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There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of high-flow concrete, but how do contractors know when to use it and when conventional concrete is sufficient? First, let’s define the different types of concrete.

  • Conventional concrete: Normal slump concrete has been used successfully for decades, but can be difficult and labor intensive to place for the contractor and more time-consuming for the ready-mix concrete producer.
  • Self-consolidating concrete: This is a specifically designed mix, typically containing higher cementitious contents and smaller size coarse aggregates. Self-consolidating concrete mixes are typically more expensive, but require less labor than conventional concrete to place. Self-consolidating concrete’s moisture tolerance can be sensitive, so contractors need to have sufficient quality assurance staff in the field to ensure the right consistency.
  • Control flow concrete: This category of concrete bridges the gap between conventional concrete and self-consolidating concrete. Control flow concrete uses conventional mix designs, larger coarse aggregates and CONCERA water-reducing concrete admixture. Therefore, material costs are lower than self-consolidating concrete.
characteristics of each type of concrete 

Many factors need to be considered when choosing a specific concrete category. First, consider where the concrete will be used. For example, control flow concrete is ideal for most slab on grade and formed concrete applications, while self-consolidating concrete is advantageous for use in highly reinforced and difficult-to-cast applications.

Additionally, when considering the price of each type of concrete, contractors will want to take into account the cost of the materials, as well as the cost of labor in the region. Since higher-flowing concrete, like control flow concrete and self-consolidating concrete, significantly reduce the amount of labor involved with placing concrete, their benefits are even greater when they’re used in cities with high labor rates.

Pros and Cons of Different Concrete Types 

Armed with this information, contractors should be able to better decipher the differences between types of concrete, and determine the type that is best for specific projects.

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