Natural Remedies for Pest Control: Eco-Friendly Solutions

Pest Control Fort Worth TX involves eliminating or managing unwanted creatures, such as rodents, cockroaches and termites. It is an important service that protects homes, businesses and the environment from disease-causing pests.

Clutter provides hiding and breeding places for pests. Regularly clean and clear spaces to prevent infestations. Blocking entry points helps to keep pests out, such as caulking cracks and filling gaps.

Difference between Pest Control and Exterminators — Mother Nature's Pest &  Lawn

Pest control involves managing unwanted organisms (insects, weeds, viruses, nematodes, etc.) that negatively affect human crops, food, property, and health. Managing pests can include natural, biological, chemical, cultural, and regulatory controls. Natural controls involve environmental factors that limit the number or distribution of pests, while biological controls utilize natural enemies to injure or consume target organisms. Chemical controls use synthetic or natural chemicals to directly impact pest populations. Cultural and mechanical controls modify environmental factors to make them less suitable for pests and more suitable for desirable plants, animals, and humans. Regulatory controls use laws and regulations to improve management practices to prevent pest infestations.

Workplace safety is a concern for both workers and business owners when dealing with pests. Pests can contaminate food and water sources in break rooms, kitchens, and storage areas, leading to illnesses like salmonellosis and gastroenteritis. They can also create a fearful or unsanitary working environmentand they may even cause structural damage by chewing through wiring.

Workers who conduct pest control can face a variety of physical and psychological hazards, including the risk of poisoning by chemicals used to kill or eradicate pests, skin exposure, and lung irritation from inhaling fumes. Proper ventilation can help to disperse fumes, and it is recommended that workers wear long sleeves and pants, a face mask, and waterproof gloves when mixing and applying pesticides. It is also important that they follow all label instructions and dispose of unused pesticides in accordance with regulations.

The EPA defines a pest as any organism that is detrimental to people, property, or the ecosystem. Pests can destroy agricultural crops, degrade landscapes, and damage buildings and other structures. They can also carry diseases and irritate people, pets, and livestock. In addition, some pests can bite or sting and cause allergic reactions, such as from fleas, cockroaches, bed bugs, and wood-destroying bees and wasps. Pests can also spoil foods, stain clothes and furniture, and cause a bad smell. They can also clog drains and pipes, and contaminate water and soil. They can also cause fires when they come into contact with electrical wires.

Damage to Property

Pest infestations can damage a property in many ways, from structural problems that require costly repairs to health hazards and loss of value. For this reason, preventative pest control is a key aspect of maintaining property value. Regular pest inspections can detect signs of infestation early, allowing for prompt treatment that minimizes property damage.

For example, termites can silently erode foundations and other parts of buildings, causing significant structural damage and costing thousands in repair costs. Rodents can chew through electrical wiring and other essential systems, leading to expensive and dangerous fire hazards. Other insects, like cockroaches and bed bugs, can leave itchy welts on the skin, triggering allergies and asthma and raising medical bills.

While a small infestation may be handled with over-the-counter products, it’s important to work with a licensed professional for any serious pest problems. These experts can identify the source of the problem and recommend long-term solutions that will prevent future infestations. Additionally, they can advise property management companies on best practices for keeping pests at bay, such as storing food in sealed containers and avoiding over-crowding areas of the property.

A pest infestation can also affect a company’s reputation and lead to loss of business. Potential clients may avoid a company if they hear of a pest infestation, and current tenants may seek other properties to rent. This is especially true if the pests are visible, such as roaches crawling over the front door or ants marching through the living space.

In addition, the cost of addressing pest problems can increase operational expenses. Cleaning and repairing the damage caused by pests requires additional staff time, construction materials, and other resources. This is why it’s important for a property management company to have a pest control liability insurance policy in place. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protected against pest damage is worth the extra expense, both for the company and its clients. To find the best policy, make a list of your priorities and shop around to find the right one for your needs.

Eco-Friendly Solutions

Many traditional pest control methods use harsh chemicals, which can pose health risks to humans and pets. These toxins can also cause damage to the environment, leading to an imbalance in the ecosystem. Eco-friendly solutions focus on prioritizing human safety while simultaneously addressing the underlying issues that lead to pest infestations.

In addition to the health benefits of going green, eco-friendly pest control is a more effective and long-term solution. Many chemical pesticides provide only temporary relief, while eco-friendly practices help keep pests away for good.

A wide variety of organic solutions can be used to combat common household and garden pests, including essential oils, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps, natural predators, nematodes, and plant-based deterrents. These biological agents can effectively manage pest populations without causing harm to the environment or humans.

In addition to these organic options, simple home and garden maintenance can help prevent pests from taking up residence in your property. Eliminating sources of food and shelter by cleaning cluttered spaces, sealing cracks around doors and windows, and storing food in air-tight containers can all make your property less appealing to pests.

Choosing the right plants for your garden can also prevent unwanted visitors. Certain flowers, like marigolds and neem, act as natural insect repellents, while crops that produce nectar and pollen can attract beneficial insects to your garden and control pest populations.

Another popular form of eco-friendly pest control is the use of bait stations. These are specially designed containers where rodents and other pests can be lured using purpose-selected bait, then trapped without affecting the surrounding ecosystem.

Other eco-friendly pest control measures that are commonly used include the installation of door sweeps and screens, mowing the lawn to 3 – 4 inches and removing leaf debris from yards, securing trash cans and recycling bins, repairing leaks, and planting a diversity of plant species around the property. These environmental conscious practices will make your property unattractive to pests, making it a more pleasant place for you and your family.

Prevention

The smallest cracks and crevices in your house provide pests with an easy entrance to your property. Pests like rodents, cockroaches, ants and bed bugs are capable of squeezing through as little as 1 cm.

These pests cause damage not only to your personal belongings but also to the health of humans and pets. They may spread diseases through their droppings, feces or saliva. The allergens they leave behind on surfaces and in air can aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions. They are not only annoying but also costly to remove. The best way to deal with these pesky creatures is to prevent them from invading in the first place.

