A team of professional concrete contractors, such as Cross Construction Services in Houston (TX), working on a concrete backyard.

What to Ask a Concrete Contractor Before Hiring Them

Whether you need a new concrete driveway, a concrete patio, or any other concrete work around your home or business, you must know what to ask a concrete contractor before hiring them. Not taking the time to ask questions from potential contractors is a huge mistake. After all, you want to ensure that your concrete project will be completed on time and within budget.

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An outdoor concrete bench, a long lasting and sustainable investment that can be built by a concrete contractor such as Cross Construction Services in Houston (Texas).

Concrete Furniture: A Long-Lasting Investment

Many homeowners have modernized their homes using concrete interior design elements ranging from floors to countertops, to furniture (including concrete outdoor furniture). Concrete is an effective replacement for wood, granite, carpet, and other materials. In fact, it’s the most commonly used man-made material, and for good reason. Overall, concrete furniture is a good investment because it’s extremely durable and long-lasting, especially when protected with a sealant.

What Are Concrete Home Furnishings?

Concrete can add a modern flair to any home or apartment. It is suited for many different applications. Here are just a few examples:

  • Cast Concrete Furniture: A concrete chair can be quite comfortable if topped with cushions and pillows. Many shapes and styles are possible; with glass-fiber reinforced concrete, more complex shapes can be made. It’s also great for patio, deck, and garden furniture.
  • Concrete Kitchen/Bathroom Furnishings: Any kitchen or bathroom can look modern or earthy. Concrete is an ideal material for a sink, tub, or shower. Warm gray colors and your preference of texture can give showering a whole different feel.
  • Countertops/Shelving: Concrete is more affordable than granite. While wider slabs give off an industrial vibe, thinner slabs are more rustic. Built-in concrete shelving is durable while catering to those who like a minimalist interior design.
  • Concrete Patio Furniture: If you have hollowed plastic furniture, it can be used as a cast to produce concrete furnishings. You can even create outdoor tables, bins, and other elements with buckets and barrels.
  • Concrete Accessories: Whether you purchase or make them on your own, concrete vases, stools, and potting boxes can be the perfect additions to your home. Concrete allows you to be imaginative and can add new dimensions to home decor.

Benefits of Concrete Furniture

Outdoor concrete furniture, a long lasting and sustainable investment that can be built by a concrete contractor such as Cross Construction Services in Houston (Texas).

Versatility is one of the hallmarks of concrete. In addition to the many things that can be made from it, concrete offers exceptional design flexibility. It can be customized in any size, shape, thickness, or pattern. Also, it can be cast in just about any color. With an advanced sealant, concrete may be virtually stain-proof.

The durability of concrete makes it desirable. Depending on the mixture, it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and even storms. Products like steel-reinforced, precast concrete offer even more strength and can last in all kinds of conditions. Unlike most furniture, concrete items don’t typically lose their strength and quality, so concrete furnishings won’t have to be replaced every few years.

Beauty is something any homeowner can benefit from. Concrete allows you to create stylistic cohesion in your home; for example, your concrete outdoor furniture can match your concrete interior design. Its aesthetics are rugged yet elegant. Concrete pieces can be intricately crafted and customized into unique creations that are completely authentic.

Fits In with Just About Every Design

Not everything in your home has to be concrete. Just one centerpiece can transform your decor. Concrete blends in well with metal, wood, leather, and many other materials, whether complementing their presence or being combined in single pieces. If you thought it was too heavy to be used practically, think again. Concrete is made lighter with modern technology, without any compromise in strength.

It also has a much higher weight capacity than other materials. Therefore, tabletops and seats are much stronger and resistant to deformation. No matter what type of concrete you choose, it’s heavier and more difficult to move than other materials, so concrete furniture is less likely to be stolen, so it’s a good option for deterring thieves. As secure as it is, concrete is also easy to maintain; soap and water are enough to clean up dirt, debris, spills, etc.

Contact Cross Construction Services

Concrete has many applications outside and inside the home. In addition to focusing on concrete interior design or concrete outdoor furniture, consider the quality, condition, and safety of concrete patios, driveways, paths, parking lots, and drainage. At Cross Construction Services, we specialize in concrete installation, repair, and maintenance. To learn more about our professional concrete services in the Houston area, call 713-254-1703 today.

