Concrete – A Great Overall Building Material




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The Portland Cement Association states that, “Slightly more than half of all low-rise buildings in the United States are constructed from concrete.”  It is also the most common man-made material on the planet as well as the 2nd most consumed substance just behind water.  The concrete industry is worth over $37 billion, employs over 2 million people in the U.S., and each year about 10 billion tons of concrete are produced.

Concrete is very strong and averages about 3,000 psi (lbs/square inch) with high-performance concrete reaching strengths of over 20,000 psi.  While today’s concrete buildings are both strong and durable, they can also be the most economical to construct. lists a variety of other concrete facts such as the first person to contract and live in a precast concrete home was Thomas Edison. In addition, they cite the fact that the world’s largest concrete structure is the Three Gorges Dam located on the Yangtze River in China.  It was built with approximately 21 million cubic yards (16 million cubic meters) of concrete.

Furthermore, due to its color, concrete reflects 30 to 50% more light than asphalt and helps to reduce the temperature in large urban areas by as much as 7%.  Also did you know that heavy trucks actually get up to 20% better mileage on concrete roads than those paved with asphalt?  Concrete not only gets stronger as it ages, but concrete highways typically offer about twice the useful life as asphalt roads and can serve about 20 to 30 years before they need major repair.  Asphalt generally lasts about eight to twelve years before resurfacing or major repairs are needed.  Around 60 percent of the interstate system in the United States is concrete.

Another interesting fact about concrete is that certain types of the material floats and is used to construct concrete canoes and boat docks.  The weight of standard concrete is approximately 4,000 lbs. per cubic yard, while lightweight concrete weighs about 3,000 lbs. per cubic yard.   Finally over 70% of the world’s population lives in structures that were built with at least some concrete.

The Conco Companies are a leading supplier of concrete services throughout the Western U.S.  We got our start in the Bay Area in 1959 by offering clients the best value on a wide range of concrete services and products and are now one of the foremost concrete contractors in the region. Our concrete services include commercial, educational, industrial and public works projects as well as parking structures.


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