Things to Know When Ordering Concrete

“Quality Matters Here” isn’t just a slogan, it is our philosophy to provide a good quality product with equally great service. 

Duke City Redi-Mix is committed to providing quality products, highly trained employees, accuracy in scheduling, and ultimately the final product. From the moment you call the office staff at Duke City Redi-Mix, to the final product, it is our commitment that each and every customer will be satisfied with their project.

This is why we want to make the process of ordering concrete and easy and as accurate as possible, catered to your specific dimensions and engineering needs. 

There are 5 important items to consider before placing a concrete order. 

  • How much you need (if you need help with this just call and we will help)
  • Use of final product
  • When you would like it to be delivered
  • The Job Site access and conditions
  • A spot for our truck to washout

How much do you need?

Calculating how much concrete you need can be difficult. Accuracy when you are figuring the dimensions of your pour is very important. If you calculate your slab at 4 inches thick but it is 6 inches in some places it could average 5 inches thick. That is a 20% difference in the amount of concrete needed. It is very important to take the time necessary to get your grade correct and even.

Use of Final Product

All concrete mixes contain four basic components. The variation of these ingredients is what makes up the different mixes for a wide variety of uses.

  • Course Aggregate – 3/8” and larger rock
  • Fine Aggregate – Sand
  • Cement – A fine powder made from limestone.
  • Water

Strength

Strength in concrete is one of the most important components when preparing for accuracy in the final product. Each mix is first defined by the compression strength it is required to meet 28 days after it is batched. This can range from 2500 psi to 12,000+ psi.  The most important factor in making this strength is the water/cement ratio. This ratio needs to be maintained from the time it is batched into the truck all the way until initial cure is complete.

Slump

The slump of concrete is a way to measure the workability of the concrete. It is most commonly associated with the amount of water in the mix. The test is completed by placing the concrete in a 12” tall hallow cone and then lifting the cone up slowly. The concrete will fall or “slump” down as the cone is pulled up. The number of inches the concrete falls is the slump. If the concrete has a high content of water the slump will increase. Most mixes are designed for a 4” slump.  If your project requires more workability additional water reducers can be added to increase slump and maintain strength.

Admixtures

There are a wide variety of concrete admixtures available to help you complete your project in the best and most cost effective way.

These can include:

-Air Entrainment

-Water reducers

-Accelerators

-Retarders

-Fiber

The Job Site

Job site safety and access are the responsibility of the contractor or owner of the property.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before ordering a load of concrete:

Will the truck fit onto the jobsite?

A mixer truck is 8 feet wide and 12 feet tall and will need additional room on all sides to safely maneuver around the jobsite.

Do you have a way to get the concrete from the truck to the final location? 

Every truck can reach about 15 feet directly behind the truck with chutes, but can only flow down from gravity. If the truck cannot access it, do you have access to a concrete pump or wheel barrows and enough help to get the concrete to the placement? Keep in mind you are allotted 10 minutes per yard to unload the truck or you could be charged truck time.

Does the truck have a place to washout when the pour is complete? 

Our trucks need to remove all wet concrete from the chutes before leaving the jobsite.This can often be accomplished with a wheelbarrow to catch the water and the waste.

We want our customers to have the smoothest project process and completion possible, and we will do our best to make sure everyone is prepared with the correct tools and information prior to starting the process. For more information about ordering concrete visit our Concrete page here. Questions? Call us! 505-877-5777

Guide to Redi Mix Concrete

Strong communication is a quality that any ready mix supplier and buyer should value when planning out a project. This is because there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to concrete mixes. Creating the perfect mix depends on a multitude of factors generated by the performance requirements of the job, in both the plastic/pliable form, as well as the final and cured structure. Find out why finding the perfect supplier is so important. 

The Mix

Each build that requires a concrete mixture will have different requirements generated from an engineer. These will determine the structural integrity and longevity of the project taking into consideration factors such as setting times, anticipated climate exposure, durability, texture, and strength. All very important, and very different for each project! 

The mix itself is composed of aggregates – the most abundant piece – cement, and water. In addition to the structural aspects, some other ingredients you might consider including in a concrete ready mix are fiber reinforcements (to eliminate the need for rolled welded wire mesh saving material and labor costs), decorative aggregates, or any additional requests submitted by the engineer. Each situation will require specifications tailored to that project. 

Transportation and Pouring

After discussing how the mix is to be prepared, the next steps to consider and discuss are transportation (time and climate) and pouring the mix at the destination. As soon as you have the ingredients in a mix – water, cement, and aggregates – a chemical reaction begins to take place. This process is called hydration and is what forms the end result known as concrete. The time it takes to begin hardening will depend on the mix, so it is essential your concrete supplier has experience and knowledge to ensure a pliable pour that won’t harden before it is finished. 

