Aggregate materials add the strength and bulk to concrete. In total your aggregates will make up for around 60-75% of the total volume of your concrete. For that reason alone, the choice of aggregate is just as important as the choice of cement, if not more so.
There are quite a few different types of aggregate available in the UK. Fine aggregates are very small in diameter and usually made up of sand or crushed stone. These usually end up together with concrete and water making mortar for brickwork.
Then there are coarse aggregates. These include any material that has particles greater than 0.19 inches upwards. So in this list you will find all sorts of grades of beach and river gravels, pebbles, crushed stones, waste from ore smelting, recycled concrete and newer geosynthetics.
Whichever you chose, your aggregates must be washed clean, be chemically inert and have a neutral PH. otherwise they may cause the concrete to deteriorate over time.
The other ingredient in concrete is cement. It is the glue that binds the aggregates together. It is often supplied in powdered form, usually made from limestone or calcium silicates. If you want concrete that sets underwater, that too is available (in fact hydraulic cement been around since the ancient Romans, although after they marched off we did forget how to mix it properly for about twelve hundred years.)
These days there are all sorts of new and interesting materials being used in cement. An additive such as Silica Fume can give very high strength cement whereas a bit of sulfoaluminate clinker can reduce shrinkage during drying, allowing for huge expanses of concrete flooring to be laid without the need for contraction joints. Then there are coloured cements which are now available in a complete rainbow of shades.
If you are looking to get hold of some top quality cement and aggregates, look no further than George Lines. There are plenty of fantastic brands to choose from to fit just about any project going.
One such product is the Hanson: QuickCem that ensures speedy hardening for the builder in a pinch. It can be used for repairing steps, drains, as well as setting posts and grounding bolts. Another great product is Hanson: MultiCem which incorporates an additive that helps make the concrete so much easier to work to a smooth finish.
For more information about our range of concrete and aggregate products, feel free to give a member of our team a call. Every person that works with George Lines is an expert in their field, and ready to answer any question you may have about our products. You can reach us on 01753 685354.