The different types of concrete | Concrete types (2023)

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (1)

You'll find concrete almost everywhere you look, including buildings, bridges, walls, swimming pools, roads, runways, floors, patios or evena concrete house. All of these structures depend on an artificial material with a simple formula. How is all the concrete made?

Concrete consists of cement, water and coarse aggregate. Mixed together, they create a building material that hardens over time. How much water and cement you use determines the properties of concrete, such as:

  • Strength
  • durability
  • Resistance to heat or radiation
  • machinability

Fresh concrete can be used for endless applications. It can be molded and molded into various shapes such as squares, rectangles and circles. It can also be used for stairs, columns, doors, beams, lenses and other well-known structures. Concrete is manufactured to various grades including regular, standard and high strength concretes. These classes indicate how much pressure the concrete can withstand and for which construction applications it can be used.

What kind do you need? Our guide can help you decide based on your project needs.

Table of contents

How do you make concrete?

When making concrete, no matter what you intend to use it for, you need to mix the right proportions to get the quality you want. You can use two different mixes to make concrete:

  • nominal mix:This mixture is used for normal construction such as small residential buildings. Most nominal mixes use a 1:2:4 ratio. The first number is the ratio of cement, the second number is the ratio of sand, and the third number is the ratio of aggregate needed, based on the weight or volume of the materials.
  • Design-Mix:The design blend or blend design is based on proportions determined using laboratory tests to determine the compressive strength of the blend. This determines the required strength based on the static design of the concrete component.

Besides the mixing ratios, there are also two methods of mixing the concrete:

  • Machine Mixing: This uses different types of machines. The ingredients are placed in the machine and then mixed. The result is fresh concrete.
  • mixing by hand: When mixing by hand, the ingredients are placed on a flat surface. Workers then add water and mix the cement by hand using special tools designed for the task.

The type of mixing depends on the desired quantity and quality of concrete.

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The 26 types of concrete

There are many different types of concrete, some of which can be used for the same purpose. It depends on the goal you want to achieve. You can choose the suitable concrete mold to accomplish the task.

1. Normal strength concrete

Normal strength concrete consists of a combination of several basic ingredients – aggregate, concrete and sand – in a ratio of 1:2:4. This mix produces regular strength concrete that can be used for many applications. Setting takes about 30 to 90 minutes, but this depends on the weather conditions at the concrete work site and the properties of the cement.

It is usually used for walkways or buildings that do not require high tensile strength. It is not very well suited for many other constructions as it does not withstand the stresses of wind loads or vibration very well.

2. Reinforced concrete

This form of concrete is widely used in industry and modern construction. Reinforced concrete gets its strength from wires, steel rods or cables that are laid in the concrete before it sets. A more familiar name for these elements is reinforcement. Recently, people have used fibers to reinforce this concrete.

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These reinforcements withstand tensile forces to avoid cracking or breaking. Meanwhile, the concrete itself resists compressive forces to withstand heavy weight. Together, the two materials form a strong bond against many applied forces, e.g. B. Vehicles. In essence, they become a single structural element.

Inventedim 19thcentury, it has dramatically changed the construction industry. Roads, buildings and bridges require reinforced concrete. The next time you visit a construction site, you will probably see reinforced concrete with reinforcing bars.

3. Plain or ordinary concrete

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (2)

This is another concrete that uses the usual 1:2:4 mix design with its cement, sand and aggregate components. You can use it to make walkways or buildings that don't require high tensile strength. It faces the same challenges as normal strength concrete - it doesn't withstand vibration or wind loads very well. Plain or regular concrete is also used in dam construction. The durability rating of this type of concrete is very satisfactory.

4. Prestressed concrete

Prestressed concrete elements are used for many large concrete projects. To make prestressed concrete, you need to use a special technique. Like reinforced concrete, it contains bars or tendons. However, these bars or tendons are stressed prior to the actual application of the concrete.

When the concrete is mixed and placed, these bars are placed at each end of the structural unit where they will be used. When the concrete sets, this unit is compressed.