A high ceiling sunroom in Houston, something that Cross Construction Services can help build for your house.

The Benefits of a Sunroom or Patio Room

Do you like spending time outdoors, but the hot Texas summers make it difficult to enjoy your patio as much as you would like? One easy solution is to enclose the space and transform it into a sunroom or enclosed patio room. If you do not have a patio on your home, adding a sunroom or patio room is also a great option.

How does converting a patio into a sunroom give you more use out of your space?

Have you ever had to head indoors while enjoying your morning coffee because it started raining? Maybe the mosquitoes came out and were biting you everywhere? Have you gotten too hot and sweaty, so you retreated inside? By converting your patio into a sunroom for your home, you can continue to enjoy the outdoors and never have to worry about these types of problems.

You could even add ceiling fans or extend the ducts from your central air conditioning as part of your sunroom home improvement project. These optional upgrades help keep you cool in the summer, so you can relax outdoors for as long as you want.

How will a sunroom add value and curb appeal to your home?

One of the benefits gained with sunroom additions is they increase the value of your home. The newly enclosed space provides extra living space. While this extra space can be used as a sunroom or patio, it could also be used for a dining room, game room, or other purposes.

Another benefit of adding a sunroom is it enhances the overall appearance of your home. While the enclosure may not be easily seen from the street, it does add to the curb appeal of the house. Should you ever decide to sell your home, having a sunroom is extremely effective at attracting potential buyers.

What other benefits do I gain with a sunroom?

Sunrooms offer even more great benefits besides getting to enjoy your outdoor space year-round, increasing the value of your home, and adding to its curb appeal, including:

  • Increases Privacy – If you have nosy neighbors, an enclosed patio room offers added privacy.
  • Increases Square Footage – The total square footage for your home is increased, thanks to enclosing your patio.
  • Added Health Benefits – You do not have to worry as much about seasonal allergies. Your immune system also benefits from more exposure to natural sunlight.
  • Keep Pests Away – Your friends and family can enjoy spending time outdoors eating, watching the big game, or just relaxing and never have to retreat indoors because mosquitoes and other pests get out of control.
  • Grow Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs Year-Round – Since it is easier to control the climate in an enclosed sunroom, you can have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs whenever you want.
  • Never Have to Worry About the Weather – You do not have to worry if it starts raining or is a bit windy or too hot or too cold with an enclosed patio room.

What options do I have when adding a patio room onto my home?

There are several different designs of patio rooms and sunrooms you can choose from, such as:

  • Screen Enclosures – This type of patio room is enclosed using screens to keep bugs and pests away. Screen enclosures provide access to fresh air whenever you want.
  • Three Season Enclosures – This type of enclosure combines a screen enclosure with windows. The windows can be installed and removed depending on the time of the year and weather like on rainy days or hot summer days.
  • Four Season Enclosures – If you want to enjoy your new patio room or sunroom year-round, then you need a four season enclosure. This type of enclosure uses thermal-resistant and insulated windows to maintain interior temperatures better.
  • Heated and Cooled Enclosures – You can also heat and cool a four season enclosure since the windows are insulated.

How to Convert a Patio into a Sunroom or Patio Room

A sunroom next to a swimming pool in Houston, something that Cross Construction Services can help build for your house.

If you have an existing patio that is already covered, then converting it is fairly easy. You just need to have exterior framing installed, along with a door if you want access to your backyard from the patio room.

If your existing patio is not covered, the project will involve adding a roof over the patio with the proper supports and framing. If you need to add a sunroom onto your home, the project will involve a few more steps like pouring the concrete foundation for the sunroom.

Whether you are looking to enclose your existing patio, a traditional addition, or a completely new design, you can count on Cross Construction Services. We offer flexible patio designs to suit the unique needs of you and your family.

For further information or to request a free estimate for an enclosed patio or sunroom, please feel free to call us at 713-254-1703 today!

Interior of a modern apartment furnished

Tips for Adding a Sunroom to Your Property

A sunroom is a great option for homeowners who want a sun-filled space that is not only beautiful but functional as well. These rooms can be used as your home oasis for relaxing or entertaining guests. If you’re looking to add square footage to your home, a year-round sunroom is definitely worth considering.

