What is cement and when and how was it invented?

Of course, ancient civilizations have been using a type of cementation before the modern concrete was invented.  The Romans, the ancient Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians all had their types of binders.  The Romans and the Greeks utilized a pozzolan, sometimes artificial, for creating hydraulic cement.  Before that, the Babylonians used bitumen as a binder for bricks and Egyptians used mortar for their stones.

To understand cementation,it is first important to note that the Pozzolanic Reaction is a chemical reaction and the reason and process used to create cement.  Pozzolans are silicous and aluminous materials and when mixed with water and lime it chemically reacts.  This reaction between water and the combination of a silica and lime (calcium oxide) is known as hydraulic cement.

A method for producing hydraulic cement was finally patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824.  Mr. Joseph Aspdin was a mason bricklayer in Leeds, England and named his Portland Cement because the color reminded him of the quarry near the Britain coast called the Isle of Portland.

One score and five years later Joseph Monier took the process a step further and invented reinforced concrete which was used on the first concrete bridge in 1889 as well as the first reinforced concrete dam in 1936; the Hoover Dam.

Please contact us at Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation, we are always eager to share our knowledge.

How does Houston’s climate affect concrete?

For many, Houston has an enviable climate: hot in the summer; mild in the winter; and with levels of humidity throughout the year to make it a fertile growing spot. But how does the heat and moisture impact on Houston’s infrastructure and, specifically, its concrete?

We know that humidity, along with a wide temperate range, can significantly impact the performance of concrete. As with other materials, concrete can expand in the heat and contract in the cold, meaning that structures can shift and cracks can appear. Houston’s humid climate presents other challenges, increasing the pH levels of concrete and compromising its integrity, compressive strength and durability.  Moisture can also lead to the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria, which can weaken the material, and might even contribute to the worsening of a chemical reaction within the concrete that turns its inners to gel.

Yet concrete still remains a key construction material in Houston, not least because of its affordability, durability and thermal mass, slowing the passage of heat to keep buildings cool on the inside no matter how high the outside temperature soars.

The solution, then, lies in using expert concrete contractors who understand the highs and lows of Houston’s climate and its impact on all stages of the process, from producing the right mix for your construction project to the finished article. As we’ve seen with the bridge repairs across Texas over the past few years, regular maintenance and repair is essential for making concrete work in Houston. Please contact us at Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation, we are always eager to share our knowledge.

BHCC, Inc.

Houston, TX 77041

What is a Bollard?

Bollards are a series of short post utilized to protect specific and sensitive areas as well as guiding traffic appropriately. It can provide relief from certain impacts where building protection and security are important. Bollards can also be placed in series or in line to serve as a visual characteristic to manage pedestrian walkway areas and warehouse driveways for vehicle loading and logistics. Other applications might include boundary demarcations or access prevention to restricted areas as well as building entrances and utility rooms.

Modern bollards come in many designs and functions for a multitude of applications and uses. The majority of bollards are used for warehouse and business protection from vehicle or forklift operations. These are the standard steel posts or pipes that are embedded with a concrete reinforcement for actual physical protection.

Bollards come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and looks that can be appealing in many a different settings. Bollards are mainly utilized for protection against sensitive areas and our company has extensive experience in this area as well as other concrete services and products. Please contact us at Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation, we are always eager to share our knowledge.

The Role of the Retention Pond Lift Station

When driving the streets of Houston you will notice retention ponds on the sites of new construction and usually associated with these ponds are lift stations that aren’t very noticeable unless one was looking for it. Often built near new developmental areas, detention ponds and basins are created to catch water runoff from higher elevations during heavy rain. The run off water is then retained until the streets and ditches have drained away, at that point the detention pond water can be released but only at the rate of release determined by the governing body.

Whether your project is located in the city of Houston, Harris county or surrounding cities and counties, you will need to check with the proper permitting agency to determine if your construction project will be required to install a detention pond and or a lift station. These facilities are gaining popularity to the point that it is almost mandatory for new construction. Pump stations are used to pump runoff water at a controlled rate from a low elevation to a high elevation mainly when the gravity flow is not sufficient enough to move the water naturally.

Most lift station equipment systems are pre fabricated and installed in an enclosure but often can be customized on site depending on different variables. Included in these stations are a receiving well with a screen to catch larger materials, pumping motors, pipes with valves, alarm controlling system and a odor ventilation system.