Rodents and insects can damage your building structure and electrical wirings. They may also contaminate food or cause disease through their saliva, feces or stings. Pests also leave behind a lot of dust and debris that can exacerbate allergies.

Enclosed spaces like homes, schools, offices, warehouses, hospitals and hotels are more likely to experience a pest infestation. Some pests can even destroy the integrity of a building’s structure.

There are several methods for controlling a pest: prevention, suppression and eradication. Prevention involves preventing a pest from becoming a problem in the first place, while suppression is about reducing a pest population to an acceptable level after it has already become a nuisance. Eradication is rarely achieved in outdoor pest control situations, but it is often the goal of indoor pest control programs (like Mediterranean fruit fly, gypsy moth, and fire ant control).

Prevention is the most important step to avoiding a pest infestation. It involves limiting the amount of food, water and shelter that is available to the pests. It also includes removing the things that attract them. This can include spider webs, discarded egg cases and wasp or mud dauber nests.

It is also important to seal any cracks and crevices in your home, especially the ones that are connected to the outside, and make sure doors and windows close tightly. In addition, keep kitchen counters and pantries clean, store food in airtight containers, and dispose of garbage regularly.

How Much Does A Concrete Driveway Cost?

Soil unsuited to support concrete is not a good choice for Concrete Driveway. Organic soils are great for gardens, but they aren’t good for concrete support. This soil type is expansive, meaning it expands and contracts when wet, offering little support. Mixed sand and gravel soils tend to drain well and compact well. Soil composed of solid rock, such as limestone and granite, provides excellent support. Granular soils are composed of sand, clay, and other materials.

Cost Of Concrete Driveway Installation

real estateThe cost of a concrete driveway varies depending on the design, size, and features you desire. The time it will take to complete the project will depend on factors such as slope and natural growth. In addition, special stains, borders, and embellishments may increase the cost. In general, the larger the driveway, the higher the price. Then there are the costs of materials and tools, which can add up quickly. Before you hire someone to install your concrete driveway, consider the following factors before deciding on a specific cost range.

The cost of concrete driveways varies widely, depending on design and thickness. Colored concrete driveways typically cost $10 to $15 per square foot. Decorative features such as stamped patterns and borders can add another $10 to $20 per square foot. However, these features aren’t required for most driveways. You may be able to save a few dollars per square foot by using a decorative element such as a flower bed or a butterfly garden.

Another factor that affects the price of a concrete driveway is labor. Since pouring concrete is a complicated process that requires precision, most homeowners hire a team of concrete contractors to complete the project. It can also take several days to complete. A company that hauls in premixed concrete is most efficient and economical. But be prepared for a higher cost than you anticipated. It is best to budget at least three or four thousand dollars for this project.

The type of concrete driveway you choose will determine how much you spend. You can choose a plain, gray concrete driveway or one that mimics pavers or stones. A concrete driveway can last for decades. However, it is important to note that a poorly-built concrete driveway will crack over time. But if you’re looking to increase your home’s value, a nice driveway can be an excellent investment. You’ll want to consider these factors before making a decision.

Concrete driveway contractors will need to determine how much time they will need to finish the job. Whether the driveway requires additional work or a simple repair, it’s best to consult with a contractor to find out how much the job will cost. You should consider whether the concrete is decorative or otherwise. For example, decorative concrete can be costly to repair and requires more extensive work. Finally, you should consider the materials and installation time.

A basic gray concrete driveway will cost between $5 and $12 per square foot. For more elaborate projects, like adding stains and primary borders, the price can reach up to $10 or $20 per square foot. The price for an average driveway will vary from state to state and the contractor’s experience. If you’re not sure whether a concrete driveway will work for you, make sure to check with your local building code to ensure it will be safe for your home and your car.

Types Of Concrete Driveways

If you’re thinking about installing a concrete driveway in your yard, there are a few things you need to consider. First, you need to know what the process entails. You need to know how much the process will cost you before you hire a company. Next, you should know how much the actual installation of the driveway will cost. Make sure you plan ahead of time and have a realistic budget. Once you’ve decided what you want your driveway to look like, you can start deciding what kind of concrete driveway is right for you.

For example, stamped concrete driveways are another option for concrete driveways. These types of driveways have patterns that mimic stone, brick, and even broom finish materials. You can also get concrete driveways with textured finishes, such as swirl, bromide, or exposed aggregate. The design process begins with site preparation and then progresses to the actual installation process. If you’re planning to install a stamped concrete driveway in your yard, make sure to choose a service with years of experience. Lastly, make sure that you weigh the cost against the aesthetics of a concrete driveway.

For the ultimate in aesthetic appeal, you’ll want to consider a concrete driveway with aggregate. These driveways contain a mix of regular concrete, gravel, or multi-colored aggregate. The aggregate is then sanded down to create a textured and nuanced look. This option can help increase curb appeal while being extremely durable. However, you should choose concrete with high quality and proper installation to ensure a beautiful and functional driveway.

Another option for a driveway is stenciled concrete. Stenciled concrete can be patterned to resemble pavers, brickwork, slate, or tiles. Stenciled concrete provides a wide variety of patterns and is very durable. Because it is made of a variety of aggregates, it’s best to choose a driveway that features an attractive natural setting. These driveways are especially beautiful around natural settings and are durable and long-lasting.

There are two main types of concrete driveways. For passenger cars, a standard driveway is made of non-reinforced pavement, while heavier vehicles require a thicker concrete driveway. In addition, the slope of the driveway should be at least one-eighth of an inch for every foot of width. Concrete can be shaped into virtually any shape or pattern and is available in a wide range of colors and textures.

Concrete is an inexpensive driveway material and is durable and long-lasting. Depending on the material and how you maintain it, a concrete driveway can last 40 years or more with the proper care. However, concrete is porous, so any fluid from the vehicle can stain it. As such, a driveway with concrete is not a perfect solution for all situations. If you choose a different material, you should check out previous concrete.

