residential or commercial property look its absolute best is made easier when you’re working with the right contractor. You need a concrete contractor that has the experience, dedication, and resources to bring out the best in your property. If you’re thinking about putting down a new driveway, parking lot, road or patio, read our list. This is what you should look for when hiring a contractor:

EXPERIENCE

You don’t want to go to a concrete contractor who doesn’t have experience with your specific project. You want to make sure that the contractor you choose has the proper knowledge to complete the job efficiently. Contractors should be aware of the codes, regulations and potential problems inherent in your job.

COMFORTABILITY

You should be 100 percent comfortable with whichever concrete contractor you choose. Anyone who makes you feel pressured or uncomfortable is one you likely shouldn’t do business with. Spend enough time with the contractor until you’re able to form a solid opinion about her or his personality and work style. Remember, this person is going to be working on your home or business for what might be several days or weeks; choose carefully.

LICENSED, INSURED and BONDED

Any contractor you’re considering should be fully licensed, bonded (depending on the job) and insured to work in your specific geographic area. All three are just as much for the contractor’s benefit as they are yours. Proper licensing shows a level of professionalism and care you want in whichever contractor you choose.

REFERENCES

Ask for references from the contractor’s previous work before deciding on a concrete contractor. Most of them will be more than happy to provide you with names and numbers so you can get a better glimpse into how they work and the results you can expect for your home or business. At Biordi Concrete – we actually prefer you see our work just to show you the beauty of our work.

WARRANTY

You should also request a sample contract and warranty to better understand the language and terms you can expect for your own project. Contractors should be able to easily explain any terms or conditions that aren’t clear to you in a manner you easily understand.

TEAM ONSITE

In addition to asking if the work will be contracted out, ask about the amount of experience and level of expertise of the team that will handle your concrete service. While the above might seem like a lot of work, it’s sure to pay off in the long run when you have a high-quality project, which lasts for years to come.

Winter Construction Apparel Survival Guide:

Winter clothing

Your base layer is the first layer which hugs your skin and wicks away perspiration – SWEAT.  You must get this layer correct in order to stay warm in all conditions. This layer should have insulation properties but more importantly moisture wicking properties. Ideal base layers are merino wool, silk, polypropylene and other various synthetic fibers.  Outdoor enthusiasts tend to choose wool over synthetics for their base layers.  Wool insulates better than other materials and is more comfortable. Cotton is not to be used as a base layer because it absorbs and retains water and perspiration.  Even if you layer properly with a cotton base layer you will remain wet and cold.  Depending on the temperature, light-weight, mid-weight, and heavy-weight layers are an option.

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Your mid layer should be thicker than your base layer to provide your body with insulation.  Its intent is to trap the warmth of your body.  Make sure your clothing fits well or warm air will escape.  Typically a mid-layer is a fleece or wool thick layer. Tucking in your layers will help prevent heat loss as well!

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Your outer layer is going to be your thickest and warmest layer. It provides the most insulation. An outer layer may be a heavy fleece, a down jacket, soft shell, or ski jacket.  A light down sweater style jacket that is highly compressible offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio. If you plan on this being your final layer make sure that it is a water-proof, wind-proof, and breathable material.

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The outer shell is the last layer you may consider over the outer layer.  It serves as a wind, rain, and snow barrier. Its primary function is to protect you from the elements when conditions take a turn for the worse.  The two most common shells offered are hard and soft.  A soft shell will be more flexible and breathable, may be water-resistant, but is not waterproof. Some soft shells come with a laminated windproof membrane, others don’t. A hard shell will be both waterproof and windproof but is not as breathable. The conditions you plan on working in will determine what is appropriate. If sustained rain/snow conditions occur, there is no replacement for a waterproof hard shell.

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8 Facts About Concrete that Every Mason Should Know

Organized Chaos
  1. Over 20 billion tons of concrete are used in construction every year!
  2. The term “concrete” is, as you may have guessed, Latin in origin. The Romans named the material after the word “concretus,” meaning “to grow together.”
  3. Ancient Romans pioneered large-scale rustic concrete architecture with structures like the Pantheon, which remains the world’s largest unsupported concrete dome.
  4. Reinforced concrete architecture is more sturdy than steel-framed buildings due to the higher rigidity of concrete – it won’t bend nearly as much in wind or an earthquake.
  5. The world’s largest concrete structure is China’s Three Gorges Dam along the Yangtze River. It took 12 years and about 565 million cubic feet of concrete to fully construct this dam!
  6. China is responsible for half the world’s overall concrete usage each year. The country used more between 2011 and 2013 than the United States used in the entire 20th century!
  7. During World War II, the British built 15-foot-diameter concrete “ears” – vertical bowl-like structures with a large, spherical indentation. They were placed along the coastline to pick up the sound of approaching enemy planes from as far as 30 miles away. Many still remain intact today!
  8. Under normal conditions, concrete is actually stronger a decade after pouring than it originally was! Calcium conversions on a chemical level and concrete’s tendency to absorb CO2 both contribute to this natural strengthening.

