Sure, replacing a concrete foundation or other structure with concrete makes perfect sense. It was, after all, designed for concrete. In a vacuum, replacing it makes sense. However, construction and maintenance projects in today’s industrial environments are subject to a wide range of constraints and obstacles that make what sounds simple complex. Clients have market and economic pressures that are driving them to require you meet a schedule that doesn’t’ seem realistic using conventional construction materials and techniques. And you’re right.
Time to Go Unconventional
There are options available today that, in the past, had been considered “patching” or “repair” products. The old “patches” have become widely varied in working time, redesigned for larger pours and accelerated for faster strength gain. These products are now considered a common way to address the need to replace concrete and still stay on schedule. Let’s take a look at these common attributes.
Many products available today have longer working times and gain strength at rate similar to traffic bearing patching materials. Advanced additives and more exotic cements have allowed for extended time for placement in some cases up to 2-3 hours.
Most of these “concrete replacements” can be extended with gravel. This extension helps to bring down the cost making it affordable when you consider the labor and schedule factors for the project. Special packaging and unique equipment will offer you the opportunity to drastically reduce your labor on large placements by eliminating bag breaking all together. Plus, you’re not dependent on the ready-mix plant’s availability. You can do it when you need to.
Faster Strength Gain
All of these materials offer higher strengths faster that conventional concrete. In some cases, you could drill or prep the new concrete in just a few hours. Most will achieve strengths in 4-24 hours that conventional concrete will achieve in 28 days. This speed is a real schedule saver if you’re behind on a project or maintenance outage.
The combination of increased working time, fast strength gain and the ability to make large mass placements make concrete replacements a much more viable option on many projects.