Maintenance Of A Concrete Driveway

Regardless of the type of material used for your concrete driveway, you should maintain it regularly. Regular cleaning will help prevent stains from setting in, and sealing the driveway every year will provide added protection from harsh weather conditions. If you notice spots, stains, or a leak, be sure to clean it immediately with warm water and clumping kitty litter. Occasionally applying a commercial sealer will prevent more damage, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Chemical deicers and salt are also harmful to your concrete driveway. Deicing chemicals force moisture to thaw and freeze, which can lead to cracks. Rock salt, on the other hand, is chemically harmful to concrete. Calcium chloride is less harmful than rock salt, and calcium chloride does not damage vegetation or metal. Sand is better for traction. Concrete contractors can help you maintain your driveway so it looks its best.

While cracks are normal for concrete driveways, large cracks can lead to a large problem down the road. Cracks are particularly dangerous, especially when they are wet. You may need to call a concrete repair company to assess the cracks and provide the necessary repairs. But crack sealing is a necessary part of ongoing maintenance. If you find a large crack in your concrete driveway, it may indicate a foundation problem that needs to be repaired.

Although driveway repair is an expensive and time-consuming process, if done properly, it can make your house more attractive and sturdy. Performing minor repairs yourself will also save you money. A crack in your driveway is usually easy to fix if you use a new batch of concrete. After repairing cracks, it’s also important to clean out loose crushed rock and gravel. You can also paint the new concrete in a color to make it look better.

Power washing can be a quick and effective way to remove dirt and grime. However, if you’re worried about damage to your driveway, you can also use a commercial sealer to help protect it from oil and grease stains. A dry-look seal will provide longer protection but will need to be applied every three to five years. For oil and grease stains, you can also use a wet-look seal.

Crack-filled concrete can be fixed by yourself if the surrounding concrete is in good condition. If you’re handy with a trowel, you can even apply it yourself using a low-RPM drill. Be sure to allow enough time for the new concrete to dry before driving on it. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can hire a concrete repair service to do it for you. These contractors can fix all sorts of issues and problems, so the maintenance of a concrete driveway is essential for everyone’s safety.

 

Which Type of Concrete is Right for Your Home?

Which Type of Concrete is Right for Your Home?

Which type of concrete is right for your home? 

The answer to this question can be complicated because there are many different types of concrete available–each with their own benefits. 

For example, some people prefer the aesthetic appeal of decorative concrete, while others may want ready mix concrete if they’re on a strict timeline. 

In today’s blog post, we will explore all the options available so you can make an informed decision about which type of concrete is best for your project.

Decorative concrete 

This is a great choice for homeowners who want to add some extra flair to their property. Decorative concrete can be stamped or stained to create a unique look that will enhance the appearance of your home. 

It can also come in pre-designed, etched slabs and is most often used on walls. Not to mention, it’s also very durable, so you can be sure it will last for many years.

Transit mix concrete 

If you have a large job that requires high volumes of concrete, then transit mix is the way to go. This type of material is often used when contractors need to pour a large cement slab or foundation in one fell swoop. It’s important to note, however, that most concrete companies will have a minimum order amount for transit mix concrete.

Bulk dry materials 

For homeowners looking for a simple and cost-effective option, bulk dry materials can be a great choice. They’re typically used by contractors or homeowners with experience mixing concrete and are perfect for large projects.

Ready mix concrete 

Ready mix concrete is ideal for homeowners who don’t have a lot of time to spare. This type of concrete comes premixed, executing your project on a quicker timeline than custom orders like decorative concrete. 

For homeowners who are trying to create the perfect blend of strength and beauty for their home improvement projects, ready mix may be the right choice. In most cases, this type of concrete doesn’t need additives or special equipment because it comes ready to go.

Dry ready mix concrete

Dry ready mix is available for purchase in large bags. Simply add water as directed and you’ll have your own concrete in minutes that can be used for various projects. This type of concrete is often used in small projects and is well-known for its simplicity when it comes to mixing and pouring. 

Concrete has come a long way over the years, and there are now many different types available to choose from. By taking the time to carefully consider your options, you can find the perfect material for your home improvement projects. 

Port Aggregates offers the highest quality ready mix concrete in central and southwest Louisiana. It’s why we’ve been a trusted contractor for over 40 years! Contact us today to request a quote and get started on your residential project. We look forward to helping you build or renovate your home using concrete.

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Break Tests vs the Maturity Method

Break Tests vs the Maturity Method

Every year, contractors all over are looking to improve their concrete building practices. For many this past year, that has likely meant fine-tuning their logistics to adapt to the global shipping crisis. However, that crisis is still ongoing, which means contractors will face more delays while attempting to complete their construction projects on time.

Delays can waste a lot of valuable time. So to counter that loss, contractors should consider what they can do to become even more efficient.

One way to boost efficiency is to simply consider how you evaluate your concrete’s compressive strength development. Are you solely relying on break tests? If so, you’re missing out on a faster, simpler, and more accurate method: the maturity method.

To see why that is, we’ve once again brought on Maturix’s instructional designer, Marina Salvador, to explain why.

(Want to see her definition for the maturity method first? Take a look at her post here.)

Is Either Concrete Strength Assessment That Crucial to Worksite Efficiency?’

In a word, yes. For construction projects, knowing concrete strength is crucial as many future decisions depend on it. Decisions such as determining when to remove forms, schedule post-tensioning operations, open bridges and roads to traffic, and remove heating measures against cold weather all depend on having the right concrete strength.

Break tests and the maturity method are two approaches on how to determine that strength.

A lab worker is placing a cylinder concrete sample in the compression strength test machine.

What about Break Tests? How Exactly Do They Work?

Break tests are the traditional and established way to test the compressive strength of concrete. And they do so by using a destructive approach by crushing concrete cylinders or cubes and measuring the pressure of that crushing until the cylinder or cube breaks.

