Have you ever had to order ready mix concrete? Unless you’re someone who works in the industry the answer is most likely no. But if you’re a DIYer or someone who’s looking to start working with concrete there is a lot of information you need to know (more than I can fit into this single blog post actually). My goal here is to lay out some basic information about ordering ready mixed concrete that’ll help you along.
In short: Here’s what you need to know
How much concrete will you need?
Length, width, height/thickness?
What strength do you need?
3000 PSI mix? 4000 PSI mix?
What is the concrete going to be used for?
Inside? Outside? Garage floor? Industrial building?
When will you need it?
Where do you need it?
Address and specific location at that address
What is Ready Mixed Concrete?
Concrete, ready mixed concrete or ready mix is the mixture of all the materials that used to make the final product. I. E. Concrete. The first material is Cement and cementitious materials. The term “cement” is commonly used incorrectly in place of the term “concrete” when in fact cement is just one ingredient in concrete. Cement is basically the glue that holds everything else in concrete together. Other cementitious materials used to make concrete include Slag and Fly Ash. These materials are used to give concrete different desirable characteristics. The next few ingredients don’t require any explanation as you’re most likely very familiar with them. They are water, sand and gravel/crushed stone. All of these materials are “batched” together at the concrete plant then mixed in a ready mix concrete truck in an unhardened state. Then it’s delivered to your site in that truck.
Mixing different proportions of these basic materials is what gives different mixes different strengths and different desirable characteristics. When freshly mixed concrete is of a plastic workable consistency. When in this unhardened state concrete can be cast into virtually any desired shape. Designing specific mixes for specific uses can result a wide range of applications. Even different colors and textures.
How to order Ready Mixed Concrete
When ordering ready mixed concrete the ready mix producer will need some basic details about what you need as they’ll have many different mix designs for different purposes. Most applications will have a coarse aggregate (stone) in the range of about ¾ of an inch. But there are specific uses of concrete that may require smaller coarse aggregates. For example a smaller aggregate may be needed for the concrete to flow around reinforcing steel. The slump is a measure of the concretes consistency. It is measured in inches. A “stiffer” mix will have a low slump value while a “wetter” mix will have a higher slump value. Most applications will call for a slump of 5 inches give or take 1 inch. Some applications will allow for a higher slump but usually no greater than 7 inches. When the ready mix concrete truck arrives on your job site water can be added to the mix to adjust the slump to your specific needs providing that it is not excessive enough to cause segregation of the mix and causing greatly reduced strength. Another thing to keep in mind when ordering concrete is entrained air. This is especially important if your concrete is going to be used outside and will be exposed to freezing temperatures throughout its life. Generally air-entrained concrete is the default, so if your application requires no air-entrapment then this should be clearly stated when you order your concrete. Another important thing to state when you order concrete is the strength of the concrete you’ll need. For example 3000 PSI, 4000 PSI or even 5000 PSI. When I say 3000 PSI that means the concrete can withstand a compression force of 3000 Pounds Per Square Inch. So in this way a higher value means the concrete can withstand a higher compression load and a lower number can only withstand a lower compression load. But not every application requires a high strength high PSI value. Knowing the quantity of concrete you’ll need is also very important. On our website we have a very valuable tool for calculating the volume of concrete you’ll need. Concrete is sold in cubic yards in the unhardened freshly mixed state. One cubic yard of concrete is 3’x3’x3’ (if poured into a perfect box) and weighs about 4000 pounds. When you calculate the volume of concrete you’ll need to add 5-10% to account for spillage, over excavation of the subbase, form spread and settlement. Concrete will also lose 1-2% of its volume when it is fully hardened. At this point there are a lot of admixtures that can be added to your concrete. There are chemicals that can be added to retard the curing process and chemicals that can be added to accelerate the curing of your concrete. Fibers can be added for more strength as well as colors. Be sure to ask what admixtures you may want depending on the conditions and use of your concrete. Scheduling delivery is also an important aspect of ordering concrete. Be sure to call your ready mix supplier well ahead of when you’ll need it and make sure they know if your needs change ahead of when the truck hits the road. We’ll also need to know where the concrete is going. You should have an address ready that can be used to locate the jobsite and also where within the jobsite the concrete is needed. Whether it’s your back yard or inside of a factory. You should also make sure the truck can get to where you need the concrete placed. Ready Mix Concrete Trucks are very large. They stand 13 foot 3 inches tall and are close to 35 feet long. They also weigh close to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded.
Hopefully this information is useful and helpful for you DIYers out there or anyone who’s looking for information on ordering concrete. Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact us here at Banas Concrete service with any questions you may have. We have a lot of experience and knowledge surrounding the production of ready mix concrete.
Concrete in Practice, CIP31 “What, Why & How? Ordering Ready Mixed Concrete”
ASTM C 94, Standard Specification for Ready Mixed Concrete, Vol. 04.02, American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshocken, PA.
Ready Mixed Concrete, Richard D. Gaynor, NRMCA Publication 186, NRMCA, Silver Spring, MD.
Guide for Measuring, Mxing, Transporting and Placing Concrete, ACI 304R, American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI.
“What is Ready Mix Concrete Composed of?”, Ready Mix Mastour, https://mastourreadymix.wordpress.com/tag/best-quality-of-ready-mix-and-concrete-in-jeddah-and-khamis-mushyet-saudi-arabia/