Tools WE use to Finish Concrete

Concrete Placer (Come-Along)

The purpose of spreading fresh concrete is to place concrete as close as possible to finish level to facilitate straightedging/screeding the concrete. Any spreader used should be rigid enough to push and pull wet concrete without bending

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Concrete Screed

Screeds are used to smooth concrete shortly after it is poured. Screeds are available in different sizes and can even be project-specific. Biordi Concrete uses Aluminum Screeds on most jobs – we believe these screeds give us the best opportunity to provide a perfect job.

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Bull Float

A bull float is a large float used to smooth and level the surface of the concrete immediately after it is screeded. It typically includes a long pole for reaching across the form. Smaller floats are useful for filling small voids smoothing areas close to the form edges.

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Fresno

A Fresno trowel is designed to attach to long extension handles so finishers don’t have to walk out on the slab. They permit rapid work over large areas, such as driveways, but do not achieve the same degree of compaction possible with hand trowels. However, that can be an advantage when you must trowel slabs early for decorative work because you can create a smooth finish without premature sealing of the surface.

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Edger

Edgers produce a neat rounded edge along the slab perimeter which helps the slab resist chipping and spalling damage after the forms are removed. Perform edging after the bleedwater disappears from the concrete surface, but before the forms are removed.

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Groover Cutter (Line Maker)

Groove cutters are used to create control joints on sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and residential slabs, where a concrete saw typically is not used. Many groovers have a horizontal plate with a vertical fin for cutting the groove. 

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Finish Broom

Brushed finishes are suitable for areas trafficked either by vehicular or foot traffic. A brushed finish is obtained by pulling a brush over the surface of the fresh concrete, after the surface has been levelled. The type of finish obtained will depend upon the coarseness of the brush bristles and the length and shape of the tufts.

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OTHER TOOLS USED

Trowel
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Wood Float
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Mason Brush
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9 Of My Favorite Concrete Finishes

Concrete is as a versatile construction material, used worldwide on a various number of residential, commercial and industrial applications. Concrete carries its strength on the inside, but its beauty on the outside. Below I will describe some of my favorite concrete finishes.

1. Common Finishes

The most basic type of concrete finish is a smooth surface created through the use of screeds and trowels. Immediately after concrete has been placed in forms, concrete finishers utilize a screed to level out the concrete surface.

a) Troweling or Floating

Once the concrete has been tooled with a screed, concrete finishers utilize trowels to smooth and fine-level the surface of the concrete. To smooth the concrete manually a hand trowel is used on smaller jobs, and power trowels are used on a large commercial and industrial projects where using hand trowels is not feasible. These power trowels are available in both walk behind and riding versions.

b) Broom Finish

This is our specialty at Biordi Concrete. In order to make concrete surfaces slip resistant, a broom finish can be applied. This is done after placement, leveling, and troweling of concrete. Once a smooth surface has been created, a broom is dragged across the surface of the concrete to create small ridges that provide for traction control, particularly when the concrete surface is wet. Concrete surfaces without a broom finish tend to be slippery and dangerous when liquids are present on the surface. This is also the NYC DOT Spec for all sidewalks.

2. Concrete Texture Finishes

Aside from broom finishing, there are several other means of creating textures on the surface of concrete.

a) Exposed Aggregate Finish

An exposed aggregate finis is commonly found in sidewalks of old cities, and is created by washing the top layer of concrete away. This gives it that “old school “ feel which exposes the edges of the natural stone aggregates that are mixed into the concrete. This provides an attractive and slip resistant finish.

b) Salt Finish

A salt finish is a type of finish used mainly for swimming pool decks. Salt finishes are created by applying rock salt to the top of the wet concrete and then washing it away, which leaves small pits in the finished surface.

c) Stamped Concrete

A common method of texturing is to use concrete stamps. Concrete stamps are comprised of panels with inlaid designs, which are placed on concrete while it is still curing. Designs may consist of brick, stone or other decorative patterns. When done correctly, stamped concrete looks absolutely gorgeous.

d) Sparkle Grain Finish

Sparkle Grain is a black or white sparkle, concrete finish for interior or exterior concrete surfaces. Specifically designed for light to heavy usage on sidewalks, steps, ramps etc.. Sparkle Grain also adds slip-resistance to concrete, which also means increased wear resistance compared to untreated concrete floors.