Under this method, test samples are casted and cured either at the jobsite or in a testing laboratory. When placed on-site, the samples are placed as close as possible to the structure to replicate the same curing conditions. These are also known as field-cured specimens. In testing labs, the samples are cured under controlled conditions. For instance, these may be in water tanks that are kept at a constant temperature, which is also known as standard curing.

After a certain amount of curing time, the samples undergo break tests. Each sample is placed in a compression test machine. Then, pressure is applied to the top and bottom of each sample until the samples break. Once they fail to withstand the pressure, the compressive strength can be calculated, which is done by dividing the failing load with the cross-sectional area resisting the load.

The results of these tests are used to validate concrete strength for a wide range of factors. These can include helping contractors determine when to move to the next step in construction and helping them document and validate the 28-day strength of concrete.

A cluster of concrete cylinder samples rest together after being cracked from compression testing.

What Are the Advantages and Limitations of This Specific Test?

Break tests are common for a good reason. But that doesn’t mean they don’t come with limitations.

dvantages

Break tests are one of the most commonly used methods for estimating the compressive strength of concrete. They’re accepted internationally and have been standardized in almost every country.

Limitations

But do break tests accurately represent the actual strength of a structure?

One of the main limitations of these tests is the difference of mass between the concrete samples and the concrete structure. This difference is important because it affects the heat emitted during the cement hydration process. And the amount of emitted heat affects the concrete’s strength development speed.

For instance, let’s observe the following graph. We can see that the strength development in the test sample (represented in purple) does not follow the same development as the corners of a mass structure. Instead, it has a slower strength development due to the temperature history of the cylinder being lower.

A graph is showing the concrete strength development of four corners of a mass structure and one test cylinder. It shows that the test cylinder has a lower strength development compared to the structure's corners.

Additionally, when using break tests, it is assumed that the structure cures at the same speed everywhere. However, in a structure, there are zones that will cure faster than others due to temperature differences. For instance, a concrete structure’s surface is normally more exposed to cold air, winds, and different weather conditions. These will all directly affect the strength development of the concrete at the surface.

For all these reasons, there is room for debate about whether break tests are representative of the structure’s actual in-place strength. The smaller volume and lower temperatures of samples will always result in a different rate of strength development when compared to the volume and temperature of a full concrete structure.

A senior construction worker is holding a blueprint and contemplating it at a construction site.

With These Limitations, Can Break Test Results Be Trusted?

Low breaks or inconsistent compressive strength test results is a common problem in the construction industry. Still, there are many standard procedures that describe how to properly handle and prepare test samples. However, these procedures are often not done according to the specifications, producing inconsistent results.

That makes it difficult to identify what the cause of those results might be. A low break result could indicate that the concrete mix was not designed well. It could also indicate that the supplied material was not up to the specifications. But it might also have happened for a number of other reasons. These might be because the samples were not prepared or cured properly, they were damaged during transport, or the testing machine was not calibrated properly.

With no clear identifiable cause, a project’s success will quickly become uncertain as it would be harder to determine how to proceed next, wasting a lot of time as contractors wait while they investigate different possible causes.

An image of a construction worker holding a Maturix Sensor is right next to a different image with a person's hand holding a tablet that is showing the data from the sensor in a coffee shop.
What about the Maturity Method? How Does It Work?

The maturity method is a non-destructive method that can be used to estimate the early-age strength development of concrete.

Under this method, you start by performing a maturity calibration in a laboratory to find the correlation between time, temperature, and strength. During this calibration, you make some samples with a concrete mixture that will be used in a project and instrument some of them with temperature sensors and recording devices. The samples are then cured under the same conditions, and the temperature history is measured using the sensors. Workers will then conduct break tests on those samples at different test ages to determine their compressive strength.

With the strength data from the break tests and the maturity from the temperature history, a best-fitting curve (or a maturity curve) is plotted through the data points. This curve represents the strength-maturity relationship for the concrete mix.

After having performed this maturity calibration, the in-place concrete strength can be estimated by placing temperature sensors in the concrete structure and using a maturity system like Maturix. With Maturix, both the maturity from the structure’s temperature history and the in-place concrete strength is automatically calculated in real time.

A Maturix Sensor is attached to an orange pole.

What Advantages and Limitations Can Contractors Expect from It?

Much like conducting break tests, using Maturix has its own set of pros and cons for contractors to consider.

dvantages

Maturix overcomes many of the limitations that come with break tests.

To start, using Maturix greatly reduces the use of testing facilities and personnel. That is because it gathers information through temperature sensors that are embedded into the concrete. This results in time and cost savings on making, handling, transporting, and testing concrete samples.

On top of that, it is easy to get clear identifiable results. So instead of making guesses about when the concrete’s strength is sufficient to test the samples, contractors can use the maturity method, which indicates when the concrete has reached the desired strength threshold. That eliminates a lot of uncertainty and helps projects become more efficient, data-driven, and proactive, which improves decision-making.

Contractors can also get a more accurate estimation of their structure’s in-place strength development when using the maturity method. It allows them to monitor the actual conditions of their structure, including the temperature and strength development in critical zones.

At the same time, a maturity method system like Maturix offers real-time remote data collection. So contractors can continuously monitor their structure. That gives them a more complete overview of the curing process and the concrete’s compressive strength development. In turn, that can help them ensure that they do not exceed certain temperatures and that they keep the concrete’s core and surface differential temperatures within specified thresholds.

Limitations

Despite its many advantages, the maturity method does have limitations. The first one is that it is required to perform a maturity calibration for each concrete mix to estimate the compressive strength. The second is that high variances in the delivered batching can affect the accuracy of the strength estimation, since the mix designs will be different. The third is that many countries still require 28-day compressive strength tests, which the maturity method cannot replace. However, the number of break tests used for other purposes, such as determining when to continue with different processes, can be significantly reduced.

Workers are spreading concrete across a structure.

What Does This Mean for Your Construction?

