Monthly Archives: October 2018


6 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Supplier

The 6 most important factors to consider when selecting a supplier for your project

Whether you’re taking on a project as a commercial construction PM, a DOT contractor, or a residential homeowner, you’ll most likely work with a third party or supplier at some point. Third parties like suppliers, vendors, contractors, subcontractors, or consultants are often key components in the overall success of a project.

The stakes are high when the responsibility of choosing a third party, more specifically a supplier, falls on your shoulders. We believe the following factors to be the most important when selecting which supplier might be best for your project.

1. Do the supplier’s goals align with your own?

It’s important to question your supplier’s mission, values, goals, and company culture when assessing whether or not they could be a good fit. When a company’s values align with your’s, it’s typically a good indication that the partnership work well. Differences in overall mission, values, goals, and culture could potentially lead to conflict somewhere throughout the project.

2. Is the supplier experienced?

Question whether the supplier has experience and what type of experience they have. Is it industry related? When a supplier is experienced, it’s usually a good sign that they also have expertise–expertise that will add value to your project and make everything run smoother.

3. Does the supplier claim to be flexible?

When it comes to construction projects, there are numerous uncertainties and changes that come about which requires flexibility on every party involved. A supplier’s ability to work with you, maintain flexibility, and respond to change is crucial. Do keep in mind that while it’s easy for a supplier to make a claim, reviews and past work often say more about how a supplier operates.

4. What type of product or service quality does a supplier provide?

Do some deep digging to understand the quality of the product or service the supplier provides. It should be obvious that your supplier’s quality will have a direct impact on your project overall. Again, refer to reviews and past work for a true picture of a supplier’s quality.

5. Will the supplier bring value to the project?

Each of the previously mentioned factors contribute to the overall value a supplier brings to your project. Does the supplier’s reputation for being experienced, flexible, and providing quality resonate with how you want your project to be perceived? Assess the value the supplier might bring to your project and then make your call. Remember that a supplier who brings strong value comes at a price.

6. All things considered, is the supplier’s cost fair?

Finally, with all things considered, is the cost the supplier is charging fair? Do you feel as though their product or service and their total cost of opportunity is truly worth it? And does that cost match up with your budget for the project?

Still don’t feel confident in your ability to select a great supplier? Find more helpful advice when it comes to selecting a third party supplier or contractor here.  

For over 60 years now, we’ve been a trusted supplier of ready-mix concrete. We’ve met the needs of some of the areas top commercial and residential builders and DOT contractors.

In need of a ready-mix supplier? We created a checklist that guides your concrete supplier to create the best ready mix for your project. Once you’re able to pinpoint the best supplier for your concrete project, download our list and get started.

concrete supplier

The True Benefits Of Sealing Concrete

Regardless of the surface type, whether it be a decorative floor inside your home, a covered outdoor patio area, or your driveway, applying some type of concrete sealer is always beneficial. Here are a few reasons why sealing concrete is the way to go:

1. Sealing protects concrete from damage.

There are several reasons why a concrete surface might experience damage. The conditions it’s poured under, settlement, shrinkage, overload, and various other factors can all cause concrete to crack, spall, and flake.

A sealer protects your concrete surface from the various elements that can further contribute to damage. Oil, chemicals, salt, grease, weather exposure, UV rays, and moisture are all big ones. In the winter, when your driveway is covered by a layer of ice, water has the potential to seep below the surface of the concrete. This becomes a problem when that water freezes and expands separating the concrete. Sealer prevents moisture and other elements from seeping below the surface and negatively affecting your concrete surface.

2. Concrete should be sealed to protect from mold and mildew.

Because concrete is a porous material, it has a tendency to absorb moisture. When this moisture doesn’t dry and the surface is left wet for an extended period of time, mildew begins to form and mold begins to grow. You’ll know you have mold growing on your concrete by the greenish color that appears.

When you seal your concrete, you inhibit moisture from penetrating the surface and therefore prevent the development of mold and mildew.

3. Sealing concrete increases its longevity.

Generally speaking, concrete is a long lasting and durable material. Typically, a concrete driveway can last anywhere from 25-30 years unless it becomes damaged. In that case, it will likely need to be replaced sooner.

