Concrete: The Modest Material With a Rock-Solid Reputation

What Can Concrete Do for You?

From roadways, sidewalks, and curbs to fancy pool decks and retaining walls, concrete can be found in nearly every urban and rural setting across the country. And with good reason! It’s versatile, it’s durable, it’s economical…it really has a rock solid reputation, and we thought it was about time you got to know it a little better.

First, a Bit of History

  • January 11, 1900: Thomas Edison applied for his first patent concerning concrete. Over the next 17 years, he would apply and receive 49 concrete patents—for crushing and screening, conveyors, sealing, and more.
  • 1909: In Detroit, the Wayne County Road Commission (of which a guy pretty invested in roads—Henry Ford—was a member) completed the first concrete road, which was a whole mile long!
  • 1922: The Edison Portland Cement Company poured the concrete for Yankee Stadium. When the stadium was renovated in 1973, the concrete walls were left untouched. They’d held up beautifully for more than 50 years!

But, How (You Might Ask) is it Made?

You’d be hard pressed to find a more humble material. Composite materials such as sand and gravel are mixed with a fluid paste (cement) and water. Rather than simply drying to its rock-like final form, the mix goes through a series of chemical reactions due to the lime content in the cement portion of the mix. This curing process, which takes place over a series of hours, or even days, allows the concrete mix to be transported, poured, smoothed, and perfected.

Why Concrete? (We Know You’re Dying to Find Out)

The benefits of using concrete are numerous and varied. For a start, it’s highly water and fire resistant. Unlike wood or metal, concrete does not rust or decompose. Whether the desired project is strictly utilitarian or decorative, concrete can be molded and poured into any shape imaginable, and reinforcing materials, such as rebar, can be added. In addition to its tough-guy qualities, concrete holds the top prize for aesthetic options, as it readily accepts tints, sealers, texture stamping, and more for an aesthetically appealing finish. Concrete holds its own in terms of durability and longevity and, although the initial costs may be higher than other materials, it’s often more economical over the course of its life span.

Here at Black Diamond, we spend nearly as much time as Edison thinking about concrete. (It is half our name, after all.) Whether you need a pool deck that’s smooth and easy on the feet, shiny new sidewalks and curbs, or repairs to existing concrete surfaces, we are ready to get started. Give us a call! (We’d love to cement our—and our concrete’s—reputation with you!)