These are just a few of the services we offer.  Contact Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation.

What is Equal Between Concrete and Blacktop?


what is EqualWHAT IS EQUAL?

Several factors must be included when deciding if concrete or asphalt is more suitable.  See the chart for comparisons to see what is equal between concrete and asphalt (subgrade conditions also play a major role).

If you click on the image to the left you will review a side by side layout of what will be summarized and explained further. There is a considerable cost difference between the two but longevity and serviceability will become just a few factors that must be included in the final decision.  Bill Houston Concrete Construction Services, Inc. is always happy to provide detailed answers to all your concrete questions.

A typical concrete section of  4″ PC Concrete 4″ X 0.50 = 2.00 with compacted earth is equal to a blacktop section of 1.5″ Blacktop 1.5″ X 0.40 = 0.60 and 10″ of crushed stone at 10″ X 0.14 = 1.40 both with S.N. 2.00

A typical concrete section of 5″ PC Concrete 5″ X 0.50 = 2.50 with compacted earth is equal to a blacktop section of 1.5″ Blacktop 1.5″ X 0.40 = 0.60 and 13.6″ of crushed stone at 13.6″ X 0.14 = 1.90 both with S.N. 2.50

A typical concrete section of 6″ PC Concrete 6″ X 0.50 = 3.00 with compacted earth is equal to a blacktop of 4″ Blacktop 4″ X 0.40 = 1.60 and 10″of crushed stone at 10″ X 0.14 = 1.40 both with S.N. 3.000

Material                 “Equivalent Structual Number (S.N.) per Inch of Pavement”
Asphaltic Concrete (Asphalt)                                      0.4
Bituminous Aggregate Base                                        0.35
Crushed Stone Base                                                      0.14
Snad-Gravel Base                                                           0.11
Portland Cement Concrete                                          0.5

Both have their advantages, but the climate along with many other factors will dictate which type of paving will be best for your project.

Concrete is much more durable making it the best choice to use in hot or warmer climate conditions.   Concrete lasts longer but cracks are very common due to temperature changes and soil shifting.

Asphalt is basically a wearing surface and requires some type of stabilized subgrade.  In hot and warmer climate conditions asphalt will be negatively affected  from heavy loads, tire ruts and motorcycle kickstands.

Generally speaking it is always advisable to have a soil test done with engineer recommendations on what type of subgrade preparation is best and what type of paving material is best for a particular job.

A Glance at Screening Potential Construction Firms

When it comes to the building of a structure from scratch, the most important thing you should do is select an experienced Houston construction company. Screening potential contractors can be a project in itself. Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. wants to help you prepare for this important decision, so you get the best quality service available.

When considering a new project, one of the most common mistakes is selecting the first construction firm you come across. We recommend putting together a list of at least three solid contractors in your area that have the capacity to meet the needs of your specific requirements. Check the companies’ websites or contact them individually via phone or email to learn more about their level of expertise, and to gauge their commitment to customer satisfaction and professionalism.

It is important to have an understanding of the basics that are inseparable from a construction project, such as, soil testing, clearing, grading, stabilizing and permit requirements. An experienced contractor will recognize these needs and will provide solutions and advice for each, prior to starting work. Ideally, we recommend selecting a construction firm that doesn’t have to subcontract certain aspects of the job. Subcontracting can increase client costs and be less reliable.

Before making a final decision on which contractor to hire, have a couple of companies provide an estimate or quote for the scope of your project. By discussing price and specifics early, you will have an idea of which companies best fit your budget even as they present the highest quality craftsmanship.

Compare line items of the written estimates. Some companies, like BHCC, Inc. consider every minute detail; therefore, they are better prepared and reduce the chance of add-on costs during your build.

Lastly, as you near the end of the screening process, remember to request proof of liability insurance. Construction projects big and small can be dangerous. Ensure the contractor has proper certificates and insurance to protect yourself in the case of an unfortunate accident or other unexpected liability.

We at Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. strive for success, both in the safety of our employees and the financial stability of our customers. Now that you have the power to screen potential construction firms, contact us at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation.

Selecting the Ideal Houston Concrete Contractor for Your Project

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When choosing a company to help with your project, it is essential to enlist the services of a proven and professional contractor. Every project is different. How can you ensure success before you’ve even begun? Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. wants you to know what to look for and which questions to ask before you hire a contractor.

