Wohlwend Concrete Blog

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.

Happy Thanksgiving, Minnesotans!

Gobble gobble! Turkey Day is almost here – just one more week until we are eating turkey and all the trimmings until our pants are too tight. After that, some people will retire to the TV room to watch the football games. Others will settle in to watch some holiday-themed movies (Miracle on 34th Street, anyone?). Even your favorite Twin Cities concrete contractor will be enjoying time with friends and family. But if you’re more of the active type and you want to get out and explore the Twin Cities, here are a few suggestions:

  • Como Zoo and Conservatory is open every day, including Thanksgiving. Take your out-of-town guests to this popular zoo that also features a conservatory and other attractions, like visiting exhibits. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Head down to The Depot to work off some of that turkey and stuffing! Their indoor skating rink opens on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The skating rink was named one of the top places in North America to ice skate by MSNBC, Fodor’s Travels and USA Today.
  • Or if you’d prefer a slightly less active activity, try St. Paul’s Phalen Park. It is transformed into a sea of lights and color, featuring more than 50 holiday sculptures and animated displays. Plus the money raised by charging admission ($10/car most nights) goes to charities like Second Harvest Heartland, Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and UnderConstruction.
  • On November 29 and 30, the most famous of all Twin Cities holiday traditions begins: the Holidazzle Parade! These parades will be held Fridays and Saturdays through December 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. between 12th and 4th Streets at the Nicollet Mall.

We here at Wohlwend Concrete wish you and yours a very happy (and filling!) Thanksgiving! While you have some time off work, take a minute to evaluate the concrete and masonry work around your home. Make a list and call us! Schedule an appointment for tuck-pointing or any indoor concrete work you may need completed.

Request a free quote online or give us a call at 651-426-2610 to schedule an appointment with our experienced Twin Cities concrete contractor.

Proper Snow Removal from Concrete: Tips

Like it or not, winter is nearly here. The air is crisp, the temperatures are dropping and it’s getting dark earlier and earlier in the day. Soon enough, the Twin Cities area will be dealing with regular snowfall. Here are a few tips for proper snow removal from your concrete driveway or walkway from us here at Wohlwend Concrete.

Before the snow hits, take the time to mark off where your driveway or walkway ends and your yard or flower beds begin. This will protect your garden and lawn from accidentally getting damaged when you shovel or plow the concrete. Also, be sure to mark off where your propane tank or fire hydrant is (if you have one near your home or driveway/walkway).

Using calcium chloride instead of rock salt to remove ice from your concrete driveway or walkway can save your flower beds or lawn from being damaged or destroyed. Although calcium chloride can be expensive, a little bit goes a long way, so you can use it sparingly and still get the same results as you would with rock salt. Of course, you can also go the cheaper route and use kitty litter or builders’ sand and get the nearly the same result – the ice won’t be melted but it will skid-proof the surface and help with traction. Just be sure to take your shoes off before you go into the house, as these materials are easily tracked into your home! But don’t use any products that contain ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate: these products will break down concrete and other masonry materials.

And, of course, the usual advice also applies: get a good snow shovel and use some elbow grease to get the snow off of your driveway or walkway. This will take care of most of the problem, but de-icing with calcium chloride or rock salt will take care of the worst of the problem and will ensure these surfaces are safe to walk and drive on.

Wohlwend Concrete is here to help with any masonry and concrete needs you may have this winter and any other season of the year. Give us a call at (651) 426-2610 or request a free quote.