Concrete Furniture in Your Home

18856799_SWhen you think of concrete, chances are you think of your driveway, the sidewalk, or perhaps a building. Maybe your thoughts drift toward that construction crew you see every morning on your drive to work, how they’re pouring concrete into molds. In other words, concrete is mostly associated with outside. You never really think about it when it comes to the inside of your home. That, however, seems to be changing, as concrete is a hip, stylish option in interior design.

In this this ABC News article, Kim Cook interviews several designers and their newfound love of all things concrete. Ben Oyeda, a designer working in Boston, says, “Concrete is such an amazing and cheap material. I can get an 80-pound bag from Home Depot and turn it into tables, vases and planters without using power tools.”

Concrete, of course, has a wide variety of uses, but have you ever considered using it to make furniture? Just think of the shelves and coffee tables you can make! After all, it is cheap and amazing, as Mr. Oyeda points out. For him, “Working with concrete has changed the way I see waste.”

That’s probably the greatest thing to take from this concrete interior design renaissance – that it’s environmentally-friendly. Using concrete to dress up the home is making people realize that furniture doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive endeavor – all it takes is a little ingenuity, patience, and the ability to see the bigger picture.

At Bergen Mobile Concrete, we couldn’t be happier with this exciting home development. For more information on the trend, check out the ABC News article!

How to Clean Concrete Surfaces

29305947_SWhether you have a concrete patio or driveway, interior concrete floors, or any other type of concrete surfaces in and around your home, keeping them in top shape should always be a priority. And while concrete is highly durable and can look brand new for years to come, there are a few things you can do to help. Concrete can get dirty just like any other type of flooring, so cleaning it on a regular basis is always a good idea.

The first step to clean concrete surfaces is to use a broom to sweep up any debris. You should use a dust mop that can easily pick up and remove dust and other small particles that may be covering your concrete.

Once you have given your concrete floors an initial sweep, you can move on to using water. Mix a bucket of water with some dish soap to create a gentle cleaning mix. Keep in mind that you should not use substances like vinegar or ammonia on concrete because they can cause damage to the material. Next, wet your mop and start cleaning small sections of the surface at a time. Refill the bucket as needed, and repeat this process until you have covered the entire area.

You can also keep your concrete looking new by rebuffing and resealing it as needed, but a simple cleaning should do the trick in most cases. For more tips on how you should care for your concrete surfaces, keep checking back with the team at Bergen Mobile Concrete!

How to Boost Your Home’s Value

15467455_S(1)When it comes time to sell your home, you will obviously want to sell it for the highest price possible. Even if you bought your home for a relatively low price, that doesn’t mean you can’t expect to sell it for more, especially if you’ve made some improvements to the property. In fact, there are many ways in which you can boost your home’s value, and adding new concrete surfaces is just one of them.

There is nothing more eye-catching than a newly paved driveway. This is especially true if your neighbors have old and cracked pavement around their home. In addition to repaving your driveway, consider adding new concrete walkways around your home. A visually appealing, functional walkway outside of your home will instantly increase the value of the entire property.

In addition to adding new concrete to your property, you can also give your entire front yard a makeover. Consider clearing away overgrown trees and shrubs, pulling weeds, and even growing a garden. Anything you can do to increase your curb appeal and get your house noticed will not only raise its value, but will bring in more potential buyers.

The outside of your home isn’t the only area that could benefit from improvements. Some of the things you can do indoors include adding insulation to your attic, brightening up dark spaces, replacing malfunctioning HVAC systems, installing new floors, and even redesign entire rooms.

The varieties of ways in which you can transform your house are almost limitless. Consider some of these before selling your home, and you can expect your property to become more appealing in no time.

New Application of Concrete in Landscape and Garden Design

concrete-crushedConcrete is a hugely versatile material that stands the test of time. We often think of concrete as building foundations, driveway paving, or standard sidewalk fare. However, DIYers all over are bringing out concrete’s beauty as well as functionality with creative uses to turn houses into homes. Here are just a few of our favorite applications for concrete in the home decorating world.

First up is the new application of concrete in landscape and garden design. Art isn’t just for display in your living room anymore. The concrete look is projected to be a huge trend in 2015 outdoor design. Garden globes and other design pieces are easily molded from cost-effective and long-lasting concrete. And if concrete just isn’t a busy enough material for you, try adding marbles or pieces of colored glass to the mix to really spice things up.