Sealing your concrete not only ensures your concrete surface is protected, but that it is long lasting. It should also be noted that compared to the cost of replacing a concrete surface, sealing is relatively inexpensive and easy to do–definitely worth a long lasting concrete floor, patio, slab, or driveway.   

4. The appearance of the concrete will be improved by sealing.

There is nothing too special about the appearance of concrete–hey, we’ll admit it! Right after concrete is poured, it has a rough look and over time can become discolored, while developing a dingy, old appearance.

Applying a sealer enhances the overall look of concrete. Most sealers keep your concrete looking new, while also smoothing and preserving color. Are you’re planning to stain your concrete surface? Is your concrete surface is indoors where you and your family will be walking barefoot? Will you’ll be placing furniture on your concrete surface and would prefer if it didn’t get scuffed up? Seal.

Most of these 2018 residential concrete trends require sealing for their appearance.

There are so many important reasons to seal your concrete surfaces. If you choose to forego sealing, you should know you’ll likely suffer some of these negative consequences.

Here are the negative consequences you could encounter if you do not seal concrete:

  • Like anything that is subject to harsh outdoor elements, (and oil, chemicals, grease, salt, etc) concrete will begin to fail prematurely.
  • Oxidation from the sun can begin to break down the concrete causing it to age quicker than normal.
  • In colder climates, moisture that penetrates concrete can freeze and thaw continuously causing the concrete to shift, crack, heave or buckle.
  • Mold and mildew can build up on concrete that has not been sealed.

Sealing concrete helps to maintain a durable and beautiful concrete surface for years to come.

While we just stressed the importance of sealing concrete for appearance, durability, and longevity, it all starts with a great ready mix. Before you start any concrete project, download our free Perfect Ready Mix Checklist. Your answers to the questions on this checklist will help determine exactly what kind of ready-mix your project requires–the best ready mix as we say/

concrete sealing

Concrete Basics: Essential Ingredients For A Concrete Mixture

Concrete is and has been for thousands of years, a very popular building material.

Made up of just a few basic ingredients, concrete is the most widely used man-made material on the planet. Humans use more concrete than all other building materials combined.

So what is concrete exactly?

What goes into the most commonly used building material?

Concrete is a mixture of cement, air, water, sand, and gravel–it’s as simple as that!

Not exactly. The typical concrete mix is made up of roughly 10% cement, 20% air and water, 30% sand, and 40% gravel. This is called the 10-20-30-40 Rule–though proportions may vary depending on the type of cement and other factors.

Now let’s discuss each ingredient and the important role they play in your mix.

Concrete mix ingredients and their important roles:


Though cement makes up the smallest percentage of the mixture, it’s an essential ingredient in concrete. Cement serves as the glue that keeps everything else together. It’s also what allows the ready mix to harden once it’s placed. There are five different types of cement depending on what kind of concrete you’re looking to make:

  • Type I is used for most residential work
  • Type II is used in moderate sulfate conditions
  • Type III is used in climates where freezing is a risk
  • Type IV is used for special orders like industrial placements
  • Type V is used in extreme sulfate conditions

Types I and II are the most widely used residentially in the United States due to the relatively moderate climates we experience here.

Air and Water

For a mixture to be effective, some amount of air entrainment (tiny air bubbles) is needed in the concrete. Air-entrained cement ensures that excess water has a chance to expand when it moves through the freeze-thaw cycle. These air bubbles, however, must be microscopically small or else the ‘entrained’ air will turn into ‘entrapped’ air which leads to shrinkage and cracking.

Amongst all of the other essential ingredients involved in creating a mixture, water tends to have the largest impact. As a rule of thumb, the more water that you put into the mixture, the less strength the hardened mixture will have. Shrinkage and cracking are also probable when too much water is involved. Excess water will eventually evaporate out of the hardened concrete, causing the concrete to shrink and eventually crack.

An ideal amount of water can be measured by water to cement ratio, which should vary between .4 and .6. The higher the ratio, the weaker the concrete. A good way to test the solubility of your concrete is to perform a slump test. This will help to determine whether or not your mixture contains too much water.  

Gravel and Sand

As you can see, gravel and sand aggregates make up about 70% of the mixture. This high percentage makes the mixture more economical–as gravel and sand are both stronger and more cost-effective than the cement. A good ready mix will include proportionate amounts of both large (gravel) and small (sand).

