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concrete flooring lifecycle

Within the flooring industry, concrete floors are believed to be one of the leading contributors to global warming. The best way to figure out a concrete floor's carbon footprint is by examining its lifecycle. The lifecycle of concrete flooring begins when the materials are gathered for manufacture all the way up to the time of the floor's disposal. This includes where and how the concrete is made, how it's transported and the installation method that's used. Use this section to learn about all of the aspects that contribute to concrete flooring's lifecycle.

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Origin of concrete flooring:

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The materials used to make concrete are usually sourced locally, while concrete floors are manufactured at local plants all around the world.

How concrete flooring is transported:

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Special trucks with revolving drums carry concrete from the plants to the point of use, which is generally less than 50 miles.

How concrete flooring is processed:

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Ready–mix concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, coarse and fine aggregates, air, and water. Aggregates are construction materials that are used to make the concrete stronger (e.g. sand, slag, crushed stone, gravel). Recycled materials can also be used as aggregate. For example, some of the Portland cement can be replaced by Supplementary Cementing Materials (SCMs) such as fly ash. The ingredients are mixed in specific percentages and delivered to the job site.

How concrete flooring is installed:

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For concrete installation, you can usually hire a local concrete contractor who can properly prepare the subfloor by leveling and moistening the ground. After concrete is delivered to the job site, it is poured into forms, then shaped and finished by skilled workers. Color may be added when the concrete is mixed, or later when it has hardened and cured. If the concrete truck cannot reach the point of installation, the concrete is carried by wheelbarrows. Concrete needs time to cure, a process that involves spraying water onto the wet concrete until it hardens. Usually the slower the concrete cures, the stronger it will be and less susceptible to cracking.

Disposing of concrete flooring:

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Concrete can be recycled at the end of its useful life. It can be used as aggregate in new concrete, as a sub–base for new roads, or as clean fill in building sites.