While sunrooms cost less than other kinds of home additions, this doesn’t mean that you should make this decision lightly.  Here’s what you need to know before adding a sunroom so that you can stay on track and design a room that will benefit you and your family for years to come.

Know Your Budget

Sunroom additions can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $80,000. With such a broad range, it’s important for you to know exactly how much you have available to spend. This way, you can make tailored decisions that won’t send you over your budget.

There are many factors that influence the cost of a sunroom, including:

  • Size
  • Materials used
  • Type of sunroom
  • Features
  • Exterior and interior conditions

In general, the size, complexity, and building materials will have the biggest impact on the total cost of the sunroom. Most four-season rooms are designed to seamlessly become part of the home. This means that they not only blend internally but externally as well. This requires the sunroom to be built with the same materials as your home, including footers, insulation, siding, trim, and more.

Carefully Plan Out the Space

Take some time to think about how you will use your new sunroom addition. Do you want for a breakfast nook where you can read a book, sip coffee, and watch the sun come up? Is it a space for entertaining friends and family members during get-togethers?

Defining the intended space and vision for the room will allow you to make more informed decisions when choosing a size, materials, and other details.

You’ll also want to think about how big of a sunroom you want. The bigger the room, the more outdoor space you lose. A larger room may also cut into your home’s indoor space in order to make the room as usable as possible.

Sunrooms are cheaper than most additions, but you’ll want to make sure that every square foot you’re paying for will be used.

Choose the Right Placement

Most sunrooms are meant to be transitional. This means that they don’t impact the flow of your existing space. When having a sunroom addition installed, placement is crucial. You’ll want to choose a spot around your home that gets plenty of sun. If you want to use your sunroom for resting and relaxing, consider the view as well.

Choosing the wrong placement for your sunroom could be disastrous! Imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars to be stuck looking at your neighbor’s fence or getting little to no sun.

It’s also important to consider placement in terms of internal access. What room will you have to walk through in order to get to the sunroom? Most people access their rooms through the kitchen or living room, but this isn’t a requirement.

Unsure about placement? Ask the contractor for some ideas!

Pick the Right Materials

Most sunrooms are designed to flawlessly blend into your existing home, including siding and roof shingle colors, but this doesn’t have to always be the case!

There are many different materials that can be used to build a sunroom, including wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Wood creates a beautiful natural look but requires routine maintenance. On the other hand, vinyl and aluminum are much easier to care for.

You’ll also get to choose door and window materials. These items are most commonly made from glass, but vinyl and acrylic are also available options.

For extra privacy, consider screens. There are also pet-friendly screens that are durable and will keep you and your furry family members comfortable and safe.

Choose a Reputable Contractor

Installation of a glass roof for the terrace

Choosing the right contractor to build your sunroom addition is a must. Ideally, you want to hire a company that has years of experience in building sunrooms so you can have the peace of mind you’ll be completely satisfied with the end product.

Whether you’re looking for a single screen or want to be able to enjoy a three- or four-season sunroom, you can count on Cross Construction Services. We have a team of skilled contractors that knows the ins and outs of designing and constructing beautiful sunrooms.

Careful planning is key for any sunroom project. We work with clients to determine the best placement, design features, and materials to meet their needs. We also remain mindful of your budget so that you don’t spend a penny more than what you planned to spend.

We offer a variety of sunroom options, so, no matter your taste or budget, you can count on us to recommend the perfect addition for you. Cross Construction Services offers professional and competitively priced sunroom services. Our team can take on projects of all types and sizes.

Ready to discuss your sunroom project? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

Understanding the Different Types of Pavers for Your Driveway

Boxwood in the garage driveway

Pavers are flat surfaces that are typically made of concrete, natural stone, and brick.

Property owners install pavers to elevate the functionality and aesthetics of their driveway. The materials paving stones contain emit a sense of natural beauty that’s multi-dimensional. Every paver color, texture, and size brings something new and exciting to the table.

Additional outdoor spaces that commonly utilize paving stones include:

  • Walkways
  • Patios
  • Pool decks
  • Fire pits

You won’t have to deal with your paving stones’ beauty fading quickly, as popular paver materials are incredibly durable.

One of the most durable and economical paver materials is concrete. Let’s take a closer look at why concrete pavers remain a popular choice for driveways everywhere.