Clean and modern, concrete is also finding its way into interior design as standout functional pieces like kitchen islands. The malleability of concrete allows you to shape it much more cheaply than you would with traditional islands made of butcher block or granite. And sanding concrete down brings out minute natural color hues that will light up a room.

Want an outdoor fireplace, but don’t want the price tag associated traditional stone? Your solution is to use concrete and stamps to mimic the effect, without cleaning out your wallet. For a really upscale look, use a pointed trowel to carve out realistic variations in the material and finish with a stain. The same technique can be applied to walkways. Concrete also holds less heat than stone, so running around the backyard barefoot is no longer an issue.

For more unconventional applications of concrete in the home and garden, keep up with our blog. And for all of your concrete needs, contact Bergen Mobile Concrete today!


Common Concrete Problems

ConcreteAt Bergen Mobile Concrete, we always make sure to get the job done right in order to ensure your concrete surfaces remain crack-free. However, you may already have existing concrete structures or surfaces in and around your property that appear to be falling apart. But just how and why does concrete sometimes crack? We’re here to go over some of the most common reasons!

Keep in mind that even the highest quality concrete has the potential to crack, and just about any concrete surface will likely show some signs of wear after many years. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can prevent any damage from showing throughout your concrete. But, you may still be wondering why it cracked in the first place. Well, one of the most likely reasons is that it has shrunk and expanded over time due to changes in temperature. If you the concrete is in an area with lots of moisture, you can expect it to expand and shrink even more often, potentially leading to cracks.

While this is not typically planned for, some cracks in concrete are natural and should be expected. For example, concrete driveways typically have control joints. These joints work to create weak spots throughout the concrete, but it is for a good purpose. Without them, when concrete shrinks it would split in random directions across the slab, creating unsightly cracks. With a joint, it will typically only crack in that confined area where the joint is located.

Other causes for cracks in concrete include sun exposure, freezing and thawing throughout the winter, and other environmental conditions. Concrete inside a home or other type of building should have far less cracks than something like a driveway or sidewalk outside.

For more details about concrete cracks and how to prevent them, keep reading our blog!

In 2015, Keep Your Concrete Floors in Top Shape

29305947_SConcrete flooring can look great in just about any type of property, especially when you add decorative designs to customize its appearance. However, like any type of flooring material, concrete is susceptible to damage. Fortunately, concrete is much tougher than wood and other types of common materials used for floors, but it is not completely impervious to cracks, scratches, and other blemishes. There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to keep your concrete floors in top shape.

Keeping your floor protected with a high-quality sealer is a must, and is in many ways essential when it comes to making your concrete surfaces last. The best thing about sealers is that they not only keep your floor protected, but often times they can actually make its surface look more attractive.

Paying special attention to areas of your floor that receive a lot of traffic is always a good idea. In areas like an entranceway, it is recommended that you place a few floor mats. While this will cover up any designs you have on your floor, you can easily find a pattern that goes well with the surrounding area.

Finally, regularly apply floor wax to your concrete surfaces in order to protect against stains, dirt buildup, and other common issues. A high-quality concrete floor wax will last long and keep your sealers intact, ensuring that your floors look brand new for a long time.

By following these few simple tips, you can rest easy knowing that your concrete floors will remain in great shape. For more tips and suggestions, keep checking back with the team at Bergen Mobile Concrete!

2015 Will Be the Year of Concrete

New Year 2015There are several different materials that have been popular choices for patios in the past, including everything from wood to stone. However, we’re here to tell you why concrete offers benefits and advantages that outweigh anything these other materials offer. First and foremost, concrete is extremely versatile, making it perfect for just about any type of patio. Concrete can take any shape, and it holds up both in and outdoors. Additionally, concrete can be customized with a range of patterns and designs, allowing you to give your patio a unique look like no other.

Concrete is not only versatile, but very durable as well. It can stand up to just about any type of weather condition, meaning your patio will hold up year after year, even if you live in an area with heavy rain, snow, or wind. Compare this to wood or stone that can crack and degrade over time much more easily.

Using concrete for your patio also holds several additional benefits that may not be blatantly obvious. For one thing, concrete is an environmentally friendly option. It doesn’t require regular maintenance, and it doesn’t use natural materials like the lumber required for wooden patios. Generally, concrete is also cheaper than stone and brick, but it looks just as good. In fact, concrete can even be engraved to resemble other materials for far less than the cost of actually using those materials.

These are just a few of the benefits that concrete offers when it comes to choosing a material for your new deck. If you would like to learn more about why concrete is the perfect choice for your patio, give us a call today!

