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How Much Water is in Concrete?

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Contrary to popular belief, concrete and cement are not the same things; cement is just a component of concrete. Concrete is made up of three basic components: water, aggregates, and Portland cement. Cement, usually in powder form, acts as a binding agent when mixed with water and aggregates. This combination, or concrete mix, will be poured molds to harden into the concrete fences Hilltop is known for. Water affects many of the properties of concrete including durability, compression strength, workability, shrinkage, and permeability.

The water-cement ratio is the ratio of the weight of water to the weight of cement that is utilized in a particular concrete mix. The water to cement ratio is calculated by dividing the water in one cubic yard of the mix ( in pounds) by the cement in the mix (in pounds). So if one cubic yard of the mix has 235 pounds of water and 470 pounds of cement- the mix is a .50 water to cement ratio. The lower the ratio, the higher the compression strength.

A higher water-cement ratio will provide a concrete mix that is easy to work and can save labor, however, more water is not always a good thing.  More water results in a weaker end product because the cement particles are spaced further apart and cannot form together to create a strong bond. Using a higher ratio of water also increases the concretes permeability. The more permeable, the weaker the concrete; the less permeable, the stronger the concrete. 

While a higher water-cement ratio may make the concrete more workable, it can result in a product that is weak and porous. This does not mean that less water equals a better end product. If too little water is used, there are negatives to using too little water as well. If you do not add enough water, the concrete will be unworkable and stiff. Too little water can result in weaker concrete as well because it will not cure properly. A slump test can be performed as a quick way to determine mixed workability and indirectly determine if too much water has been used.

At Hilltop Concrete we use concrete in two different forms, Ready-mix concrete is used in the piers of post foundations and our proprietary precast concrete mix in our precast fences. Our precast fence systems are manufactured in stone, brick, and wood patterns and are fabricated with a 5,000 PSI concrete mix. For more information please contact Hilltop Concrete at hello@hilltopconcreteco.com or 903-630-5465.