Concrete Pavers

The dry concrete mix that concrete pavers consist of includes cement, gravel, sand, and pigments. After the mixing process, molds can then be created. A vibration allows the cement mix to compress and form a shape before curing.

Concrete paver pricing depends mostly on the product’s style and size.

Installing Concrete Pavers

Concrete paver installation requires a clear building site. Clearing room to install concrete pavers consists of removing pre-existing paving, loose soil, or grass in the building area. The foundation of concrete pavers is a compact gravel base that’s followed by a layer of sand. Installing edging will create a border for your pavers and keep them secure.

Once the stage is set, pavers can be set in place. All pavers in your building site must fit tightly together. Motorized plate compacts do an excellent job securing the pavers into the sand base. The joints between pavers will contain a sand filling that’s then compacted again to ensure a proper fit.

Concrete Paver Driveways

Concrete is one most common paver driveway surfaces due to its economic nature and long-lasting durability. Standard concrete paver designs include molding the concrete into a brick shape.

Molding concrete into brick shapes is about more than looks. Concrete bricks contain more strength than plain concrete slabs. It’s not unusual for concrete paver driveways to last up to fifty years. One of the biggest advantages of concrete bricks is the fact that they’re less expensive than traditional bricks.

Concrete Pavers vs. Poured Concrete

Concrete pavers will give you far more styles, patterns, shapes, and colors than poured concrete will. The style flexibility of poured concrete mostly consists of some stamping and staining methods.

If you have to remove or replace individual concrete pavers, you’ll be able to get the job done. Repairs are a common reason why concrete pavers might call for removal or replacement.

Poured concrete slabs don’t offer the same room for repairs that concrete pavers do. Any repairs you perform on a concrete slab will be permanently visible.

The positive news is that concrete pavers require small amounts of regular maintenance.

Concrete Paver Maintenance

gloved hands of a manuel worker laying outdoor paving slabs on a prepared base.

Routine concrete paver maintenance mostly consists of sweeping and rinsing the concrete area with a hose. Occasionally, weeds will sprout up between individual concrete pavers. Do your best to remove weeds quickly whenever they appear.

Everyone that owns a driveway made with concrete pavers wants their driveway’s surface to remain smooth. One way to do this is to apply a sealer regularly. There are several concrete cleaners available on the market that help you fight surface staining. We recommend that you consult with your concrete paver manufacturer for recommendations on concrete cleaning products.

In summary, concrete paver driveways:

  • Are constructed using molded concrete mixed with aggregate
  • Contain strong and durable characteristics
  • Utilize a sealing process to retain their color
  • Can be dyed to mimic the appearance of other materials like brick
  • Offer a wide range of styles, colors, and patterns
  • Interlocking concrete pavers utilize small gaps for water drainage

While concrete pavers remain a reliable choice for homeowners, other paver materials like natural stone and brick exist as additional options for your driveway.

Stone Pavers

Stone pavers, otherwise known as natural stone pavers, contain some inherent disadvantages compared to concrete pavers. Regarding price, stone pavers are more expensive than concrete pavers.

If you have the budget to accommodate stone pavers for your driveway, you might still want to consider concrete pavers. Natural stone pavers aren’t as resistant to the pressures that high-traffic areas like driveways contain. This doesn’t necessarily mean that stone pavers are fragile. Limestone pavers are known for their durability and are frequently used for edging.

Natural stone pavers are more appropriate for outdoor additions like pool decks due to their absorbent properties.

There’s no doubt that stone pavers hold a distinct natural beauty. The organic textures and colors that natural stone pavers possess communicate a striking aesthetic.

Brick Pavers

It’s common for homeowners to utilize brick pavers to supply their driveway with an elegant appearance. While concrete pavers offer more durability, brick pavers can still manage the traffic that a driveway presents.

Regarding maintenance, brick pavers have a higher likelihood of experiencing cracks and breaks than concrete pavers. The main downside of brick paver durability is that their surfaces call for routine sealing to fight stains. Additional brick paver maintenance practices mirror what concrete pavers call for. Brick paver owners often use pressure washers to keep the building material’s looks up to speed.

One disadvantage with brick pavers is that they offer fewer design options than concrete pavers and cost more on average.

