Cement Admixture for Residential Patio

Why Concrete Admixtures Are Necessary for Residential Patio Construction

When constructing a concrete patio, contractors must use cement that can handle weight-bearing elements, freezing and thawing, rain, and wear. Regular Portland cement, used to form the concrete found in many patios, on its own lacks the properties necessary to handle typical patio conditions. However, contractors can integrate admixtures during the concrete mixing process to give the concrete the necessary strength and durability need for a long operational life.

Compressive and Flexural Strength

Contractors can obtain high-strength concrete using chemical admixtures like water reducers or mineral admixtures like condensed silica fume that can greatly increase concrete strength. Water reducers, particularly high-range water reducers (or superplasticizers), can provide flowable concrete of high strength and workability that is often ideal for residential patio construction.  

Reduced Permeability 

Residential patios must be able to withstand varying temperatures that, depending on the region, may be extreme. They must also be able to handle a continuous cycle of freezing and thawing without significant damage. Silica fume and fly ash can help reduce permeability by filling in the microscopic gaps in the concrete. Air entrainers help create a series of microscopic air bubbles in the concrete during the mixing process that helps relieve the pressure created by freezing water.

Reinforcement

Many residential concrete patios are constructed with rebar to minimize cracking and keep concrete even and level. Rebar is crucial if the patio is expected to bear heavy weight, such as that of a hot tub or pool, as the reinforcement will improve the concrete’s overall tensile strength. However, contractors should incorporate corrosion and rust inhibitors to reduce the risk of spalling in reinforced concrete, especially in coastal marine environments.

Durability

Contractors must also use concrete that is highly resistant to abrasion and unlikely to suffer from delamination or scaling. They can mitigate the risk of delamination by avoiding sealing concrete early and using accelerating admixtures to help ensure the concrete cures evenly. Additionally, air-entrainers and permeability-reducing admixtures can help reduce the risk of scaling.

Efflorescence

Avoiding unsightly and damaging efflorescence starts with the use of a low-alkali Portland cement and salt-free water. A low water to cement ratio can also help mitigate the risk of efflorescence and can be achieved by using water-reducing admixtures. Water transports salt to the surface, so reducing it as much as possible can prevent it from appearing on the finished patio.

Site Preparation

Contractors must also consider the technical specifications for the job, including aesthetics and features. For example, a patio design may require highly workable concrete to install certain elements like an outdoor fireplace or built-in seating. Moreover, there may be job site requirements, such as high temperatures, excessive moisture from a nearby water source, or proximity to electrical, plumbing, or septic systems that may require the use of one or several admixtures to provide concrete with the necessary properties for the job.

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