There are still some limitations when it comes to a full replacement of break tests. After all, the results of these are often a requirement to comply with concrete construction standards. However, the often inaccurate results produced by break tests make them less efficient. But Maturix can use the actual temperature history of a concrete structure to give contractors a more accurate estimation of the concrete’s compressive strength.

So which method should you go with? The best approach is to use each method based on what they are well-suited to do.

With the maturity method, for instance, contractors get continuous information on critical items like temperature samples every 20 minutes. That is great for keeping track of the curing process. And that is especially the case when in comparison to break test samples that are only done after seven, 14, or 28 days. In short, having the data that comes from the maturity method will give you a much better idea of where your concrete is heading and when you can expect to achieve the required strength for your structure.

On the other hand, break tests are good for validating your choice of concrete. More specifically, it validates that your chosen concrete has the ability to reach the required strength within the specified time. That also confirms when your in-situ casted concrete has reached the right number of maturity days. So you know that your concrete strength matches the requirement.

In the end, depending on your project’s needs, monitoring your concrete pour’s development continuously, validating your concrete strength, or using a combination of the two may be the most ideal method. And if efficiency is your key concern, Maturix’s maturity method may offer the most assistance with its ability to speed up construction work and enhance decision-making.

Simplify your concrete monitoring! Learn how you can cut costs and save time by measuring your concrete's temperature with reusable Maturix Sensors. Watch our video on this today!

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What Gravel is Best for Driveways?

What Gravel is Best for Driveways?

Gravel driveways are popular because they’re inexpensive, durable, and require little maintenance. You can choose from many different types, including crushed stone, pea gravel, quarry process, and more. 

But what gravel is best for driveways?

Each has pros and cons. Let’s take a look.

Quarry process

This type of gravel is made up of dust and pulverized rocks. After it’s poured, the dust settles into the cracks between the rocks to create a compact driveway. Because it forms a semi-solid surface, it doesn’t drain well, but it does make a great base layer for a driveway.

Jersey shore gravel

Jersey shore gravel is made up of rounded pebbles that do not compact well. That being said, they move really well under vehicles, but the driveway will need some edging so that the gravel doesn’t roll away. Because these pebbles come in beachy shades, they’re often found on the eastern shore (hence the name “Jersey shore” gravel).

Pea gravel 

Pea gravel is made up of small, round, naturally-weathered stones that can be used as a landscaping or driveway material. It’s not as durable as some of the other options, but it does have some benefits. It can create a more natural look, and it’s softer to drive on.

Because it has round edges, pea gravel isn’t as sharp as some of the other options available. This makes it ideal for driveways because cars won’t damage their tires or windows when they run over the rocks. It also has a natural look and is very affordable. 

Crushed stone #3 

Crushed stone #3 refers to gravel rocks that are up to 2 inches in diameter. It’s most often used as a sub-base layer in driveways because it provides a strong foundation for finer gravel to be poured over top. Its irregular shape allows for good drainage without compacting.

So, what gravel is best for a driveway? If you want to make sure that your driveway lasts as long as possible, then crushed stone is the most durable option. But if you’re looking for something more natural in appearance, then pea gravel is a good choice.

Whichever type of gravel you choose, be sure to consult with a professional at Port Aggregates before starting your project. We can help you choose the best type of gravel for your driveway. Contact us today to request a quote

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Your Guide to the Most Common Types of Concrete

Your Guide to the Most Common Types of Concrete

Concrete is an integral part of the modern world. It’s used to build everything from sidewalks and driveways to skyscrapers and dams, but many people are unaware of just how many options are available. 

There are endless types of concrete, each with unique properties that make them ideal for certain applications. This article will introduce you to the most common types so you can decide which will best suit your needs.

1. Lightweight concrete

Lightweight concrete is made up of water, polystyrene particles, cement, and other additives. It’s lighter than regular concrete and is used for applications that require the least amount of weight possible, such as roofing and flooring.

Lightweight concrete also has better insulation properties and a lower density than regular concrete, making it ideal for use in climates where heating and cooling costs are a drain on the wallet. Proper installation is essential to ensure that lightweight concrete performs as expected. Be sure you choose a contractor with extensive experience using this type of concrete.

2. Reinforced concrete

Reinforced concrete is made with steel rebar or mesh that’s embedded in the wet concrete. It’s much stronger than regular concrete and can withstand greater loads without breaking.

Reinforced concrete is used for heavy-duty applications such as bridges, parking garages, and skyscrapers, and is common in both residential and commercial foundations and slabs. While it is more expensive than regular concrete, it’s also stronger and longer-lasting. 

There are two types of reinforcement: steel rebar or a fiber mesh. While both offer strength benefits over standard concrete, steel offers slightly more strength, but fiber mesh is less expensive and easier to install.

3. Polished concrete

Polished concrete is a type of flooring that’s made from regular concrete. It can be used in both residential and commercial applications and is becoming increasingly popular due to its aesthetic appeal and durability.

This type of concrete offers a shiny and smooth surface that’s ideal for offices, stores, restaurants, healthcare facilities, schools, and more.

Concrete polishing is something that should only be done by professionals because improper installation can damage the surface of your polished flooring. If done incorrectly, polishing can also void the warranty on your flooring.

4. Mass concrete

Mass concrete is poured into ready-made molds. It’s a type of precast concrete made from regular or lightweight aggregate. It’s commonly used to create dams and large foundation slabs.

Mass concrete is similar to standard concrete with just one main difference: mass aggregates are larger than standard aggregates. This makes the concrete less dense, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs.

5. Prestressed concrete

Prestressed concrete is made with steel cables that are stretched prior to installation using hydraulic jacks, which creates tension on the beams as they set. This compression adds strength to the concrete and minimizes cracking but also makes it more expensive.

6. Precast concrete

Precast concrete is molded in a factory setting, which allows for more precise measurements and a higher level of quality control. Because it’s cured under controlled conditions, a stronger product is yielded that is less likely to crack. It’s also easier to install than standard concrete, helping you ensure quality and efficiency and avoid installation issues. 

