The Evolution of Concrete and What It Means for Humanity

6653499_SWe guess you could say that concrete is like the cockroach of building materials; it’s been used for what seems like forever, and it’s still kicking, and it’ll still be around even after everything else is gone. Concrete is trustworthy, the reliable material that we all come back to. What’s refreshing though is that we’re not using the same methods when it comes to concrete structures; we have evolved, as pointed out in The Independent.

Jay Merrick writes, “In the 21st century, software-generated algorithms and geometry often make the shaping and structuring of concrete as deliberately iconic […] but the aesthetic and atmospheric qualities of concrete architecture are not just about shape-making. It’s about the feel of the material, the light and shadow it creates, its particular sense of lightness, its particular sense of “grunt” – or its lightness and delicacy. Concrete can make asymmetry as graceful as symmetry, or turn volumes of space into engrossing mysteries.”

Wow! That’s quite the ringing endorsement. Sounds more like a religious experience than some architectural structure, but we can agree with that assessment. Concrete is poetry and at Bergen Mobile Concrete, we’re proud to work with this brilliant material. This material has taken civilizations to the skies. This material has solidified our lives in ways never thought possible. Concrete is the backbone from which every city perseveres, the legs on which every city can walk. It is, quite simply, what holds us together and with new technological advancements and a better understanding of the material as a whole, we can only expect concrete to become an even more prominent building block for the future – and that excites us. Doesn’t that excite you too?

We promise you that Bergen Mobile Concrete will evolve the same way that concrete has in order to serve you better!

Structurally Sound

19929959_SWhat are the similarities between concrete and the human body?

When thinking on the fly, it’s hard to think of any, what could a common construction material have to do with biology?

To Henk Jonkers, microbiologist at Delft University of Technology, the two become more similar every day. Take for example your bones. If you break a bone, it begins to repair itself unprovoked until they are completely healed – a brand new structure formed all on its own. Concrete now has the ability to do the same.

Jonkers “embeds the concrete with capsules of limestone-producing bacteria…along with calcium lactate. When the concrete cracks, air and moisture trigger the bacteria to begin munching on the calcium lactate. They convert the calcium lactate to calcite, an ingredient in limestone, thus sealing off the cracks.”

Seems simple right? The concrete heals itself and infrastructure, buildings, and paths remain in new condition for years to come. Water damage and yearly repairs would vanquish! With this immediate seal technology on the market, why doesn’t everyone use it? The answer is a simple cost, as it’s far too expensive a material rolling in at around $33-44 per square meter. But Jonker’s is confident that going forward there will be alternatives to the pricey calcium lactate.

For all the latest in concrete news and materials, keep checking back to our blog!


Why You Should Choose Concrete for Your Driveway

906162_SWhen it comes to creating a new driveway, many people think that asphalt is their only option. However, we’re here to tell you that not only is concrete a viable material for driveway construction, but it actually offers several benefits over asphalt. At Bergen Mobile Concrete, we offer our services for a variety of applications, including driveways. If you’re on the fence about using concrete for your driveway, read on to learn why it may be your best option.

Unlike asphalt, concrete is an incredibly functional material that is used around the world for a variety of surfaces including everything from sidewalks to bridges. When it comes to your driveway, you can expect concrete to hold up for years, without showing any signs of wear or degradation. In fact, concrete is strong enough to support thousands of pounds of weight, which it will most likely need to if you plan on parking even a single car in your driveway.

Not only is concrete extremely functional and durable, but it also looks great too. A concrete driveway will help your home stand out in the best way possible, enhancing the look of your entire property. Concrete is a great choice if you want to increase the curb appeal of your home, which is always something a homeowner should be thinking about.

Last but not least, concrete requires much less maintenance than asphalt. It is easy to remove stains from concrete, and you can even apply a sealant to it to keep the entire driveway better protected.

If you would like to learn more about why concrete is the best choice for your driveway, contact our team today!

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 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!


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!