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Spring Project Preparation

paversEarly spring is the ideal time to plan all your landscaping projects for the upcoming year, so now’s a great time to get started! Projects like these are always easiest when you make plans ahead of time. Measure the area you’re planning on improving. Count the number of paving bricks you’ll need. Knowing the little details means that you’ll be able to make informed decisions instead of dealing with a lot of guesswork. You’ll save money and time in the end. Here are a few reasons to get a jump on spring preparation: Continue reading

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Retaining Walls

Retaining WallFor many property owners, shaping the landscape can be a real challenge. Adding retaining walls in strategic locations can be a great solution for challenging landscaping puzzles. Retaining walls are used to hold back soil and shape the land, allowing you to control the slope of your land. Don’t let gravity and Mother Nature dictate where the hills will be on your property. Retaining wall designs must take erosion into account, identify and deal with water sources and use engineering principles for maximum structural integrity.

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Concrete’s Secret Ingredients

As you may already know, pouring concrete in cold weather can lead to bad news. Water expands when it turns into ice, so freezing temperatures can do some serious damage to your concrete if it hasn’t set yet. The success of many concrete projects relies on the temperature of the surrounding environment. You don’t want to risk weakening your concrete with fractures or spalling (the official term for rocklike material breaking into smaller pieces). Continue reading

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Five Ways to Improve Your Yard with Concrete

Concrete made to look like natural stoneConcrete is a very versatile material and can be used in many different parts of your home. Even just your yard can be enhanced with concrete in a variety of ways. For example…

Driveway. Using concrete for your driveway results in a permanent and low-maintenance addition that will improve your home’s aesthetic appeal and provide children with a safe and flat space for outdoor play.  Did we mention it can also decrease erosion in your yard? You can choose between poured concrete slabs and concrete paving bricks. Bonus tip: after installation, we recommend waiting at least three days if not longer to use your driveway again. Continue reading

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Five Important Structures Made With Concrete

Concrete has been a major part of construction for thousands of years. This month, let’s take a look at some of the most famous structures, new and old, that were built using concrete.

Pantheon, Rome, ItalyThe Pantheon, Rome. Almost two thousand years after this structure was built, it remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world and the best preserved of all ancient Roman buildings. The dome is composed of 4,535 metric tons of concrete, which makes this ancient building even more impressive when you think about how many cranes they had (none!). Today, the Pantheon is still in use as a church where Mass is celebrated, particularly for weddings and on significant Catholic holidays. Continue reading

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Breaking It Down: What’s In Concrete?

Concrete WorkConcrete is a plastic liquid, made of aggregate, water and cement. This substance is used in nearly every structure today, but not everyone knows exactly what goes into the common mixture. Even thousands of years ago, the Romans were familiar with the process and used concrete often in their construction. Use of concrete was infrequent after the Roman Empire fell until it was rediscovered in the 18th century. Many people these days often confuse concrete with cement. The truth is that cement is one of the ingredients in concrete. There are many different recipes for concrete, but the basics do not change much. Continue reading

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Highlighted Product: Volcano Rod

THE ELECTRIC SAND PILE HEATER heats all day while you work. This happens in the following three ways:

  1. Heat from the ground below the sand pile moves up through the sand.
  2. Heat radiates from the water barrel in the center of the sand pile.
  3. Heat lost through the top forms a heated air shield between the whole top surface of the sand and the tarp.

KEEPS SAND PILES FROM FREEZING
Built specifically for wintertime masonry use, the heater constantly warms water and sand. The unit has an internal thermostat which will cycle on and off intermittently and will keep up to 5 tons of sand and 50 gallons of water hot when temperatures are as low as one degree below zero. The cost is estimated at only $2.94 per day maximum, based on 7.5? per kilowatt hour; actual cost per day may vary.

SAVES LABOR
The unit will pay for itself in less than TWO cold weeks of use! It saves on labor because employees do not spend an hour or two each winter day thawing the water and sand pile.

INCREASES TIME FOR PRODUCTION
Masons can immediately start working because the water and sand are hot when they arrive at work. Two hours saved on a cold morning in an 8 hour workday equals a 30% increase in available production time that day.

ONE PIECE, ALL STAINLESS STEEL CONSTRUCTION
Built for ruggedness, easy to transport, and economical to operate. The electric volcano rod will heat the sand pile, when the volcano rod is in a steel barrel filled with water and placed in the center of the sand pile. It is important to keep the bottom of the water barrel free of debris. If the volcono rod becomes covered with debris, it can cause the volcano rod to overheat and burn out.

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5 Surprisingly Fun and Romantic Ideas Using Concrete

Happy Valentine’s Day! Who knew concrete could be fun and romantic? Here are five surprising and inspirational ways to creatively express how you feel about your loved ones. Don’t forget, you can use these suggestions year round, not just for Valentine’s Day. For those of us in colder weather, it might be a little more practical to wait for the warmth!

Concrete Solutions - inscribed message concrete garden decoration.1. Set it in stone. Commission a concrete block, inscribed with your favorite poem, quote, or a simple “I love you” message.  The right design makes a great garden ornament or patio block, or you can also design pieces for the interior of your abode.

2. Give roses that never wilt. Did you know that concrete can be dyed to match almost any color? Let your artistic side shine and design a red rose floor for your garden patio.

Concrete Solutions - fun chess garden3. Build a giant board game in your backyard. Classic examples include life size chess and checkerboards, complete with lightweight game pieces. Invite your friends over for some live action gaming. You can always think outside the box for something more active, and build your own version of your favorite game. Who hasn’t dreamed of playing Chutes and Ladders in real life?

4. Adopt a fish pond. Concrete makes a great foundation for decorative ponds. You’ll need to test the waters with a pH test kit before you add any fish to make sure your water is safe for marine life. Some types of concrete can contaminate the water with toxic chemicals, and dead fish are never romantic.

5. Add functionality. Sundials are classy and useful additions to any garden, not to mention educational. Show your family and visitors how to tell time by the sun and become more in tune with nature.

Do you have any creative or romantic ideas using concrete? We’d love to hear your suggestions on our Facebook page! Have a more “concrete” plan? Contact us or request a quote to get started.

“Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete.” – Carter Heywood