Concrete it is Hard to Beat
Concrete: It’s Hard To Beat
Hard Is Only The Half Of It
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Like many other aspects of construction, concrete objects are accompanied by many myths. I would first like to dispel some of those in order to help you understand the basics of concrete, expansion, contraction, grading and finishing.
- Deeper -or- Thicker Is Not Necessarily Better
Not necessarily true! If you need a 4" slab for a patio, 6" will not gain you anything; unless your future plans call for some heavy equipment or traffic, all you have done is spend more money. Even having deep areas within your slab can be problematic years down the road. Concrete will move with time, it will expand and contract with temperature changes, move upwards as tree roots grow beneath it, and if the soil beneath the slab freezes. Consequently,a quality craftsman will foresee this movement and make allowances with expansion and crack "control joints".
Control joints simply put a slightly weakened point in the concrete so movement is "controlled in a more attractive straight line rather than running wildly across the slab. However, if there is a deep area over the "control joint", the concrete movement may find relief in an unpredicted area, causing unsightly cracks.
- A Good Slab Is Not Always "Level"
Most external concrete allows for drainage. The typical formula for drainage is 1/8" per foot, and of course it will be draining away from existing structures or toward drains. There is a saying: quot;You can’t stack water.", and of course you can not, but concrete’s flatness is relative. Just because it looks flat, does not mean it isn’t wavy enough to pond water.