7. Ready mix concrete

Ready mix concrete is a type of concrete made in a plant and delivered to the job site in a ready-to-use form. It can be used in both residential and commercial applications, but it’s most commonly used for foundations, walls, and slabs.

At Port Aggregates, our concrete mixes are made using limestone instead of gravel, adding extra strength to your product. When you order from us, you can expect superior quality, lower costs, on-site quality control, prompt scheduling, fast turnaround, and more. Contact us today to request a quote

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The Dangers of Choosing the Cheaper Option When it Comes to Precast Concrete

The Dangers of Choosing the Cheaper Option When it Comes to Precast Concrete

Choosing the cheaper option when buying anything is always tempting, but when it comes to precast concrete, this is a dangerous mistake. 

There are many ways that shortcutting precast concrete expenses can go wrong and lead to unexpected costs. Knowing these dangers is the best way to stay within your budget and prevent your project from becoming delayed.

Here’s what can go wrong if you choose the cheaper precast concrete option.

1. Drab appearance

One thing you’ll notice about cheaper options is that they don’t look as nice. But if appearance isn’t a major concern, these materials may be fine for your needs. 

Even so, you should consider investing in nicer-looking precast concrete to give your home or business that extra boost of curb appeal. Keep in mind that if you’re putting your precast concrete outdoors, it’s going to be exposed to the environment’s natural wear and tear, but will still need to look nice for years to come.

If appearance is a priority, why risk choosing materials that can’t live up? 

2. Less strength

When it comes to strength, cheap precast concrete will never compare. Good quality materials won’t bend or buckle under pressure and are made from high-quality ingredients that toughen up over time. 

Cheaper concrete is composed of low-grade minerals that tend to break apart after just a few years. Not only does this mean more repairs, but broken concrete is also more susceptible to mold, water damage, and rust.

3. Lacking in durability

When it comes to durability, premium precast concrete is the only way to go. If you want your new structure or installation to last for decades without any signs of wear and tear, you have two choices: cheap precast concrete that will fall apart after just a few years, or high-quality, durable concrete made from ingredients that are built to withstand the test of time.

Of course, many people are tempted to choose the cheaper option just because it’s a better deal in the short term. However, they end up spending more down the line in repairs and ongoing maintenance.

Along with being more cost-effective over time, high-quality materials are also safer because they’re less likely to fall apart and collapse.

4. Limited styles available

If you want the freedom to choose between different styles and finishes, you’ll want to look at higher-end concrete. The more you spend, the more you’ll be able to customize every aspect of the installation or structure so that it fits in seamlessly with your style preferences. This means you’ll have more control over design elements like color, texture, and finish–all while using premium ingredients that will last for decades.

Some companies even offer different textures and finishes. But of course, the trade-off is that these premium materials cost more than lower quality alternatives.

5. High maintenance costs

As mentioned previously, what you don’t pay upfront for precast concrete, you’ll likely have to make up for in repair costs later. Because premium precast concrete is strong enough to withstand extreme weather conditions, less maintenance is required over time. All you’ll have to do is keep it clean and let the high-quality materials work their magic.

If you’re investing in a precast concrete structure or installation that will be exposed to extreme weather conditions, it makes sense to choose high-quality materials for the best results. At Port Aggregates, all of our concrete products are made with the finest ingredients. It’s why we’ve been trusted for over 40 years! Contact us today to request a quote for your next precast concrete project.

The post The Dangers of Choosing the Cheaper Option When it Comes to Precast Concrete appeared first on Port Aggregates.

Interview: What Building Sustainably Looks Like for Concrete Structures and How to Achieve It

Interview: What Building Sustainably Looks Like for Concrete Structures and How to Achieve It

Building sustainably: there are many ways to go about it. (We’ve even discussed some ourselves right here on this blog!) But naturally, you might wonder which way is best for you.

If you’re in the concrete industry, it might feel especially critical now. After all, many professional organizations within the industry are more heavily promoting sustainable construction. And many are also establishing their own way to contribute to reaching net-zero concrete by 2050.

So, how should you contribute? And what does that even look like?

To shed some light on these questions and more, we’ve interviewed Kryton Vice President of Product Development, Kevin Yuers.

Thank you for joining us today, Kevin! Let’s start off with defining what building sustainably even looks like for concrete structures.

Building sustainable concrete structures means doing two things well. First of all, you need to build from the start with the smallest carbon footprint possible. Secondly, you need to build structures that last through their entire design without needing to be replaced or receive unnecessary repairs.

We know that concrete is a very durable building material. But we also know that its key ingredient — cement — has a very large carbon footprint.

So, it sounds like cement adds to the carbon footprint of concrete. Why is that?

You may have heard that for every ton of cement produced, a ton of CO2 is released.

Now, this is not exactly true anymore because cement manufacturers have made great improvements to their production processes and reduced this number by more than a third. But it is still a big number.

Most of the CO2 released is simply the result of the chemical reaction of turning limestone into cement, and there’s little that can be done about that.

What can be done is reducing the amount of cement you actually use in your concrete.

How can construction professionals reduce their use of cement?

Typically, the way that a concrete producer will increase the strength and durability of their concrete is to just add more cement. But there are ways to avoid that.

So, for example, many of our customers build concrete structures that are exposed to very abrasive environments, such as industrial floors, high-traffic slabs, and hydroelectric spillways. Instead of using cement-rich concrete to improve abrasion resistance, our customers add our Hard-Cem solution, an abrasion-resisting admixture.

This technology increases abrasion resistance without increasing cement content, lowering your initial carbon footprint. And because the concrete lasts more than twice as long with Hard-Cem, it can eliminate the need to replace worn-out concrete. What could be more sustainable than that?

What about countering other obstacles to a concrete’s life span like corrosion?

I can’t think of anything that contributes more to the deterioration of concrete structures than corrosion. Preventing corrosion should be a key consideration for any designer of concrete structures — especially infrastructure projects.

Again, we have to ask ourselves: what can be done to extend the life of this structure without increasing its carbon footprint right off the bat by adding more cement?

