Most likely, you’re familiar with concrete in its everyday form. It’s all around us. From sidewalks and driveways to bridges and skyscrapers, you see its practical application everywhere. As a primary construction material, concrete is quite possibly used more than any other man-made product in the world. It’s a critical modern technology, yet we often take for granted what goes into making quality concrete that will last a lifetime. Here’s what you should know about concrete and the Tilson way of using this universal building material:
1. Concrete 101: The Basics
Concrete is made of just a few basic ingredients, including rock, sand, water, and cement powder. When mixed together in the correct ratios, it makes a wet, mud-like consistency that can be poured into almost any shape or form desired. In a matter of hours, wet concrete will begin to dry and harden into an extremely durable material. Ideally, the slower it takes for concrete to dry, the stronger it becomes. Fully cured concrete takes about 28 days and can support up to 3000 pounds of weight per square inch.
2. It’s All About That Foundation
By far, the foundation is the most important part of every home we build. Because the majority of all concrete work we do is related to building foundations, we put an inordinate amount of planning and effort into their construction. Without a base of strength and stability, a new home can be easily compromised –potentially making it unsafe to live in. That’s why getting the foundation right is so crucial. It’s a job we take seriously, and it shows in the quality of our results.
3. Get the Lay of the Land
Before we do anything, we always perform a geotechnical investigation to evaluate the physical properties of the soil and rock around the site where a new home will be built. The assessment is then provided to a foundation engineer, who designs a foundation specific to these physical earth characteristics. This practice ensures the concrete foundation of every new home is engineered to fit the exact conditions on which it will stand.
4. Prevent Moisture Exchange
Because soil moisture is different than that of concrete, a vapor barrier should be laid between the ground and the concrete slab. The highest quality foundations do not allow moisture to move between the two. For this reason, part of our site prep includes fitting a layer of black polyethylene plastic over the ground where the foundation slab will be poured.
5. Execute for Precision and Quality
On the day of the pour, ready mix trucks bring freshly mixed concrete to the job site. There, a pump truck with an extended articulating boom delivers the wet mix precisely where it needs to go during the monolithic pour. This precision makes it easier to completely fill in the beam footings beneath the slab which are reinforced with rebar or post tension cabling. It also ensures the concrete foundation will be ready to bear the eventual weight of the house.
The More You Know
We may be the only home building company in Texas that emphasizes such a high degree of quality on concrete and foundation work. Whether that’s true or not, we like to think our customers appreciate our commitment to excellence in all aspects of the home building process, starting with our ground game.
If you’d like a first-hand look at how we build concrete foundations for every home we build, watch our Tilson Homes’ Craftsmanship video for a glimpse of our crew in action.
To learn more about Tilson's foundation practices, visit our page dedicated to all things foundation related.