B.D. Morgan & Company offers a variety of commercial and industrial concrete services. Whether you need concrete for a new job or are in need of concrete repair, replacement, or removal, B.D. Morgan can get the job done quickly and professionally. The following is a list of common concrete jobs we perform.
- Floor Slabs
- Building Foundations
- Machine Foundations
- Concrete Walls
- Retaining Walls
- Concrete Pavement
- Concrete Pits
- Concrete Repairs (slabs, walls, etc.)
- Concrete Trenches
- Concrete Demolition
Choosing the Right Concrete Contractor
When considering a concrete contractor to hire for your next concrete project, regardless of the simplicity of the project, not all contractors are created equal. Most can create a final product that is pleasing to the eye and covers the area that you wanted. However, it is beneath the surface that really matters.
So much depends on the initial design of the project. For example, let’s consider floor slabs. The first thing to consider is the intended use of the slab. One needs to be very clear about the amount and nature of the loading on the slab and how often it is being loaded. Although thickness of the concrete is very important, most property owners can get too caught up solely in this specification. In terms of the durability and life of a slab, the existing subbase and the reinforcement design tends to be much more important.
Most owners know very little about how to convert their usage needs to an adequate slab design all by themselves. Most owners believe that if a concrete contractor is practicing this type of work and has been doing it for some time, that they know what is best. That is an unfortunate misconception, especially in these hard economic times. There is a great difference in expertise between contractors and unfortunately, there are those that will cut corners on the design to make their initial proposal cost attractive to the owner. One concrete contractor may be able to make a very attractive slab visually, and may be cheaper than others, and seem to have been a good choice in the short term, but ultimately, turn out to be the most expensive option due to the need to tear out and replace a defective slab design.
First let’s talk about the subbase, or the material that is underneath the slab. It is the most important factor to consider. Many times, a contractor may only grade out the existing dirt or maybe add a thin layer of leveling gravel. This could be the determining factor for a failed slab no matter how good the design and placement of the slab may be. The old saying is: “good over junk is just junk”. If you are to place a fantastic slab design over material that will settle or have a drainage problem, you are asking for a total replacement.
Proper subsurface investigation is essential to determine what type of material is layered underneath the work area and its resistance to settlement and holding water. Holding water can cause heaving in the winter time when it freezes and will cause severe cracking or uneven sections to separate from each other. How many times have you almost tripped over a section of sidewalk that has risen higher than the section next to it? Compacted subbase layers of gravel and/or drainage systems can eliminate this problem and may need to be part of the design. Also, soft spots in the soils can allow for sections to settle and drop under loading or cause an isolated failure in the slab. Proper compaction with some type of plate/vibratory compactor, or even replacing the troublesome material will make for a successful final completion. Unfortunately, you will usually only find out there is a problem after a contractor is paid and gone. Make sure that any contractor you consider for your job has the necessary expertise and takes the time to evaluate the needs for your particular subbase condition. B.D. Morgan & Company will always take these precautions when designing your subbase.
The next consideration, and just as important, is a proper reinforcement design of your concrete slab. Portland Cement Concrete is relatively strong in compression, but weak under tension forces. In a cross section of a slab, when loaded, the top of the slab is being forced together (in compression), while the bottom of the slab is being pulled apart (in tension). The only way to help the tension side of the slab is with reinforcement – that means steel reinforcement. In the last few decades roughly, it has become standard practice for some concrete contractors to incorporate nylon or polypropylene fibers, or “fiber mesh” in their “design” only. Although fibermesh is a benefit for initial shrinkage and cracking during curing, it is not and never should be used as primary reinforcement. Only steel mesh and/or rebar should be considered for reinforcement of the tension side. Unfortunately, too many concrete contractors try to pass fiber mesh off as primary reinforcement because it saves time and makes their proposal cheaper than someone with steel reinforcement.
Based on your loadings and uses, the type of reinforcement used, or lack of, will be a determining factor on possibly needing to totally replace the slab, and again, you will only know that there is a problem after a contractor is paid and gone. Make sure that you consider only qualified contractors that have the expertise and knowledge in steel reinforcement design, like the certified civil engineers at B.D. Morgan. They may be less competitive in their pricing, but you will spend many times their cost in replacement of defective systems if you were to hire incompetence.
A successful concrete project is not an accident done by anyone with a pickup and a float. It requires design knowledge, understanding of particular needs, environmental considerations and a knowledgeable, skillful team. The alternative can be very costly in the long run. Give the experienced concrete contractors at B.D. Morgan & Company a call on your next commercial/industrial concrete project and discover the difference proper design expertise can make in delivering a quality, reliable product.
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