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DIY guide to handling concrete

Here is a simple guide on the best recommended measures that should be undertaken to ensure that you get the most from your product. We will show you how to prepare the ground before laying your concrete, give tips on curing times and show you how it will achieve its highest potential strength and optimum durability.

It is worth noting that as part of Aggregate Industries, we have highly dedicated technical specialists throughout the country who are happy to point you in the right direction, free of charge. Contact your local office for further information.

The right mix
In the small load ready-mix department at Aggregate Industries we have a motto that we are proud of “Local, Service, Quality”. We know that whatever your DIY or homebuilding project consists of, we will have the right concrete mix to match your unique conditions. Our extensive suite of products can be seen here. Some of our most popular specially designed mixes are perfect in a number of applications. These include:

  • Foundation
  • Driveway
  • Structure
  • Agriculture

We take the future very seriously and that’s why we are market leaders in Sustainable Products. For further details see here.

Our data sheet offers health & safety advice for handling ready-mixed concrete. Please take time to read it before you place your order.

How much will I need? - Enter your area dimensions here if you are unsure how much concrete you need.

Groundwork preparation
To ensure that your concrete doesn’t dry out too quickly, we advise that the product is placed on a well compacted sub base layer, which has in turn been covered with a layer of plastic sheeting. Remove top soil to the required level ensuring your base is 75mm larger than the finished slab area required.

Curing
Excessive moisture loss will attribute to unwanted dry shrinkage cracking - so it must not be allowed to dry out too quickly. We highly recommend that you make provisions to cover your concrete with plastic sheeting once it is has been laid. As a guide, curing should continue for seven days in the summer and ten days in winter. If required, we are able to offer products which can reduce this time span.
 
We advise that you do not to place concrete during freezing conditions. If it is likely that overnight temperature may dip below 0°c, an air gap should be left between the layer of plastic sheeting and the top of the concrete surface.

Tips
Additional benefits will be seen with the addition of polypropylene fibres which will enhance the mix by:

  • Providing longer lasting concrete 
  • Reducing the need for crack control wire mesh 
  • Offering greater resistance to impact and abrasion wear 
  • Minimising plastic cracking

Concrete has an usable shelf life. During normal weather conditions that is usually around 1.5 hours. In summer months workability will be lost sooner and therefore we recommend that the product should ideally be placed and finished within 1 hour of discharging from the truck.

The weather is very changeable in the UK. As guide you may wish to use this link for a forecast in your area before you place your order for concrete.

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