When most people think of concrete, they think of sidewalks, driveways, and other paved surfaces like a basketball court or wheelchair ramp. To many, all concrete is the same. It is grey in color and is usually used for hardscaping in residential and commercial areas. The general assumption is that most concrete is the same, and that is right in the sense that it is a liquid solution that hardens for pedestrian and vehicular use. However, there are numerous types of mixes which each have a specific use.
Normal/Standard: This is the type of solution you can find at your local home improvement store, and something Athens Concrete Co., uses often. It is often used for home projects. It is simple to mix and use which is why many homeowners prefer this mix. It comes packaged in large bags which each have their own set of instructions to follow. The instructions will detail the best mixing procedures for that specific cement. However, you may have to supply your own aggregate which you will need to wash before you add it to the mix. This will remove leaves and dirt and will help the powder mix stick to the aggregate to create a stronger material. On average, this type of mix will take 30 to 90 minutes to set, but this may vary depending on the weather and humidity. After about seven days it will be able to withstand pressure and should be at about 100% strength by 90 days.
High Strength: A high strength solution can be achieved by lowering the water to cement ration in your mix. Because there is less water in the mix, it will be significantly harder to work with which can be a problem if you are planning to use rebar inside the cement. It can also be challenging to ensure the cement fills in evenly because the mixture will be so thick. However, this mix is ideal for projects where you may be putting a lot of weight or pressure on the slab.
High performance: This type of mix is often used in areas that will be used frequently like major roadways or highways. The strength is very high and it is also fairly easy to use, making it ideal for larger industrial projects. High performance does not always mean high strength. Compared to a high strength mix, the high performance is significantly more workable and has greater strength in a short amount of time. It should withstand the test of time better than a normal or high strength mix as well.
Lightweight: If you are planning a concrete project, but you do not need many of its strength properties, lightweight may be your best option. Your project may be just for décors like a curbing around a wall or a small courtyard wall. These uses are primarily aesthetic, and while the mix will withstand human weight and weather, it is not made for heavy duty strength tests. This mix sacrifices strength in exchange for lighter weight. It uses lighter weight aggregates which are usually more porous. Air may be pumped into the mix as well to decrease the weight of the solution.