For most people, the easiest place to begin the hunt for a Houston concrete contractor is on the internet. Due to Houston’s large population, an internet search will return thousands of results, and the task of choosing the right one for a specific project can be a time-consuming endeavor.

However, you can narrow your results by looking for top-rated contractors, current websites, history and references. We suggest you put together a short list of 5-7 potential contractors that might fit the needs of your specific concrete project.

Once you have a list, look for customer reviews of services online. Were people satisfied with their final product, the customer interaction and the time frame to completion? Eliminate any contractors that have multiple complaints or negative reviews in the last couple of years as their services may not be the quality you deserve. Check online reviews as well as the Better Business Bureau.

Browse each contractor’s company website. Look for photos of past concrete projects as evidence of their work and craftsmanship. Check to see if they have any certificates or references on the website such as the Better Business Bureau’s Accredited Business stamp. Next, look for answers to the important questions. Some you might find online, others might require a phone call

  1. How long has the contractor been in business?
  2. Does the contractor carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation?
  3. Can they provide a Certificate of Insurance?
  4. Can they provide job references or testimonials?
  5. Will they have a supervisor on site at all times who can answer questions?
  6. Do they provide a written warranty?
  7. How many days will be needed to complete the project?
  8. Will there be any down payments or deposits required to start?
  9. Does the contractor hire employees or subcontractors?
  10. Can the contractor provide soil testing, clearing and permits needed for the job?

These questions should help determine the ideal contractors to start contacting. Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. recommends choosing the three best candidates to start with. Contact each one by phone or email. This is a good way of judging what type of relationship can be expected based on the level of customer service received on the initial contact. Good companies with years of experience will have attentive and knowledgeable people willing to help you assess goals and set appropriate expectations.

Also, make sure the contractor has a deep understanding and thorough knowledge of concrete, asphalt and the effects of different weather conditions such as heat and humidity. As you know, the weather here in Houston is unpredictable and can create big problems for inexperienced contractors and their clients.

Now it’s time for the final decision, we suggest you meet with the concrete contractors that have made the best impressions. During this meeting, you should have a chance to view their portfolio or gallery of past work, and get a quote or at least a rough estimate of your project’s cost, scope and timelines. This will give you the chance to compare and judge the best working relationship and make the most informed decision.

Contact Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Commercial Concrete Slab Foundations: Process and Specifications

Foundations are often called a concrete slab or even just “slab,” but no two slabs are alike. With such a wide range of foundation/slab designs, it is important to know the proper specifications for each project, such as, adaptation based on the soil test report.

A solid soil support system below the concrete, otherwise known as sub-grade, is essential and critical to a successful foundation. The first step is to complete a soil test to examine the characteristic make-up of the existing soil. A geotechnical lab will perform a soil boring, which will provide the structural engineer with the information he requires to design an appropriate foundation slab to support the weight of the project.

Depending on the test results, the sub-grade might require stabilizing. This often means using lime or cement, then excavating the soil 12 to 36 inches as well as placing a new select fill material.

Once the sub-grade is ready, the structural engineer will also design the slab/foundation, based on the soil test results and load anticipation. In addition to the geotechnical soil test, there are other critical tasks to perform before laying a foundation. These include creating engineered stamped drawings and of course, acquiring municipal permits and paying any necessary fees.

The list below provides an overview of the main steps involved in laying a new slab/foundation:

  1. Perform a geotechnical soil test and analyze results.
  2. Stabilize the existing sub-grade.
  3. Form and pour a 5-inch thick slab.
  4. Place ½-inch rebar at 12-inch centers.
  5. Drill piers with the dimensions of 12” x 36” x 8’ with rebar.
  6. Install a concrete-grade beam with the dimensions of 12” x 24” with rebar.
  7. Spread footing/pier caps with the dimensions of 24” x 24” x 24” with rebar.
  8. Install a vapor barrier to prevent water vapor from getting into the slab.
  9. Complete a trowel finish depending on the anticipated level of skid resistance.
  10. Saw the expansion joints.
  11. Spray on a curing compound depending on the engineer’s recommendations.

A foundation or concrete slab involves many critical tasks to prepare, design and execute in a way that will support the structure eventually placed on top. Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. demands competence from its team and provides guidance to clients every step of the way. The positive outcome and number of successfully laid slabs is undeniable evidence of expertise. Contact us at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation.