Concrete Contractors Colorado Springs is a critical component of many structures. Whether the masonry is used in an office building or a hospital, knowledgeable and trained inspectors must ensure that construction techniques are consistent with project specifications.
These individuals might be masons, general contractors, or engineers, depending on their role. Municipal or jurisdictional building inspectors might focus on structural-related items, such as reinforcement size and placement or connector spacing.
The W/C ratio is determined by the amount of water added to the cement and aggregate mix. A well-balanced mixture has a maximum W/C ratio of 0.42. The water in the concrete must be sufficient to allow for complete hydration of the cement and to lubricate the aggregates. Excess water that does not react with the cement occupies pore space in the concrete microstructure, reducing its strength.
To achieve a good W/C ratio, the concrete must be properly mixed and compacted. The concrete must also be cured to prevent cracking and settling. A concrete contractor should be familiar with the proper mixing and curing procedures for various types of concrete.
Masonry structures can range from single-story buildings to multistory load-bearing projects and are used in every type of building occupancy, including residential, commercial, and manufacturing facilities. The complexity and variety of masonry construction continue to evolve, making it even more important that masons use the proper materials and follow accurate testing and inspection procedures.
Technical committees of ASTM International establish testing and sampling procedures for concrete masonry materials and assemblages. These standards are developed with the expertise of researchers, concrete masonry manufacturers, designers, and contractors. They are based on consensus procedures and reflect the best available knowledge of how to sample, test, and inspect concrete masonry.
In addition to the above, a quality masonry company will offer services such as foundation repair/waterproofing, masonry tuckpointing, stonework, and turning crawl spaces into full basements. These services will protect your house from flooding and other weather-related issues. In addition, it will help your family live a healthier life by keeping the temperature stable in all seasons.
Aggregate plays a major role in concrete freshness and hardening. Changing the gradation of aggregate can significantly alter the quality of the concrete produced. Generally, the aggregate must be of good quality and free of excessive fines or other contaminants that can affect cement hydration and interfere with the bond between coarse and fine particles. It is also important to make sure the aggregate is well-shaped. Aggregates that are too angular can result in structural damage and loss of strength. In addition, they can cause surface defects such as popouts.
The grading of an aggregate is determined by the particle-size distribution (PSD). Particles retained on a 4.75-mm sieve are considered coarse, and those that pass the size are considered fine aggregates. Fine aggregates form a significant proportion of the concrete mix. Selecting an aggregate with a PSD close to the desired value specified by the project engineer is crucial.
A good aggregate is rounded and can be obtained from natural sources such as seashore gravels or crushed stones. Rounded aggregates provide a minimum percentage of voids and give more workability. However, they are unsuitable for high-strength concrete because of their lower interlocking capacity and weaker bond strength with the mortar.
The aggregates used in masonry construction must have the right maximum size limit to ensure proper blending of the materials and adequate workability. Choosing an aggregate that is too large can increase the water and cement requirements of the mix and decrease its strength. On the other hand, an aggregate that is too small can lead to segregation and poor workability.
Various aggregates manufacture concrete, including fly ash, river sand, silica sand, suki, burnt clays, cinders, and other waste materials. However, the quality of the aggregates used in concrete depends on the type of material and the placement method. For example, brick chips and crushed stone are coarse aggregates, while sand and gravel are fine aggregates.
Using the wrong aggregate can lead to the failure of a concrete structure. Contractors should regularly check aggregates’ gradation and moisture content to ensure their quality. Moreover, concrete should be used with an optimal gradation consistent with the specific project requirements and construction method. Besides, they should regularly monitor the moisture contents of coarse and fine aggregates to promote batch-to-batch consistency.
Masonry construction is often subject to moisture and requires special considerations to maintain its integrity. The compressive strength of brick and cement mortar is significantly reduced in wet conditions. Likewise, the shear and bond strengths of concrete masonry are reduced. In addition, masonry structures are generally vulnerable to extreme weather events such as high winds and floods.
In many areas, inspection requirements for masonry are based on the provisions of a specific building code, such as the International Building Code (IBC). While these inspection standards provide excellent guidelines, the required inspection remains a source of debate and confusion.
The type of inspections performed and how frequently they are conducted also significantly impact the quality of the masonry constructed. Educated and knowledgeable inspectors who understand the material properties of masonry and how they react to environmental stresses can assist in meeting and maintaining these requirements.
While the curing process that CMUs undergo after forming limits shrinkage cracking and permeability, it does not completely prevent moisture migration within the unit walls. That can result in hairline cracks, which provide pathways for water penetration.
Different moisture resistance treatments are available for concrete masonry, including integral and surface treatment products. Integral products are polymeric products incorporated into the masonry during manufacture to reduce water absorption and subsequent migration. They are generally applied like standard masonry admixtures such as fly ash or Portland cement.
Surface-applied treatments include clear silanes, siloxanes, and acrylics. These clear products form a waterproof barrier on the masonry surfaces, which can reduce the amount of water that penetrates. They are often easier to apply and dry quickly and offer good chalk resistance. However, they do not bridge cracks and voids, so they should be used to clean, air-dry masonry surfaces.
Paints containing alkali-resistant resins are another method for moisture resistance for masonry surfaces. They can be brushed, roller, or spray applied, providing excellent hiding characteristics and durable, flexible, breathable protection. Butadiene-styrene or polyvinyl acetate emulsion paints are examples of these types of paints.
Concrete masonry is durable, long-lived, and requires little maintenance. It also uses minimum energy and other resources for construction, needs minimal repairs and re-use of materials throughout its service life, and does not produce greenhouse gases during manufacture or use. The energy savings, resilience, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions from using concrete masonry more than offset the initial investment.
Non-combustible concrete and masonry construction can help communities achieve their sustainability goals and provide fire resistance that is unavailable with other construction alternatives. Durable concrete masonry construction is also an effective means of providing fire containment in multi-family buildings, where the compartmentalization of units can prevent fire spread from one unit to another.
The strength of concrete masonry helps to resist externally applied forces such as high winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The lateral stiffness of concrete masonry, combined with reinforcement, can withstand significant forces without cracking or distortion. Concrete masonry is also highly resistant to seismic forces compared with other types of building construction.
While concrete masonry is a durable material, the external surfaces will eventually show signs of deterioration. That is due to natural weathering processes, including cyclic wetting and drying, leaching, freeze-thaw mechanisms, salt crystallization, and carbonation. Choosing a quality construction method and a reputable masonry contractor who will properly maintain the concrete once it has been installed is important.
Masonry can be made with recycled aggregates, which can increase the project’s environmental benefits. The recycled material must be free of oil, metals, and other contaminants and have a good particle size distribution. Incorporating a crystalline water admixture into the concrete mixture is also beneficial. This admixture has been shown to improve the durability of recycled aggregate concrete. That has been proven for freeze-thaw resistance, but further research is required to confirm the positive impact of crystalline admixture on carbonation depth.
The degree of inspection required for a particular project depends on the scope of work and the design of the masonry structure. Engineers, architects, and general contractors may focus on a masonry project’s aesthetic, weatherproofing, and serviceability aspects. At the same time, municipal building inspectors may concentrate more on structural-related items such as proper connections, reinforcing steel size and location, and connector spacing. An individual designated as a masonry inspector is typically familiar with masonry construction and can read plans and specifications effectively to determine whether construction is in conformance with the project requirements.
concrete, concrete masonry, concrete installation, concrete maintenance, concrete repair, concrete driveway