When you’re able to dish out some extra bucks and exhibit proper maintenance practices, brick pavers can supply your driveway with a classic look that should last over 25 years.

Professional Concrete Paver Installation in Houston, Texas

Concrete pavers provide the durability and styling options that your driveway needs. For expert concrete paver consulting and installation in the Houston, Texas area, contact Cross Construction Services.

Our 30-plus years of concrete construction for concrete driveways help you achieve the results that you desire. Cross Construction Services strives to provide our customers with concrete paver solutions that are straightforward and economical.

When you’re ready to initiate your project, contact Cross Construction Services at 713-254-1703. Your project will start with one of our contractors visiting your location and offering a free consultation regarding your plans.

Why Concrete Is the Right Choice for Your Patio’s Material

concrete patio stones

Property owners have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting a material for their patio. We’re here to unpack why concrete is the ideal patio material so you can make the most out of your property investment.

Let’s dive in.

Reason #1: Style Versatility

Patio materials like wood limit a homeowner’s ability to consider different styling options. Concrete patios offer a higher level of style versatility that allows you to acquire a final product that blends seamlessly with your overall space. If you were to select a patio material like wood, you’d find that it’s more difficult to be unique with your styling.

Choosing an adaptable material like concrete is going to make it easier for your patio to accommodate your backyard’s limitations through options like curves.

grunge wall

Color is a vital component of concrete patio designs. Methods like staining allow homeowners to install a wide variety of patio color options. Similar to color, pattern selections are going to play a central role in defining your patio. The refinement of coloring techniques and stamping tools has made patio varieties like poured-in-place concrete more dynamic than ever.1

The numerous styling options that concrete patios offer allow you to avoid owning a one-dimensional patio space. Instead, your patio will be uniquely yours.

You might be thinking that these concrete patio style perks come with a steep price tag. The positive news is that concrete is one of the more affordable options for a patio’s material. Next, we’re going to explain why this is the case.

Reason #2: Affordability

Two women sitting on sofa on outdoor backyard

Paving stones and wood are two common patio materials that are far more expensive than concrete patios. A typical wooden deck costs $33 per square foot, while concrete patios usually average $15 per square foot.2

While complementing your concrete patio’s design with additions like patterns comes at a cost, incorporating styling options on concrete patios is far more affordable than other materials like stone.

If you’re striving to create a patio space that resembles more expensive materials like stones at a fraction of the cost, concrete stenciling, stamping, engraving, and texturing are excellent options.

When looking to reduce the initial cost of installing a patio, concrete is a solid option.

Reason #3: Easy to Maintain

The solid surfaces of concrete patios require far less maintenance than alternative materials like masonry units. When your patio consists of materials like individual masonry units, additional maintenance practices like dealing with weeds are bound to crop up.

If you’re wondering how weeds can enter a patio, materials like paving stones contain sand-filled joints between units that can foster invasive plant growth.2 The aforementioned solid surfaces of concrete patios serve to prevent weeds from entering the picture.

Materials like wood will force you to stain and reseal to avoid cracking and splitting, which can be a real bummer. On the other hand, concrete patios allow you to perform maintenance yourself without special tools or equipment.

General concrete patio maintenance practices include:3

  • Surface rinsing with a garden hose
  • Using liquid dish soap and a push broom
  • Rising again to wash the soap away
  • One annual sealing

If you place value on environmental consciousness, keep reading!

Reason #4: Environmental Friendliness

Green building is becoming increasingly essential as time goes on. It’s vital that we sustainably construct buildings and homes so future generations can benefit.

Concrete is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly materials, thanks to its sustainability. Limestone, one of the earth’s most abundant minerals, is the primary raw material for the cement in concrete. Other materials manufacturers use to create concrete are silica fume, sly ash, and additional recyclable materials.4

The sustainability that concrete patios provide translates into long-lasting results. You can trust that your concrete patio will stand its ground against heat, rust, and rotting. It’s not uncommon for a concrete patio to last double or even triple the amount of time of other patio materials.

If you’re wondering how concrete patios withstand natural elements like heat, reflectivity is a primary factor.4 Light-colored concrete is going to attract less heat and reflect higher levels of solar radiation.