This compression increases the strength of the lower section of the unit and improves its resistance to tensile forces. However, this process requires skilled labor and heavy equipment. Normally prestressed units are created and assembled on site. Prestressed concrete is used in the construction of bridges, highly stressed structures or roofs with large spans.

5. Fertigbeton

As with most grades of concrete, precast concrete must be manufactured and poured to specific dimensions. These concrete units are eventually transported to the job site and assembled for use.

You often see these units being transported to construction sites when driving on highways. Precast concrete elements are used for:

  • concrete blocks
  • Prefab Walls
  • stair units
  • The rod

The advantage of using precast concrete parts is quick assembly. Since the devices are made in a factory, they are of very high quality.

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (3)

6. Lightweight concrete

Lightweight concrete is any type of concrete that aDensity less than 1920 kg/m3.Lightweight concrete is created through the use of lightweight aggregates. Aggregates are ingredients that increase the density of the concrete style. These lightweight aggregates are made from a variety of natural, man-made and processed materials including:

  • Tone
  • Advanced slate
  • slag
  • Bimsstein
  • perlite
  • Vermiculit

The most important property of lightweight concrete is its very low thermal conductivity. Common applications for lightweight concrete are the manufacture of bridge decks and long-span building blocks. It can also be used to protect steel structures.

7. High density concrete

High density concrete has a very specific purpose. It is often used in the construction of nuclear power plants. The heavy aggregates used in the manufacture of high-density concrete help the structure resist radiation.

Usually crushed stone is used. Barite, a colorless or white material composed of barium sulfate and the main component of barium, is the most commonly used broken rock.

8. Stamped concrete

Stamped concrete, also known as embossed or textured concrete, is designed to realistically replicate the appearance and pattern of natural stone, tile, brick and granite. Stamped concrete is commonly used to build patios, pool decks, indoor floors, and driveways.

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This style is achieved by using professional ink pads to create an impression on the concrete surface. To get a natural finish you can also use different texture work and dye stains.

Some of the advantages of tamped concrete are:

  • Affordability compared to natural paving and natural stone
  • Easy maintenance once sealed
  • Becomes non-slip with an anti-slip additive
  • Improves the exterior and increases the value
  • Hard wearing and long lasting
  • Extensive pattern and color selection

9. Air-entrained concrete

Some types of concrete contain billions of microscopic air cells in every cubic foot. These tiny air pockets relieve the concrete from the inside. They provide tiny chambers for water to expand as it freezes.

The air is introduced into the concrete by adding several foaming agents during the mixing process, including:

  • fatty acids
  • resins
  • Alcohol

Because this concrete is mixed at the point of use, the mixing and carry-over process requires careful engineering supervision. Trapped air makes up about 3% to 6% of the volume of the concrete. Almost all concrete used in a freezing environment or during freeze-thaw cycles is air entrained.

10. Fertigbeton

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (4)

Concrete that is manufactured and bathed in a centrally located facility is called ready-mix concrete. This concrete is mixed while being transported to the job site in the familiar cement trucks often seen on roads and highways. As soon as the trucks reach the site, the cement can be used immediately as it does not require any further treatment. Ready-mixed concrete is a specialty concrete that is mixed based on specifications developed with great precision.

Ready-mix concrete production requires a central location where the concrete can be prepared. These sites must be placed at an adjustable distance from the site. If the concrete takes too long to reach the construction site, it's no use. In most cases, the construction site is too far away from the processing plant. Retardants are sometimes useddelay how long it takes for the concrete to set.

Ready-mix concrete is preferred over site-mixed concrete because the mix has greater precision and the ready-to-pour concrete reduces site confusion. Ready-mix concrete can be used for buildings, roads, walls and more.

11. Self-consolidating concrete

Self-consolidating concrete compacts itself when placed due to its weight. This non-segregating, highly flowable concrete fills the formwork and spreads easily in place to encapsulate the reinforcement without the need for vibration or mechanical consolidation. This highly workable concrete is best suited for applications and areas with heavy rebar.