The Lifespan of Concrete

laying-concretePerhaps the greatest example of concrete architecture in complexity, endurance, and ability to stand without any sort of steel support, is the Roman Pantheon. A gargantuan structure completed in the 2nd century AD, the Pantheon is topped off with a 142-foot dome and has lasted 2,000 years. Contemporary concrete has a warranty tag of only 120 years. And engineers have finally figured out what the key difference between our two recipes is.

One of the key differences between the two recipes is volcanic sand. Rome sits between two volcanic regions, the Alban Hills to the south and Monti Sabatini to the north. Augustus took the title of Emperor in 27 AD and initiated a building campaign that would utilize these readily available resources. Builders began to use Pozzolonic ash from the Alban Hills’ Pozzolone Rosse ash flow in their concrete mix. And the evidence of that choice’s longevity is still one of the great wonders of the world.

Engineers replicated a recipe recorded by Roman architect, Vitruvius, and allowed it to harden for six months. What they found was that the volcanic sand reacted with limestone to create stratlingite crystals, which prevent cracks from forming in finished structures. Another key element to this mix is that it is heated at 900 degrees Celsius rather than 1,450 degrees Celsius, as is the process today. This breakthrough will not only ensure longevity of a structure, but will also significantly decrease the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere during the mixing process.

For more updates on what’s cooking in the concrete world, follow Bergen Mobile Concrete’s blog. And for all of your own concrete needs, contact us today!


Concrete Is One of the Most Affordable Resources

laying-concreteThere’s a reason that concrete has been used in creating structures since the Romans poured the first aqueduct. Concrete is one of the strongest and most affordable resources available for buildings of all types – residential, public, and business. However, when it comes to architectural creativity, concrete usually has a pitfall. Complex structures are difficult with concrete, because an exact mold with a non-stick mold medium and a cleaning agent must be used. And one-of-a-kind, twisted pieces that require mold after mold to assemble can get expensive.

A group of graduate students from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture may have come up with a solution. The team has come up with a technique for pouring concrete that they’re calling “Augmented Skin.” It’s a fairly simple idea. The students are using sticks like cake dowels to hold the structures in place and then pouring concrete into fabric around them. The finished prototypes are skeletal in nature – knobby, twisted, and almost fragile. But these are concrete pieces, so the hypothesis is that the structures would not only survive harsh weather conditions, but also the test of time.

The fabric mold doesn’t require any scaffolding and the entire process happens rather quickly. This means that one of the major applications, beyond testing the boundaries of what is architecturally and artistically possible with concrete, is in relief housing after major catastrophes. The project harkens back to Binishells, invented in the 1960s by Dr. Dante N. Bini. Binishells were also supposed to be used as relief housing. They were produced by pouring concrete directly over an inflatable air bladder.

Bergen Mobile Concrete is always looking for new applications and innovations in the concrete world. Contact us today for your own concrete needs!


Nuclear Concrete

We love discussing the many modern applications that our society has found for concrete here on the Bergen Mobile Concrete blog. More than just a footpath surface, concrete technologies have the potential to help us live in an even more sustainable world. In the not-so-distant future, we may even be hailing concrete as a modern marvel capable of helping the world enjoy safer nuclear energy.

Across the world in Poland, researchers are busy developing a technology that can create concrete capable of providing better shields against ionizing radiation produced in nuclear power plants. As this article published by Product Design & Development describes, the technology could also help in oncology hospital, nuclear chemistry lab and radioactive waste repository applications.

The research into more protective concrete compositions is in part urged on by recent discoveries of concrete issues at other nuclear facilities. Nuclear power plants in Canada and Finland were found to have either damaged concrete components or defective ones that increased safety risks at those plants.

The testing process for the final product will be rigorous, so an effective solution likely won’t be developed for a couple of years yet. But this is just one more example of the many unexpected impacts concrete has had on our society. Just browse through our blog and you’ll find plenty of interesting stories about electric sidewalks, home furnishings and even audio speakers composed of concrete.

The concrete shields for nuclear radiation protection project will likely continue through 2016, plenty of time to implement these products safely in nuclear facilities. This could help unlock a completely new future for energy. Although nuclear energy has it’s risks, this kind of shielding technology can help towards ensuring that devastating events don’t happen.

Bergen Mobile Technology wants to be the first to stay on top of developing concrete technologies as they’re created. We hope you enjoy being surprised by the ever-growing world of concrete.