Hiring a company to address your concrete patio needs will simplify the entire building process. We understand that you’re looking for a patio contractor that can turn your vision into a reality. Let’s talk about how Cross Construction Services can help you accomplish that goal.

Why You Should Choose Cross Construction Services

Our 30-plus years serving Houston, Texas, and the surrounding Houston area help you accomplish your concrete patio goals by using our straightforward and economical knowledgeable approach.

Concrete patios aren’t limited to fully outdoor spaces. If you’re looking for patio room contractors, you’ve come to the right place. We build screened-in patios so you can enjoy the outdoors with additional protection from natural elements.

Durable and easy to maintain, concrete patios are a reliable and affordable choice. Contact Cross Construction Services today at 713-254-1703 to start building your ideal concrete patio.

Sources:

  1. https://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete-patio/benefits.html
  2. https://www.portaggregates.com/choose-concrete-patio-surface/
  3. https://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete-patio/maintenance.htm
  4. https://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/greenbuildinginformation/

10 Cutting-Edge Concrete Construction Techniques for Your Next Project

If you’re just starting a new construction project or reading this article, you’ll probably be using concrete at some point soon. Thankfully, concrete construction has come a long way from pouring cement into wooden forms: From self-healing formulations to entirely 3D-printed constructions, you may be surprised to discover just how far concrete has come!

While there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple, your project may benefit from adopting one of the following methods and techniques. Not only are many of these methods extremely cost- and time-effective, but they’re also surprisingly easy to implement—so much so that they might be substantially easier and less expensive to use for your project than traditional concrete construction methods.

As you’ll see shortly, some of these cutting-edge techniques don’t even involve concrete directly; in some cases, the improvements are all in the design process. Read on to find out more!

1. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality marketing concept for architecture

Augmented reality has not only become beneficial for concrete construction, but it’s also now widely used throughout the construction industry as a whole. With augmented reality, prototyping and planning have become leaner, less expensive, and more flexible than ever before.

What exactly is augmented reality, and how can it benefit you and your project—let alone one specifically involving concrete?

Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality, but instead it “augments” your field of vision with virtual structures—namely, your construction project. This process is usually performed using a smartphone or some other “smart device,” where software simulates how your structure will look by placing it into your camera view. This way, you can “view” your project through your camera lens without any need for physical prototyping.

While augmented reality may seem fairly high tech, there’s a good chance you’ve done most of the work already: If you’ve been planning your project “on paper,” you’ve likely used computer-assisted design (CAD) software to do so. With many augmented reality programs working in tandem with most major CAD software distributions, you can automatically convert your existing project plans into an immersive, or at least semi-immersive, augmented reality experience using a smart device.

2. 3D Printing and Modeling

As with augmented reality, 3D printing and modeling allow you to convert your designs into tangible prototypes—and, in some cases, build your entire structure or modular components directly using concrete 3D printing.

While building-scale 3D printing is still in development, conventional 3D printing can still help you design, prototype, and build many components of your project. In its most accessible form, resin-based 3D printing can be used to print scaled-down prototypes of your designs, which may grant a helpful perspective beyond simply imagining the design or viewing it through software.

Now, if you have access to concrete 3D printing technology, then certainly take advantage of it: Construction companies have achieved overwhelmingly positive results by simply 3D printing their concrete structures rather than dealing with form molds, setting times, and other drawbacks usually associated with conventional concrete construction.

Plus, with many concrete 3D-printed structures showing similar—if not superior—performance to factory-formed structures, 3D printing is set to become more commonplace in construction soon.

3. Pre-Cast Foundations

corner of brick wall with clouds behind

We know what you might be thinking and, unfortunately, it’s not quite practical to form a concrete foundation in a factory and then transport it somewhere—at least, not all at once that is.

Here, a “pre-cast” foundation is built using some number of pre-cast modules. These modules can range in size from cinderblocks to larger, modular components. The latter has now become a favored concrete construction method. In any case, using modular components to build your foundation offers far greater flexibility than traditional poured-concrete construction methods.

The benefits aren’t just limited to flexibility in design: By using the right techniques and materials, precast foundations are far less prone to structural errors and easier to repair or insulate. Of course, assembling pre-cast modules is somewhat more involved than simply pouring the foundation—but at least you won’t have to deal with building forms and pouring messy cement!

