Concrete Use in Self Build House Foundations
Although building concrete in liquid form looks like unimpressive grey porridge, it is actually a complex mixture of materials and should not be taken for granted by house builders.
Some common mistakes made in the use of concrete for house building projects include the following:
Lack of preparation of the building site and foundation area leading to delays to placing the concrete into the foundations. Be prepared to immediately pour the concrete in as soon as it is delivered. The faster the concrete is placed in the foundations, the stronger its internal bonds will be. Delays on site in pouring concrete may allow it to partially set, requiring agitation to allow it to be poured and this agitation will result in a weaker final bond.
Adding water to allow easier pouring. Although a high ratio of cement to water can make concrete difficult to handle, many self builders add more water to facilitate easier and faster pouring. Doing so will alter the precisely controlled mix of materials that gives concrete its excellent house building properties as well as creating gaps or bubbles within the concrete, leading to problems with strength and durability.
Placing concrete in the wrong weather or temperature conditions. Never place concrete in very cold or frozen ground. Check the temperature on your building site and if it is below 5 degrees Celsius consider delaying the delivery of the concrete until the ground temperature increases.
Letting concrete dry out too fast during the curing process. Concrete must be regularly monitored during the time it takes to cure, that is to harden and produce strong bonds. Keeping the concrete covered with an impermeable barrier such as plastic sheeting and applying a light spray of water should reduce the chances of cracks appearing.
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