If you are the owner of a construction company, then you need to learn to work with liquid and solid concrete. Working with concrete requires skill, thoughtfulness, and determination. You need to learn to mix, plan, pour, level, and safely handle it. Anybody who has ever worked with the material before will be able to tell you that concrete is not very forgiving, either. This means that a small mistake could be very costly.
This post will tell you how you can work with large amounts of liquid and solid concrete.
One of the first steps that you need to take if you want to work with concrete is to invest in equipment. A skid steer is a vehicle that’s common on most construction sites. There are a lot of premium made skid steer attachments on the market. One popular attachment for skid steers is concrete mixers. Investing in a concrete mixer attachment for your skid steer will make transporting, handling, and mixing concrete a lot easier. It’ll also save you the trouble of having to buy a freestanding mixer, which has to be transported around the site by hand or on the back of a vehicle. You also need to invest in wheelbarrows, vapor retarders, saws, floats, groove cutters, buckets, and for your staff, work boots, safety glasses, shovels, gloves, tape measures, and digger bars. Not having the right equipment will make your team’s lives much more challenging.
Before you can start working with concrete, you need to find the type that’s right for you and your project. You can buy concrete in bulk from industrial supply stores. The type that you need to use depends on the project you are doing. The main types are a general-purpose fast-setting concrete mix, a general-purpose high-strength concrete mix, and a concrete countertop mix. These types are set at different speeds. Educate yourself about how fast the type that you are using sets so that you don’t end up walking on it or dropping anything in it too soon.
When using concrete, your staff needs to be cautious. Bags of concrete can be very heavy. You need to teach your staff how to lift properly, using their legs. Improper training could lead to them injuring themselves. If you never taught them how to lift on-site, then they could take legal action against you, and basically say that it was your fault that they injured themselves. This happens quite often, unfortunately. Also, concrete can cause chemical burns, so make sure that your staff has gloves on whenever they are handling and using it.
Proper mixing is essential. If concrete isn’t mixed properly, then it won’t set well or could crack a lot more easily. Going back to training, the best way to ensure that your staff knows how to mix concrete is to sign them up for a training course (or employ somebody to come onto your site and train them). It is a good idea to hire staff who are already experienced in construction so that you can save money on training. If somebody’s had prior experience working with it before, then there is no need to train them in any way.
Depending upon the project that you are working on, you may need to add color to the concrete you are using. Adding color can completely change the way that concrete looks, transforming it from a dull grey to a red (if you use a red dye). You can stain concrete after it’s set, but if any color needs to be added in then it’s a lot easier to use a liquid dye beforehand. The dyes you can buy in most industrial stores are in earth colors, like red, orange, brown, and black. You may be able to order brighter colors online.
Finally, you need to keep concrete damp when it’s curing. A lot of people make the mistake of leaving concrete to cure without returning to check that it’s still moist. If the water evaporates too quickly from concrete, then it can begin cracking once it’s set. If it cracks, then your project could be dangerous (if you’re building a structure) or you could just end up having to come back and do it again for your clients. You should appoint a member of staff to make sure that your curing concrete maintains its moistness so that no cracking occurs.
There is a lot that you need to learn before you can work with concrete. Make sure that your staff are fully trained and know how to use it, too. If they don’t then they could end up injuring themselves, and others, or just wasting your company’s time and money.