4. Pre-Cast Flat-Panel Modules

Foundations aren’t the only major structures that can benefit from pre-cast modules: Floors, walls, and other large sections can, too. With many of these components now made in controlled factory settings, it’s now possible to achieve the flexibility of modular construction with the strength of concrete—all without the mess of pouring concrete at the job site.

Also known as “cross-wall construction,” using pre-cast flat-panel modules is quickly becoming a popular construction choice for concrete buildings. Manufacturing panels in a controlled setting not only lends new flexibility to concrete construction but makes it much easier for construction teams to adhere to specifications while significantly shortening project times.

5. 3D Volumetric Construction

3D volumetric construction combines the speed and flexibility of modular construction with the design capabilities of 3D printing and other forms of additive manufacturing. The result is completely pre-fabricated, 3D concrete modules, such as individual units in a concrete apartment building. Where pre-cast foundations and flat-panel modules still require major assembly at the job site, 3D volumetric construction reduces major onsite assembly to—quite literally—stacking blocks together.

Of course, like pre-cast foundations and flat panels, 3D volumetric construction requires off-site facilities for producing the modules. While utilizing such facilities may come with additional overhead, the increased flexibility, control over design, and adherence to specifications are often worth any additional investment.

6. Self-Healing Concrete

Self-healing concrete is finally starting to take shape in the construction world. While concrete has been around since ancient Rome, even the most modern formulations are still prone to cracking and degrading over time. As a result, regular concrete repair remains a crucial part of concrete maintenance—but maybe not for much longer!

By mixing beneficial colonies of bacteria directly into the concrete, self-healing concrete becomes capable of automatically filling cracks, gaps, and other damage as they form. While this technology is still relatively new, it’s already delivering promising results and could potentially reduce—if not eliminate—many routine concrete repair tasks in the near future.

7. Raised-Access Flooring

Concrete has also become a preferred material for raised-access flooring, where concrete panels are suspended above the ground using specially-made hardware. With this extra space, it’s possible to run HVAC, electrical wiring, and other utilities below the floor—or, in other words, completely out of sight. Plus, with concrete as the primary material, raised-access flooring is both durable and inexpensive.

In addition to providing extra space for utilities, raised-access flooring can also help improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the utilities themselves. For example, raised-access flooring allows underfloor air distribution, an efficient and low-energy alternative to many conventional HVAC systems.

8. Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF)

Insulating concrete formwork (ICF) uses hollow polystyrene “bricks” to rapidly construct forms for foundations, walls, and other concrete structures. After stacking, the bricks are filled with pre-mixed concrete, resulting in a thick wall with an insulative exterior.

Speed and flexibility are the primary benefits of using ICF in a construction project. Since the polystyrene forms are small and lightweight, they’re quick and easy to stack into almost any arrangement with only a few people. In most cases, a small team of builders can assemble and pour entire foundations or exterior walls in a single day!

While concrete already has good insulative properties, the extra insulation provided by the polystyrene forms makes for a “one-step” construction solution. Since the form itself becomes part of the structure, rather than being removed after setting, construction teams no longer have to spend valuable time building and setting up temporary forms. Plus, drywall and exterior siding can be directly affixed to the polystyrene.

9. Thin-Joint Masonry

Men hands while constructing beams of building

A modern approach to traditional masonry techniques, thin-joint masonry utilizes small, thin layers of mortar to secure concrete blocks and bricks. Where traditional methods of mortaring would use thick layers, setting times could quickly become an issue—especially where large amounts were required. With thin-joint masonry, setting times are massively reduced, with the side effect of cost- and time-savings from using less mortar.

The results of thin-joint masonry also lend to a more modern aesthetic, where blocks or bricks will have only a fine seam between them.

10. Kinetic Footfall Energy Capture

While it’s still an emerging technology, kinetic footfall energy capture is already showing promise as a viable form of alternative energy for buildings with high foot traffic. By embedding kinetic sensors into concrete floors, kinetic footfall energy captures and stores the energy from footsteps. This captured energy, combined with that from other passive energy sources, can help supplement the building’s energy needs.

Finding the Right Construction Team

No matter the type of concrete construction you use, hiring the right construction team is one of the best ways to guarantee great results. For more information on our concrete construction services, call our team at 713-254-1703.