Concrete is a construction material that is used in building structures and landscape architecture. It is comprised of aggregates (sand, gravel, broken stone, etc.), cement binder, and water. After being mixed and formed into shape, the cement hydrates and then hardens into a resilient rock-like material.
Portland cement is the most common type of concrete. It uses a mixture of portland cement concrete, admixtures, fine and course aggregates, and other substances with cement-like characteristics such as fly ash and water. The water-to-cement ratio is the key that determines the strength of concrete, while the aggregates provide bulk, and in some cases, decoration.
Concrete is functional, durable, and used for a diverse range of uses in and around the home. This is an eco-friendly building material comprised of some of the most abundant mineral sources. It effectively resists collecting dirt, pollen, and allergens while emitting no off-gasses or fumes. It can be used for structural purposes in foundations and basements and reinforced with steel bars for high stress conditions such as transportation structures and slab construction.
Concrete can aesthetically compliment the functional purposes of driveways and patios with unique textures and designs, or used for purely decorative objects like fountains and landscape borders. River stones, quartzite, and other decorative stones can be added to a cement surfaces to provide the type of exposed aggregate finishes popular in landscape features.
It is most frequently used by do-it-yourselfers in constructing sidewalks and patios. Both sidewalks and patios require planning, the purchase of materials and tools, and possibility of needing to rent automatic concrete mixer. The workability of a type of concrete for a particular project depends on the water content, additives, aggregates, and the ratios in which they are used. Concrete is commonly available to the public in regular packaged forms. It is important to minimize stress to drying concrete in order to prevent cracking. When a concrete material is deformed or permanently misshaped while compensating for stress, it is called a creep.