Lustro Italiano > Caring for Concrete > Types of Concrete

How Much Concrete Is Around Your Home?

Concrete is one of the most widely used materials and is versatile. In fact, you may be surprised at just how much concrete is around your home right now. Even though you may not have given it extensive thought, you are likely surrounded by many forms of the material. And no matter what kind you have, There will be care and maintenance products and techniques that you need to consider. In this article we will explore the many types of concrete that are used for different purposes around residential properties. We will break each one down to briefly consider examples in each type. We are hopeful that you will enjoy looking at just how much concrete is around your home.

Your Home Has Poured Concrete

The aspect of concrete around your home that we are going to examine is the form that many people think of right off the bat when the word concrete is mentioned. It is poured concrete that surfaces in the thoughts of people that hear the word spoken. However, this form of the long-lasting and durable material is usually viewed as functional and not really attractive. Some examples of poured, functional concrete around the home are:

  • Foundations
  • Slab Floors
  • Sidewalks
  • Driveways
  • Patios
  • Recreational Surfaces

We aren't going to explain these in any great degree of detail, but we will summarize the basic thought behind each type. Let's look at these examples of poured concrete around (and under) the house.

Concrete Foundations

Homes of all sorts rest on concrete bases. Whether it is a poured concrete foundation or a concrete slab, a home has to site on something sturdy and supportive. The first example of poured concrete is the foundation and it does just that! It supports the entire structure.

Driveways

We make use of the second kind of poured concrete feature all the time. In fact, if your home has this one, you can't even come or go without putting it to use. The concrete driveway is not only another example of poured concrete, but it too is one that is functional and supportive like the foundation previously mentioned.

Concrete Flooring

As far as flooring goes, many people would think of this, our third poured concrete home feature, as something purely decorative. Even so, flooring does not have to be installed piece by piece. It can be poured and then given a decorative finish; although concrete need not be decorative to work. Garage floors, basement flooring, and even home gyms are specific examples of rooms utilizing concrete flooring.

Sidewalks of Concrete

Since we are on the subject of surfaces you walk on that are made of poured concrete, we'll bring up our fourth example; which you may have already thought of. Sidewalks are outdoor walking surfaces that are often times (but not always) made out of poured concrete. Again, these functional and supportive elements around your home are important. However, they also provide safety. After all, if there were no sidewalks in your neighborhood where would people be walking? Short answer, in the street.

Patios

Just like we said back at the third example of a poured concrete feature around your home, this fifth one could be thought of as flooring. However, on the outside of the home. Patios serve as important surfaces and they are often times fashioned from poured concrete. Bar-b-ques or just sitting together in the sun, patios are desirable outdoor surfaces that are a big part of just about every home.

Recreational Surfaces

Our sixth and final example of a poured concrete element around the home is the recreational surface. This one is actually several rolled up into one term that group them together. Think of all the activities that can be done and how many of them require a durable, hard surface and you have this last one in this category. Some of the recreational surfaces we thought of that might be made of poured concrete are:

  • Basketball Courts
  • Tennis Courts
  • Swimming Pool Decking

There are others and perhaps you thought of one or more of them too. So you get the idea. There are many surfaces, mainly functional ones, that are made using poured concrete. However, poured concrete is only one of the many types of concrete around your home.

Pavers & Concrete Masonry Units Around The Home

In addition to poured concrete, there are a couple of other types that may have eluded the attention of some people reading this. One type is called the paver. This form of concrete is used in outdoor hardscapes. The other is a CMU. This form of concrete is one you no doubt have seen, but might not have realized it is actually made of concrete. The CMU is used as a structural unit and it is designed for a range of applications. Some of them being the same as the poured concrete examples listed above. Let's look at pavers first, then we will look at CMU examples.

Pavers

The first of these two forms of concrete that we will look at here is the paver. These concrete items are available in various lengths and widths. In fact, pavers are often times sold in multiple sizes for use together to make intricate patterns in the stone. Many of the surfaces that can be made with poured concrete can also be made using pavers.