The reason for this is that the gravel makes up the majority of the ready-mix and the smaller sand particles do a good job of filling in any extra spots that could otherwise be filled by unwanted air pockets.

Well there you have it, the ingredients that combine to create the most widely used building material in the world–concrete. As you can see, each ingredient and its ratio impacts the final ready mix’s quality and type. It’s important that you get the best ready mix for your specific job. That’s why we’ve created this Ready Mix Checklist to help you and your ready mix supplier create just what you need. Download your Ready Mix Checklist now.

Concrete supply co mixing truck in front of plant

Tips For Building Strong Relationships Between Contractors and Architects

Tips For Building Strong Relationships Between Contractors and Architects On the Job

A healthy relationship between a contractor and architect on a project is associated with benefits. Benefits include:

  • Helping the project to run smoothly from start to finish
  • Reducing stress from the project on both parties
  • Effectively communicating throughout the project
  • Minimizing (if not avoiding altogether) disagreements
  • Project efficiency
  • More work in the future

Unfortunately, there are many ways the relationship between a contractor and an architect can crumble. Miscommunications, differences in priorities, and budgetary issues all put strain on the relationship. Trust us, we’ve seen it all. Not to mention, the risks associated with poor relationships on a job site are immense (and can be costly too)! Risks include:

  • Time delays
  • Cost overruns
  • Job incompletion
  • Safety of employees and the structure itself
  • And more…

Your best bet? Use these tips to build strong relationships with the architects on your project. It will pay off in the end–we guarantee it!

1. Recognize each other’s difference in priorities.

When working with a team of people, you can’t assume that everyone has the same priorities as you (although we often do so unintentionally). In reality, each of your team members has different skills, tasks, and priorities in mind.

An architect’s top concerns are with the ideas and design concepts behind a project. A contractor typically prioritizes concerns related to supply chain, labor, and deadlines. Neither has the time nor do they see a need to prioritize the other’s concerns… and therein lies the problem.

TIP: Recognize, understand, and appreciate differences in priorities. When both parties are able to keep what’s important to the other in mind, the relationship will strengthen.

2. Address issues with the budget early on.

Budgetary disputes are many times the reason why a contractor-architect relationship is compromised. When an architect isn’t able to acknowledge that their designs don’t align with a project’s budgetary restraints, it can bring up all sorts of issues throughout the project. Especially when it comes to financial issues, fingers will be pointed and blame will be assigned–it can get ugly.

TIP: It’s crucial that both the contractor and architect get on the same page from the start. Both parties should address any budgetary concerns as early in the process as possible. Work as a team to achieve the best possible end result.

3. Keep lines of communication wide open.

Like any productive relationship, communication is key.

When contractors and architects feel comfortable bringing up and discussing problems, concerns and questions that arise along the way–the relationship prospers.

TIP: As a project leader, you know that open communication is built on honesty and understanding. Be clear when it comes to resources, budget, and capabilities. Remember that negotiation is common (often necessary) on building projects–don’t take it personally. In the end, what matters is the success of the overall project, not your ego.

What’s the point?

Healthy working relationships can be few and far between nowadays. When one is established, both parties and the project benefit greatly (as we previously mentioned). But your efforts to build strong relationships with architects will benefit you personally as well.

Think of it this way: people tend to lean on their strong relationships–on the people they enjoy to work with. That architect you worked hard to establish a relationship with will most likely choose to work with you on (or recommend you for) future projects. You’ll take on a reputation as a dependable, easy to work with and professional contractor–a reputation that WILL pay off.  

Strong relationships aren’t just necessary between contractors and architects, they’re necessary across the entire construction industry. We pride ourselves on the relationships we as a concrete supplier have built with our customers, including contractors.

We’re always striving to ease our contractor-supplier relationships. That’s why we created this checklist to help our customers and contractors determine their desired ready mix. We know that delivering anything less than the perfect ready mix would put stress on a contractor or customer and in turn, our relationship with them.

Download our Perfect Ready Mix Checklist. It’s a list of questions to answer about your specific concrete project (project type, size, environmental conditions, and more). With the answers, we’ll be able to supply you with yes, the ready-mix you need.  

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