The Final Product

After the mix recipe is created, the hydration process takes place, and concrete is formed, the final step in the process is curing. Curing also plays a big role in the strength and durability of concrete. “The length of adequate curing time is dependent on the following factors: Mixture proportions, Specified strength, Size and shape of concrete member, Ambient weather conditions, Future exposure conditions.” Zemajtis, Jerzy. Role of Concrete Curing, http://www.cement.org/learn/concrete-technology/concrete-construction/curing-in-construction.

Curing methods include hydrating the concrete, adding special curing compounds, or sealing the surface. Properly cured concrete can add strength, resistance to freezing and thawing, the prevention of crazing (fine cracks), and resistance to abrasion. It’s very important to take the correct steps in the final stage of the concrete pouring process.

In Conclusion

The process of concrete mixing is a very detailed, unique, and critical process for the longevity and durability of a structure. When choosing a concrete mix supplier, experience and education in the process is a big characteristic to take into consideration. Time, money, and safety are all reliant on this decision. 

Guide to Gravel

Are you in the planning phases of building your dream yard? Maybe you’re looking to add some gravel to a driveway or pathway?  Erosion control? 

Whatever gravel needs you have, we can help!

Although gravel can add a unique and decorative touch to create a beautiful design in your yard, it also serves many practical and environmental purposes. Make sure to learn about the type of gravel you plan to implement, as well as the structure of the rock, before you make a purchase. Some gravel provides a rigid and strong platform, while others, of similar shape and color, can be brittle and easily shift with weight. Once you choose the type of rock, then there are many color and size options available to make your yard stand out in the beautiful way you imagined. 

At Duke City Redi Mix, there are typically 2 types of gravel for sale – Round Rock and Crushed Rock. Although they are both appealing with colors and shape, they serve two very different purposes.

Round Rock

Round Rock is also commonly known as pea rock. This type of rock is very smooth with rounded edges making it easy to move and shift around each other with little resistance. Without rigid edges, piles of round rock have many voids that allow them to be shifted in to. This makes round rock great for drainage and roofing applications. 

Round rock is beautiful in yards, but recommended to be places in areas you don’t plan on walking on. 

Crushed Rock

Crushed rock is the opposite of round rock. Crushed rock is composed of tough, rigid edges, that easily interlock with each other when formed into a pile. Because of this interlock, crushed rock creates a tight bond making it hard to shift even as weight is applied. This makes it great for applications such as driveway structures, walkways, erosion control, and base course for road construction. Let’s take a further look into why crushed rock is commonly used for road construction.

Underneath the pavement you are accustomed to seeing in your everyday life, there are many layers of structure hidden from sight. Base course is made up of a mixture of fine dust and crushed rock, and then placed upon the subgrade, or native soil. This provides a foundation for the pavement that is placed on top. The structure it provides eliminates the shifting of material that could potentially be created from the weight and movement of moving vehicles. It is a crucial piece of road construction that most people don’t even know exists!

It’s easy to assume gravel serves as exclusively visual purposes, but now you know there is so much more! Make the most of your dream yard and choose the gravel that suits your practical and designer needs. With so many color options available, the possibilities are endless.

What do concrete and ham have in common?

Last weekend we celebrated Easter Sunday and, much like a lot of you, I enjoyed some excellent ham for the main dish.  As a person who is almost constantly thinking about concrete and how we can make it better I was thinking about what ham and concrete might have in common.  I was reminded of this sign. The best concrete and the best ham both have this in common: they are properly cured.

Concrete is made up of many different ingredients but the key ingredient is cement.  Concrete and cement are NOT the same thing. You wouldn’t pour a cement sidewalk anymore than you would bake a loaf of flour.  

So what is cement and why is it essential? 

Cement is the essential binder that makes concrete a solid thing after the chemical reaction is complete.  For the sake of simplicity (it is actually far more complicated) cement is made by taking limestone and super heating it to remove all of the hydrogen and oxygen from it.  When we, as concrete suppliers, get it in powder form it is starved for those two elements. We then add those two elements back to it in the form of water (H2O), form it into the shape we desire and let it get hard as rock again.  

This chemical reaction is called hydration.  Controlling hydration by adding the correct amount of water throughout the entire reaction process is key to making good concrete.  Adding too much water will dilute the mixture, creating weakness, while not enough water will leave un-hydrated cement which also causes weakness along with a serious lack of economic value.  

Back to ham:

This post is not about water to cement ratios in concrete mixes.  That’s for a different day. This post is about what can be done later in the hydration process which continues for a very long time after this step.  Just like good ham, proper curing is essential to utilizing this chemical reaction to create the best final product.  

When the concrete is placed and finished to the desired shape and look it will reach initial set, meaning it is hard to the touch but does not have any structural integrity.  From this point on the hydration process is continuing but the strength can no longer be impacted by adding water. Proper concrete curing means providing enough water to the placement to keep feeding hydrogen and oxygen to the chemical reaction and make the most of each grain of cement.

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There are many concrete curing methods.  I will cover some of the best I have seen but this is most definitely not an exhaustive list of concrete curing options. 

