Wohlwend Concrete Blog

The Difference Between Concrete and Cement

The words “concrete” and “cement” are sometimes used as synonyms, but using them as such is incorrect. And because we install concrete steps in Roseville, we are well-versed in the differences between these two materials. So what is the difference? Here is a brief rundown.

The basic difference is this: cement acts as a binder that holds concrete together. Cement is made from several different materials such as limestone, aluminum, silicon, iron, calcium and other ingredients. Cement is a very fine powder, and concrete cannot be made without cement.

Concrete is known for its strength and longevity, which is why concrete steps are so popular and long-lasting. Plus, you can have your concrete steps colored or stamped with a certain pattern. You can give your home more value and more curb appeal when you have concrete steps installed.

Plus, concrete steps can tie the outside of your home together. If you have landscaping that you are proud of and want to show off even more, concrete steps can help tie the look and feel of your home’s exterior together. Concrete steps will never rust, rot or burn, so you will have them for a long time. Light-colored concrete steps also reflect the sun’s heat back out, so they are generally cool to the touch.

Concrete is also a great building material because there is usually minimal waste when it is made. It can be produced in the quantities needed to complete each job.

For more information on concrete steps in Roseville, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or get a Free Quote.


Maintaining and Caring For Concrete

Concrete is everywhere. It surrounds us on a daily basis, and many folks have concrete steps that lead into their homes or patios attached to the back of their homes. So how do you go about caring for Minneapolis concrete steps? Here is an overview of the best ways to maintain and care for your concrete steps or patio so they last for a long time.

In the weather like what we get here in Minneapolis, temperatures and precipitation can be pretty extreme at times. It’s either incredibly hot in the summer or extremely cold in the winter, not to mention all of the summer storms and winter blizzards we usually get! The outside elements can take their toll on your concrete steps and other concrete parts of your outdoor landscaping and living areas.

So in the wintertime, it’s very important for you to keep up with snow and ice removal. And do a visual inspection when your concrete steps or patio are clear of snow and ice. This means looking for cracks and other damage. If water seeps into those cracks, it can freeze again and expand, and that can cause even more damage in the long run.

When the weather starts to warm up again, do some spring cleaning. Use a pressure washer (and be sure to follow the instructions so you don’t damage the concrete). Get all of the dirt and grime off of the concrete, and then do another visual inspection to check for damage that will need to get fixed.

In the summer months, you might want to consider covering your patio with an awning or outdoor rug. A runner on your concrete steps is also a great way to keep them covered. Plus, an awning and some rugs can add some color and decorations to your outdoor living space!

For more information on Minneapolis concrete steps, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or get a Free Quote.


Fun Facts About Concrete

As one of the best builders of concrete steps in Edina, we’ve learned a few things over the years about concrete. Here is a list of a few of our favorite fun concrete facts!

  • The oldest piece of concrete in the world was discovered in Israel in the 1960s. It is 12 million years old!
  • The Ancient Egyptians used concrete as an infill material when building the Giza Necropolis pyramids. (Funny to think the same material we use to build concrete steps was also used to build some of the pyramids!)
  • The Pantheon’s dome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, and it was built in 120 AD.
  • The first tensile and compressive strength tests took place in Germany in 1836. Tensile refers to concrete’s ability to resist tension. Compressive means concrete’s ability to resist compression. These two things are expressed in PSI, which means pounds per square inch. Knowing the levels of PSI concrete can withstand helps in building concrete steps!
  • The Alvord Lake Bridge was the first reinforced concrete bridge. It was built in San Francisco in 1889 and it still stands today.
  • In Baltimore, Maryland, in 1913, the first load of ready-mix concrete was delivered. This helped to revolutionize the concrete industry. (And it makes our job of building concrete steps much easier!)
  • L.M. Scofield was the first company to produce colored concrete.
  • The Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 and was the largest scale concrete project ever done up to that point. It is on the Colorado River bordering Arizona and Nevada.
  • Decorative concrete was developed in the 1950s by Brad Bowman.
  • Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois was the first concrete domed sports arena and was built in 1963.

For more information on concrete steps in Edina, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or contact us for a Free Quote.


How They’re Made: Concrete Steps

One of the more interesting aspects of our work here at Wohlwend Concrete is the process of building concrete steps for Twin Cities homes.

The first step in building concrete steps involves a lot of math! We have to calculate how tall and wide each step must be to go from the ground to the doorway. You should consider how many steps you want too. For the height, we divide the height by the number of steps you want. For the width, we usually want a girth of at least 6 inches wider than the door, and in general, the wider your staircase, the easier it is to walk up the concrete steps.

We want to be sure we are building on top of footings or post footings. This way we are building according to local and city codes.

The form panels are then built and assembled, and then the concrete steps are reinforced (usually with steel) so the lifespan of the concrete steps is increased and the steps themselves are better supported.

The concrete steps are then installed and braced. Finally, the concrete is poured into the panels and various finishing touches are added, like curfing the edges, which means making them round. We can then add stone to the side of the steps that will enhance the steps’ look and make them look more decorative and nicer to look at.

When the concrete has hardened, the stair riser boards are removed and any remaining imperfections are fixed or smoothed over.

There are your concrete steps!

And when you’re ready to have concrete steps installed at your Twin Cities home, call Wohlwend Concrete at 651-426-2610 or get a Free Quote Request.


Start Thinking Concrete

Have you started thinking concrete? Contractors in the Twin Cities sure have! It’s been a long, harsh winter and we’re ready to get back in the game. We have been itching all winter long to install concrete steps, walkways and driveways. We can’t wait to improve the Twin Cities, one concrete project at a time. When you’re ready to install a project on your property, contact the team. Things fill up quickly during the spring and summer, so let us know as soon as possible.

Spring Concrete Projects

March 20 is the official start of spring. While that doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in temperatures right away, it means warm weather is on its way! Now is the time to start thinking about your spring concrete projects. If your home’s walkway, driveway or stairs needs a little TLC after this long winter, contact us. We like temperatures to be consistently a little warmer than they are now, but those days are just ahead, we can feel it! Don’t hesitate to get on the schedule as soon as you’re ready.

Concrete Steps

Do you need to install new steps at your home? Concrete steps could be an ideal addition. There are many reasons why concrete is a superior choice for your home’s steps. Here are just a few of the benefits of installing them:

  • Concrete steps are visually appealing, and can be made more so with the addition of embellishments.
  • One of the most durable types of steps you can add to the outside of your home are concrete steps.
  • Concrete steps are easy to maintain and repair, if need be.

Ready to start planning your spring concrete projects in the Twin Cities? Contact us today by calling 651-426-2610 or Request a Free Estimate.