It turns out that the crystalline waterproofing admixture technology invented by Kryton in 1980 is an answer to this challenge for many structures.

Our admixture for concrete, Krystol Internal Membrane (KIM), is used today all over the world to replace membranes in water-retaining structures, basements, tunnels, and the like. But one of its lesser known advantages is its ability to delay or prevent the corrosion of reinforcing steel, which is especially a problem in places where reinforced concrete is exposed to salt like marine structures or transportation structures in cold climates.

KIM sounds like a perfect remedy for that. How does it work?

You may have heard of emerging smart technologies in building materials. These are materials that can react autonomously to events or changes in their environment by repairing themselves. Such self-healing or self-sealing is one of the ways that KIM works to protect concrete from leaks and corrosion.

If the concrete is poured with a porous area or if a crack should form, the technology from KIM reacts by growing crystals to fill the area and block the movement of water and salts from reaching the reinforcing steel. We call that Smart Concrete.

That’s great insight, Kevin! So, in short, for those looking to increase their concrete construction’s sustainability, they should strongly consider using Hard-Cem and KIM.

The post Interview: What Building Sustainably Looks Like for Concrete Structures and How to Achieve It appeared first on Kryton.

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Choosing a Waterproofing Strategy for Below Grade Applications: A Fourth Alternative

Choosing a Waterproofing Strategy for Below Grade Applications: A Fourth Alternative

Considering the right waterproofing strategy from the design stage is crucial for the success of below grade projects. However, there is no one right answer.

So when faced with this decision, the designer of a project will often start by selecting from several types of external membranes. These include unbonded, fully bonded, and compartmented systems. Each of which will affect the outcome of a project differently.

But no matter their choice, a designer will have many variables to consider.

That can be difficult to navigate. So to help you determine the best strategy for your project needs, let’s look at the factors that affect waterproofing decisions and outcomes and whether there’s a better alternative altogether.

The Factors That Affect the Selection and Outcomes of the Three Membrane Types

Designers typically select one of the three waterproofing membrane types based on the following factors:

Perceived risk of using the systemAccessibility for repairing system defectsQuality control tools of the selected systemOverall cost

Perceived Risk

Out of the three waterproofing membrane categories, there is one that is seen as less risky.

A bitumen waterproofing membrane rests partially unrolled on the ground.

Many View the Use of Fully Bonded Systems as the Reliable Waterproofing Strategy

The idea is that in case of failure, water cannot travel freely between the membrane and structural concrete, so any damage will be localized. That minimizes the cost and scope of the repairs needed.

Despite that big advantage, fully bonded systems also have their drawbacks. They are not flexible when bonded. They cannot bond properly to the structural concrete if not applied properly and in dusty conditions. And most importantly, these bonded systems are thin, making it easy for them to get damaged.

Still, these particular systems tend to remain less risky than others, even when it comes to application errors (see Figure 1).
On a graph that compares risk and application errors, unbonded membrane systems are the most at risk while compartmented membrane systems are at second place and fully bonded membrane systems are last.

A group of construction workers are working on pouring concrete at a worksite.

That Risk Changes, However, When Bad Concreting Practices Are Involved

Note how the dynamics change with bad concreting practices. The risk associated with application errors deviates as follows (see Figure 2).

The risk of application errors change when bad concreting practices are involved, making fully bonded membrane systems a bit riskier but still not as risky as unbonded membrane systems.

In this scenario, the bond between the membrane and structural concrete would have been compromised. Once that occurs, a fully bonded system will become riskier than a compartmented system due to the following reasons (among others):

Membranes in fully bonded systems tend to be thinner than ones in compartmented systemsThey don’t have horizontal and vertical protection as many compartmented systems doThey also do not have the same reactive system for repairs with flanges in each compartment

No matter the system, however, the risk related to application errors is shown as much steeper (as seen in Figure 2) when there are bad concreting practices involved. You need only compare the risk to a project with good concreting practices to see the significant impact (as shown in Figure 1).

ccessibility for Repairing System Defects

For stakeholders who prefer a waterproofing system that workers can access for repairs if something does go wrong, compartmented systems are perceived as the best (see Figure 3).

Why is that the case?

It’s mainly because it is possible to attempt to repair each leaking compartment of the system with injection flanges.

As for the other waterproofing systems, the unbonded one remains the riskiest, as it would be very hard to determine the source of its leakages.

Again, what adds to the complexity of just selecting the best perceived waterproofing system is a poor concreting application.

In this case, combining a poor concreting application with a compartmented system means water is more likely to migrate between compartments. That will increase the risk of the compartmented system’s waterstops not bonding adequately to the structural concrete. At the same time, isolating individual compartments in the system and repairing them with flanges will become less effective, since the water will be migrating between adjacent compartments. And that leads to a change in risk assessment (as seen in Figure 4).

The risk to application errors graph shows poor concreting practices increase the risk of compartmented membrane systems so that they are closer in terms of risk to fully bonded membrane systems.

Quality Control Tools

For stakeholders who depend on quality control tools to ensure that a membrane is installed properly, a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compartmented system might be more appealing. Usually coming with the desired quality control tools, it has an edge over most types of fully bonded and unbonded systems.

The quality control tools that a PVC compartmented system typically comes with include a double-wedge welding of membrane overlaps. And that’s followed by pressure testing to guarantee that the overlap is properly welded.

Other quality testing measures for the overlaps in this case might include vacuum testing and spark testing.

All the above are great tools in theory. However, this quality control edge tends to be more theoretical than realistic in many instances. Such instances include (but are not limited to) vertical membrane applications. After all, it would be very unpractical to make a double-wedge welding joint and test each individual joint in vertical (or otherwise complicated) applications.

Overall Cost

Cost per system is not universal and differs in each market. But in general, an unbonded system is the cheapest, while fully bonded and compartmented systems tend to be more expensive.