Paver Patios

Patios made from concrete pavers are seen all over. These outdoor surfaces are a good use for pavers because concrete is so durable. The use of pavers gives the one constructing the surface the ability to create interesting designs. The fact that pavers are made in different shapes also allows for geometric patterns too. However, they are concrete and as such, if you have one, you will want to be aware of the need for paver patio cleaner. Additionally, there may be occasions where you would like to take up a paver patio restoration project.

Sidewalks Using Pavers

Just like the poured concrete sidewalks we spoke about earlier, paver sidewalks are durable and long lasting. Yet, they have some added benefits. For example, sidewalks can be constructed using pavers that can have grass (or another plant) growing between the pavers. As a result, paver sidewalks allow for a blend of synthetic, functional, and natural elements. On the other hand, poured concrete sidewalks usually have sparse weeds growing in the control joints unintentionally.

Paver Driveways

Driveways made from concrete pavers is another place you may find concrete around your home. Pavers not only allow for design variations like mentioned above, but they also handle uneven ground elegantly. In fact, pavers have been used to create entire streets, not just driveways. When installed properly, pavers are sturdy and there is no problem driving the weight of a vehicle over them.

As we have seen briefly, concrete pavers are used for a variety of applications. But we have to consider the other type we mentioned in this section; the CMU.

Blocks

For this form of concrete, we will use the generic, but shorter term "blocks" when talking about these. As we look at some of the uses for concrete blocks, you will see that these too are versatile and durable. Blocks come in a range of sizes. Although CMU Blocks might seem like the same thing as pavers, they truly are different. Rather than getting into the details of how a CMU Block differs from a paver, we will just stick to the topic at hand, looking at the uses for blocks.

Foundation Walls

The first use for a concrete block that we will consider is using it for foundation walls. Using concrete blocks for foundations has been a practice for a long time. A couple of the benefits of using blocks for a foundation include:

  1. No forms are needed as there are with poured concrete.
  2. Blocks can be reinforced using rebar and filled with mortar.

So blocks make a great material for constructing foundation walls. But there are other types of walls that can be built using concrete blocks. Because of this, concrete blocks come in a variety of forms. We'll look at a couple of them.

Stackable Wall Stones

Although the term "stackable wall stone" is not an official one, it is very descriptive. The blocks are designed for use in building retaining walls. There are several systems of mortarless retaining wall blocks available. These are also available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. The idea though is that many homes have this kind of concrete.

Blocks For Edging Shrub Beds

Shrub beds, flower gardens, and other natural planting areas are often edged using concrete blocks. Depending on the actual use and where it is installed, the area edged may use various types of block. Some of the ones previously mentioned that may be used are retaining wall stones. Pavers may also be used in some situations. For example, a flower garden on level ground where the flowers are planted in the ground. This type of use would not require the edging to hold any weight and drainage would already have a solution.

Your home almost certainly has concrete under it in the foundation walls. But it may also have it in other places if there are retaining walls, or shrub beds edged with a stone material.

Decorative & Ornamental Concrete

The last form of concrete that we will delve into is decorative and ornamental concrete. What do we mean by the phrase, decorative and ornamental? Well there are a number of concrete fixtures, elements, and lawn decorations that are fashioned from concrete. Virtually anything around your home could be made from concrete. Here a list of some of the decor that might be made of concrete:

That list may seem like a short one but there are so many variations within a single list item that the list could easily be expanded to include thousands of items around a home that could be made of concrete. For example, the fourth item in the list above, "statues", would be expandable to a very wide scope. Since virtually anything can be made into one, this group of concrete items could be quite large. Just to illustrate, say we wanted to come up with a list of concrete animal statues which might require cleaning and general care and maintenance. Our list could look like:

The point is clear. The list of concrete statues it pretty much endless.

In conclusion, there is really no end to the amount of concrete that may be around your home. We have merely scratched the surface when it comes to concrete used for structures and decor in residential settings. Now you will no doubt be better equipped to answer the question, "how much concrete is around your home?"

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