3. Concrete Coloring

Concrete can have color added to provide a look that fits with the architecture of the associated structure. This can be accomplished through mix-added pigments or post-cure staining.

a) “Mix-ready” Pigment Bags

Concrete coloring using pigments is a simple process, accomplished by adding the pigments directly to the concrete mix prior to pouring. Pigments are available in “mix-ready” dissolvable bags. When we work on “landmark” jobs in NYC, the spec for the concrete is with a black pigment. In order to achieve that black tone, we throw the black pigment ready mix bags right into the truck barrel mixer one the truck shows up.

b) Concrete Staining

One common method of staining concrete is through the use of acid. Stains can be applied to concrete of any age, though the colors are typically more vibrant if the stain is applied relatively soon after the concrete has been placed. Application of stain is typically followed up with installation of a seal over the concrete to protect the surface.

4) Polished Concrete

Cured concrete, whether freshly-placed or well-aged, can be provided with a polished surface for a clean and glossy look, ease of maintenance and a surface that provides additional slip resistance over that of non-polished concrete.

The polishing process is typically accomplished using concrete floor grinders that are outfitted with diamond abrasives. The grade of the abrasives, from coarse to fine, will determine the final smoothness of the concrete surface at the completion of the polishing process.

Concrete is a remarkable product, having been used for thousands of years as a reliable and durable building material for a countless amount of structures. Like I stated earlier, the exterior look of concrete can be beautiful and can fit anywhere all depending on the type of finish you desire.

6 Things to Know Before Pouring Concrete in the Winter

Winter Concrete

Pouring concrete in cold weather is something we do a lot in New York. The months of November all the way to March usually have many days with temperatures that are cold as sh*t, which isn’t great for concrete workers, but definitely workable.

Since Biordi Concrete is a business that runs on pouring concrete, we cannot let the cold weather to stop us.

Below are a few things to consider before pouring concrete in the winter:

1. SCHEDULE THE POUR IN ADVANCE

Get in contact with a ready mix company that you use at least 2-3 days in advance if possible (depending on the size of the pour). Ready mix companies are more flexible during the winter months being that if Mother Nature doesn’t want you to pour that day, than you aren’t pouring that day and you must wait a day or two when the weather is cooperating.

2. THE WEATHER THE DAY OF THE POUR

The rule of thumb that we use is that we pour concrete when the temp is 32° and rising.  If the concrete has hot water mixed with it (120 degrees F) the concrete temperature should be around 65 – 70 F when you dump it on the ground. Then the heat from hydration will be enough to get it to set up.

3. IS THE SUB-BASE FROZEN?

 ALWAYS check the sub-base for frost before you pour. If the ground has any frost on it, do not pour. The sub-base has to be completely thawed at least 4” to 6” down before you pour concrete on it. If you don’t remove the frozen sub-base, concrete will crack when the ground un-thaws. Obviously you are replace the frost subbase with blend/gravel that is not frozen.

4. ORDER WINTER CONCRETE

       Using the right concrete mix is ESSENTIAL during a winter pour. We usually pour 4000psi with hot water and an accelerator in the concrete. An accelerator can help offset the effects of low temperatures by increasing the rate of cement hydration. This aids in the concrete setting time and the development of early strength in the concrete.

5. AFTER THE CONCRETE IS POURED

You may have to wait longer than you usually do in warmer weather before you get on it to start troweling. Let the concrete dry, don’t touch it for a little – the more you play with the concrete the longer it will take to dry.

6. ONCE THE CONCRETE IS FINISHED

After the concrete is finished, the next step is to protect it from freezing. What we’ve found works best is covering the concrete with burlap (so the concrete doesn’t get scratched) then insulating concrete blankets on top of the burlap. This keeps the concrete nice and warm for days. In order to keep the wind from blowing the blankets, we place 2×4’s all around to keep blankets from flying away.  We usually keep the blankets on (depending on the cold) for 24-48 hours.

3 of the Best Boots for Concrete Construction

If you’re in the construction business then you probably know a thing or two about concrete. Concrete is a tough business to been in, both mentally and physically. With that being said, to be in the concrete business you must have the right boots because you are literally on your feet all day. Below I will show you three of the best boots for concrete work. Two of the three boots below are leather boots for when you are NOT working inside the concrete, and the last one will be the best rubber boot for when you are working in the concrete.