Internal Curing

All different types of concrete aggregate have some level of absorption.  When proper aggregate handling is happening at the batch plant, the aggregate brings water to the hydration party.  As the cement particles inside the placement are trying to reach equilibrium (think of your high school chemistry class) and use up all of the available hydrogen and oxygen the water is available to the cement from inside the aggregate.  This often takes a long time. If done properly, the compressive strength gain from internal curing will be seen between 7 and 28 days after placement. Although aggregates with high absorption can be difficult to handle for a concrete supplier the benefits from internal curing far outweigh the extra work.

Flooding

Whenever it is possible to setup a dam or a dike and flood the placement this should be done.  This will provide constant water to the placement and allow the cement to pull all of that is necessary to completely hydrate it.  The Hoover Dam was built between 1931 and 1936. Many people believe it is still hydrating. Due to its thickness and constant supply of water from the lake, the cement is still pulling hydrogen and oxygen.  

Fogging

Fogging can happen a little bit earlier in the curing process.  Vaporized water is presented over the top of the placement to combat evaporation from heat and wind.  It allows the right amount of water to enter to surface of concrete without adding to much water to degrade the surface.  

Hoses and Felt Backed Sheets

  This is one of the most effective curing methods I have seen.  A hose with many small holes put on top of the slab then a felt backed vinyl sheet is placed over the entirety of the placement.  The hose provides a slow and even release of water while the sheets prevent it from evaporating from sun and wind.  

Concrete curing is an essential part of any concrete placement.  The picture below (and some good Easter ham) have sparked this blog post.  This sign placed by the city to prevent people from walking or driving on recently placed concrete is actually quite ironic.  There is some truth to it but there is no external curing method being implemented. As a result, when I see this sign I ask “Is it? Is it, REALLY?” I think not.  

Just like your honey cured Easter ham, make sure and properly cure your concrete!

To Our Community

To Our Customers, Partners, and Community,

We want you to know that Duke City Redi-Mix stands strongly behind our city and have always aimed to ensure the highest quality product, exceptional service, and a deep care for our local community. Today, service and community are our top priorities more than ever. 

In times like these, it’s important to come together to link ideas, services, products, and people, creating a structure that cannot be broken. It is our goal to collaborate within the construction community to create a clear path of communication between engineers, advisors, clients, and employees. 

We are doing our best to maintain the economic momentum our city had seen in recent times. We are working harder than ever to ensure project timelines are being continued or shifted in the most appropriate manner to best serve everyone involved. Thank you for extending patience and understanding through changes. 

The term “local” has an abundance of meaning behind it, and we would like to take this time to thank our team and clients for their continued support. Thank you for allowing us to be your local concrete and aggregate company. To serve the city of Albuquerque is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. We are grateful.

If you have any questions, we are happy to answer them as promptly as we can. Thank you, Albuquerque.

Sincerely, 

Duke City Redi-Mix

Benefits of Concrete Applications

Concrete as a construction material provides many opportunities for builds such as availability, affordability, durability, and longevity. It is an option that many companies require and utilize often, as it is a common material found among structures. However, why is concrete such a viable option?

Durability

Concrete is significantly more durable than other building materials and is highly resistant to damage from common weather and natural disasters such as heat, wind, humidity, moisture, and impact. Concrete can also be mixed with specific materials that allow it to be catered to the climate of the environment in which a concrete plant may reside. This also makes it a very safe option because through abrasion and rough actions, concrete is able to maintain its desired engineering properties.

Fire Resistant

The second biggest performance factor that concrete can provide is being fire resistant. Concrete is fireproof and often meets fire codes. “While concrete walls can generally withstand up to four hours of extreme fire pressure, most wood-framed walls would fall in less than an hour.” (https://www.nachi.org/concrete-exterior-walls.htm). This reason alone is why a builder may desire concrete over other materials, especially in locations that wildfires may be of concern.

Cost

The final, and possibly most influential piece of concrete, is cost. With increased workability, labor costs are cut and a better finish is provided. Concrete prices also tend to remain more stable than other building materials such as steel. Concrete can be crushed and used again in future mixes, allowing is to be a very sustainable and green product.

Conclusion

At Duke City Redi Mix we are proud to supply a product that so many people use every day.  Just like any other product, concrete can be done right and it can be done very poorly.  Our raw materials, processes, equipment and (most importantly) people are the best in the business.  Not all concrete suppliers are the same but you can trust that you are getting the best from Duke City.

Our expertise has been used to develop a proprietary product that includes a pre-determined slump, strength, and fiber already included for ease and consistency of ordering as well as a bottom line price without hidden charges. Those factors, along with the combination of a double dose of fiber, replacing welded wire mesh, water reducers to give you the workability you desire for most applications, our high quality aggregates and using the most technological advanced cement in our area gives you, the customer, a concrete you can trust all in one mix.  It is called DC Zia Everlast.  Please visit our website or call 505-877-5777 for more info.