However, when we consider what I call the membrane system lifetime value, cost assessment tends to be more complicated. The lifetime cost would include the initial cost of the system, the expected life of the system, and repair costs of the membrane over the service life of the structure. Once again, concreting practices play an important role with the associated costs of repair and replacement. Choosing a waterproofing system based on cost is therefore a complex decision that includes many variables, which are hard to quantify.

A group of construction workers at a worksite are helping to pour concrete for a project.

Why Concreting Adds Complexity to These Factors 

Waterproofing is an interconnected network of activities. So rationally selecting the appropriate system depends on many variables. A common variable that adds to the complexity of the selection and on the consequences associated with that selection is the quality of the concrete. That in turn is a function of the structure’s concrete mix and application. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the performance of the waterproofing membrane system in isolation without considering the concrete’s quality.

A construction worker is pouring KIM into concrete at the time of batching.

How to Simplify and Improve a Waterproofing Strategy with a Fourth Alternative

The fourth alternative is not a compromise between an unbonded, fully bonded, or compartmented system. A fourth alternative is a better waterproofing strategy. It’s a waterproofing solution that simplifies a designer’s choice while providing more predictable outcomes.

Simply put, the fourth alternative is to design and construct a waterproof structure that can sustain itself without external protection. That eliminates the concern of that external protection defecting or failing, as it transforms the concrete itself into a solid waterproof barrier. It also minimizes the need for extra labor or application time, as there is no membrane to install.

But how is this waterproofing strategy possible? What makes it work?

It all functions off the following principles.

The Structure Should Be Waterproof for Its Entire Intended Service Life

This is attained by using quality concrete, proper jointing systems, and adequate reinforcement.

The latter follows conventional construction methods, so let’s focus on those first two aspects.

To obtain quality concrete in this case, builders need to ensure that they use a suitable mix that is permanently waterproof. An easy way to do this is by applying a reactive waterproofing admixture, such as Kryton’s Krystol Internal Membrane
™
(KIM), with the established best practices for mixing, placing, and curing concrete.

Once added directly into the concrete, KIM disperses Krystol technology throughout the concrete mix, which remains dormant until water is nearby. When in the presence of water, the chemical technology reacts, forming interlocking crystals to block pathways for water in the concrete. That reduces the concrete’s permeability, shrinkage, and cracking. It also improves the concrete’s ability to self-seal for the rest of the structure’s life span.

But what about proper jointing systems?

Special consideration should be given to jointing details, including construction, expansion, and control joints. Using a combination of physical and chemical barriers is recommended for long-term performance. A good example of this is the Krystol Waterstop System. It offers three levels of protection for all jointing details. Depending on the level of protection chosen, the system might make use of two types of waterstops (one for sealing joints and one for crack control), a crystalline slurry that uses Krystol technology for concrete joints, and a crystalline grout.

For Extra Reliability, Designers Need to Determine a Suitable Repair Strategy

With a reliable waterproofing admixture and jointing protection system, a concrete structure should be quite safe.

But it’s important to include redundancies into a waterproofing system. It’s what gives a structure extra protection in case the situation does not go as planned. But to include those redundancies, designers need to consider a suitable repair strategy.

The repair strategy should be based on durable materials that are compatible with concrete. It should not be cosmetic and planned for the short term as it has to be able to fix the problem at its source. Otherwise, the problem will remain present, causing more damage in the long run.

dditional Protection Needs to Be Considered When Handling Projects That Are Considered High-Risk

These can include liveable basements, museums, and other structures where the cost of repairs is very high.

If that is the case for a project, a designer could add a membrane system to the waterproof structure. Selecting one will depend on the previously mentioned factors. But in general, as discussed earlier, the quality of concreting practices will affect how well a membrane type will perform. So it’s important to maintain good concreting practices no matter which type of waterproofing membrane system is chosen.

In short, the fourth alternative is a waterproofing strategy that fundamentally relies on a self-sustained waterproof structure free of application and additional labor concerns, a suitable repair strategy, and when necessary, the extra protection of a waterproofing membrane system.

Free e-book! Download it today to learn about the four aspects to consider when specifying crystalline waterproofing admixtures.

The post Choosing a Waterproofing Strategy for Below Grade Applications: A Fourth Alternative appeared first on Kryton.

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Avoiding Concrete Cracks in the Winter: How to Prepare Your Concrete

Avoiding Concrete Cracks in the Winter: How to Prepare Your Concrete

One of the most dreaded things about winter is its damaging effects on concrete. This can be a costly and frustrating problem, but it doesn’t have to be! 

There are numerous easy ways to help avoid concrete cracks this winter. Follow these steps to prepare your driveway or other concrete slabs for the cold months ahead.

Seal your concrete surfaces 

In winter months when snowfall and low temperatures freeze the top of your concrete, frost damage can occur if they are not sealed. Sealing your concrete protects the surface and makes it easier to remove any ice as well. 

Remove debris

Regularly scraping away any leaves that fall onto your concrete as the seasons change is vital to protecting your driveway or other concrete fixtures. Leaves and other organic matter will prevent your concrete from getting the proper exposure to sunlight it needs in order to avoid freezing.

Repair any damaged concrete

If your concrete has become damaged or is already cracking, you need to take care of it as soon as possible. 

Cracked concrete exposed to freezing temperatures can cost thousands of dollars to replace and is likely to continue deteriorating over time if you do not repair it before temperatures continue to drop. 

Be sure to inspect all areas of your property that have concrete. It is possible that your gazebo, deck, or walkway might need replacement too.

Be careful with salt 

Using too much salt as a melting agent can actually damage your concrete, causing it to become brittle and more likely to crack. It should only be used in moderation. Fortunately, in Louisiana, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for us. 

If you follow these steps, you can avoid the nightmare of having to replace cracked concrete this winter season. Don’t wait another day to start protecting your concrete. 

With the Louisiana weather being as unpredictable as it has been the past couple of years, there’s no telling what this winter will bring. Start taking steps to protect your driveway now and contact Port Aggregates for assistance. We look forward to helping you keep your concrete safe this winter!

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