Construction Leather Boots

Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot

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        These boots are for heavy construction. They are comfortable and great for your feet as well as your back. I am constantly walking on rubble concrete, brick, metal, mud, dirt, really anything you can think of. I am always needing to use the steel toe to kick something. Cutting with a demo saw, cutting with oxy acetylene, stick welding, concrete work and a lot more abuse. These bad boys have done me well.

Features of the Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot

  • 100% Leather
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Steel-toe work boot in rugged leather featuring plush collar and tongue with logos
  • Hex-shape grommets with speed lacing at shaft
  • Oil-resistant traction outsole
  • Nubuck leather or pull up leather nylon mesh lining provides added breathability and comfort
  • Steel shank for added support and stability
  • Removable PU Sock Liner provides all-day comfort
  • Price Point: $80-$100

Wolverine Waterproof Insulated Work Boot (Non Steel Toe)

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These boots are amazing. It is perfect for lighter construction work. I wore these nearly daily over the winter and they held up VERY well. The outside of the boot shows almost no signs of wear apart from some natural creases. The interior of the boot has held up extremely well too. I am very happy with these boots, especially at this price. The fit is comfortable and they look like a standard work boot.

Features of the Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot

  • Leather
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Removable full cushion insole
  • Moisture managing mesh linings
  • Wolverine permanent direct attached constructed outsole
  • Nylon shank
  • Price Point $69-$100

Concrete Rubber Boots

Servus Comfort Technology Soft/Steel Toe Rubber Boot

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These rubber boots are very well made.  I spend 12-hour days in these doing concrete work. These boots are very tough and the steel toe is well made if you like to work with a steel tow. They will hold up well if you properly clean after a pour.

Features of Servus Rubber Boot

  • 100 percent waterproof rubber uppers and outsole
  • MADE IN AMERICA BABY!
  • CT (Comfort Technology) offers a unique scalloped shaft to accommodate flexing
  • Contour heel cup molding reduces heel slippage
  • Removable FOOT FORM contour cushion insoles provide comfort
  • Unique trac 10 outsole enhances slip resistance and stability
  • Chemical-Resistant
  • All-Day Comfort
  • Price Point : $12-$20

One thing is for certain, when you’re placing concrete, you’re going to want to be wearing the best possible boots during the pour, along with the other regular safety gear. Obviously I know that everyone has their own preference on work boots for concrete work – these are just some of mine.

With that being said, Concrete poisoning is not something to fool around with. If not treated properly it can lead to other major health issues and possibly an amputation due to complication from the burns. And there’s always the possibility of it getting into your blood stream.

Regular rain boots won’t cut it. You really should invest in a pair that will last and not break down from the chemicals of wet concrete.

Look at it this way – if you pay more for a good boot, chances are that it will last a lot longer. Just be sure to properly wash it off after every concrete pour. This will put extra money in your pocket because you won’t have to take time off work due to concrete burns on your feet. And isn’t more money in the pocket what we all want in the long run.

My Favorite Concrete Saws

As a concrete restoration company, we use demo saws to cut the concrete deep enough (about 4” – 6”) to remove and replace bad concrete flags/slabs.

We also use the early entry concrete saws to saw cut joints into our pours. These saw cut lines give the concrete a place to crack when the concrete shrinks during the curing process.

There’s a lot of different types of concrete saws out there. The two saws that Biordi Conrete uses the most are demo saws (Cut Off Saw) and early entry concrete saws.

Early Entry Concrete Saw

Husqvarna Soff-Cut 150



Features of Husqvarna Soff-Cut 150 :

  • Can saw contraction joints the SAME day as pouring the concrete
  • The lightest gas saw in the Soff-Cut range
  • low noise blade enclosure which allows the unit to be used in residential areas.
  • low-dust blade block system allows the saw to cut dry, and it controls the debris
  • Gas powered
  • Output power: 4.3 hp
  • Blade Diameter, max: 6”
  • Weight: 87lbs
  • Approx Price: $3K
  • My Favorite Concrete Saws

Demo Saw ( Cut Off Saw)

STIHL TS 410

This saw takes a 14″ blade. We use it mostly for sawing out spalled & damaged concrete areas before we repair them. 

We also use it for cutting rebar when we tie a mat of rebar in a concrete slab.

Features of TS Stihl 410:

  • Long-life filter system with cyclone pre-separation
  • Extremely low vibration levels (3.9m/s²)
  • STIHL 2-MIX engine with stratified charge system
  • Manual fuel pump
  • Decompression valve
  • Ergonomic grip position
  • Weight: 20lbs

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