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Concrete Glossary


Abrams’ Law – a rule on concrete stating that with the provided materials, testing conditions, and curing, the strength of concrete is oppositely related to the ratio of cement to water. Low cement to water rations create higher concrete strengths

Accelerator – a chemical substance that is placed on a concrete mixture to minimize the set time through increasing the hydration rate

Antiquing – a technique used for color layering that gives decorative concrete surfaces a mottled or aged appearance.


Bleeding – water that emerges on freshly placed concrete’s surface caused by segregation. Bleeding could interfere with the setting of the finishing touches

Blistering – the development of blisters in coatings or toppings and the loss of the bond with the substrate. With concrete surfaces, blistering is a result of moisture vapor transmission or moisture problems

Broom Finish – a type of surface texture that is achieved by pushing a broom on top of freshly placed concrete (this is used for sidewalks and driveways)


Concrete – a mixture of cement, sand, water, coarse aggregate and fine aggregate

Calcine – heating a substance to an elevated temperature but under the fusing or melting point, thus causing oxidation, reduction, moisture loss, and the decomposition of carbonates and other compounds

Cement – a construction material produced by grinding clay and calcined limestone to a fine powdery substance that can be used as an ingredient for making concrete or mortar, or combined with water and poured to a set to create a solid mass

Cast – to create an object by using concrete in fluid form and pouring it into a mold, then allowing it to harden.


Decorative Concrete – concrete enhanced by texture, pattern, color or a mixture of ornamental treatments

Densifier – a hardening liquid chemical, which penetrates into concrete when applied, to help densify and solidify the surface and offer additional protection from staining and water penetration


Efflorescence – a crystalline deposit of salts, which forms on the surface of concrete when soluble calcium hydroxides leaks out of the concrete and mix together with the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide. These white deposits are even more unappealing on colored concrete


Flatwork – trade name used for specialized concrete work being performed. Examples are concrete work done for building sidewalks, walkways and patios with concrete flooring. Flatwork requires specialized knowledge and skill for the surface to be trowelled properly for the desired texture


Gravel Mix – a mixture of concrete that makes use of large smooth gravel or pea gravel as the coarse aggregate. Usually used for exposed aggregate finishes


Hydration – the chemical reaction that occurs between water and cement, resulting in the hardening of cement based-materials and concrete


Monolithic – comprising or acting like a single, typically rigid, uniform whole


Reinforced Concrete – concrete construction containing welded wire mesh or steel rebar embedded inside to offer more tolerance to flexural stress and tension.

Another type of reinforced concrete contains glass fibers / glass sheeting. It’s called GFRC – Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete. The glass fibers add tensile strength, which is also reinforcement and this is the type that is usually used for projects such as architectural precast concrete.


Thermal Mass – a notion in building design that describes how the building mass has inertia. This protects against temperature instabilities sometimes called the thermal flywheel effect


VOC Pollution – known as volatile organic compound. VOCs are organic chemicals that contain an elevated vapor pressure at regular, room temperature settings. This is due to a low boiling point that triggers large numbers of molecules to evaporate or transfer from the solid or liquid form of the compound and go into the air

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        Ann Morgan & Margo Pfleger, homeowners – home addition and whole home remodel

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