The advantages of self-consolidating concrete include:

  • self-leveling
  • Improved hardened properties
  • Improved consolidation in congested areas
  • Safer work environment
  • Reduced equipment and labor
  • Increased flexibility in detailing
  • Smoother surfaces
  • Reduced noise

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (5)

12. Volumetric concrete

This concrete was created as an alternative to ready-mix concrete to solve the problem of long distances between the concrete factory and the construction site. It requires specialized trucks known as volumetric mobile mixers. They transport the concrete ingredients and the water that is mixed on site.

Volumetric concrete is extremely useful when a contractor needs two different types of concrete mix at a single site. Because the concrete can be mixed and delivered as needed, two different concrete mixes can be made with one truck. It is very useful for large construction sites, basement constructions and multi-projects where you need different types of concrete.

13. Decorative concrete

Decorative concrete creates concrete mixes that are visually and aesthetically pleasing. Decorative concrete can go through several processes such as:

  • coloring
  • molding
  • polishing
  • etching
  • Attaching decorative coverings

It is ideal for any project where you want to make an aesthetic statement. It's also a great way to add a little "personality" to a dull surface or texture. For example, swimming pools and flooring can benefit greatly from decorative concrete.

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14. Polymer concrete

Polymer concrete aggregates are bonded in a matrix with polymer instead of cement compared to other types of concrete. This type of concrete consists of limestone gravel, silica, quartz, granite gravel and other materials with high compressive strength. If these materials are not dry, clean and dust-free, this can impair the cohesion of the concrete.

The polymer resin serves as the binder and the aggregate is the compressive stress material. Polymer concrete composites contain a specific combination of properties in their formulation. Some of these properties include:

  • Fast curing at ambient temperatures
  • Good adhesion to surfaces
  • Long-term durability
  • High bending, tensile and compressive strength
  • Low permeability to water and some solution
  • Lightweight formula
  • Strong chemical resistance

Polymer concrete also has a few different categories including:

  • Polymer impregnated concrete
  • polymer cement concrete
  • Partly impregnated

15. Rapid hardening concrete

In a hurry? Then you need rapid concrete. It's ideal when you're short on time to complete a project. It has faster setting times and is very resistant to low temperatures, so it can be used at any time of the year. It is especially useful in winter, when the cold weather does not allow you to use many other types of concrete.

16. Smart concrete

As the name suggests, Smart Concrete is the concrete technology of the future. The production of this type of concrete makes it easier to monitor the condition of reinforced concrete structures. Smart concrete contains short carbon fibers that are added with a conventional concrete mixer. This process affects the electrical resistance of concrete under stress or stress. This type of concrete can be used to identify potential problems before the concrete fails.

It is very good at detecting tiny structural flaws. While not yet widely available, it promises to be the building material of the future for cities that face repeated earthquake risk. Smart concrete allows engineers in these cities to check the condition of structures after earthquakes, providing a far better assessment of their condition than a visual inspection.

17. Permeable concrete

This is one of the most common types of concrete used in the construction of roads and sidewalks. It is designed to deal with the problems of stormwater runoff and puddles of water on roads or airport runways.

Other concrete absorbs water. Roads with permeable concrete have fewer problems with aquaplaning, tire spatter and snow accumulation. It also reduces the need for containment and storm sewers.

It consists of a mixture of cement, water and coarse aggregate. It contains no sand, resulting in an open-pored structure. This allows water to penetrate through the layers more easily. Some types of permeable concrete allow several gallons of water per minute to flow through their surface.

18. Vacuum concrete

For certain applications, such as e.g. deck slabs, parking lots and industrial floors, concrete has a higher water content than required when poured into the formwork. In these cases, the excess water must be removed with a vacuum pump before the concrete begins to set. Compared to normal construction, vacuum technology can help get the concrete platform or structure ready for use sooner.

19. Pumped concrete

If you've ever wondered whatType of cement mixtures usedare in the floor of a very tall building, the answer is probablypumped concrete. The secret of pumped concrete is that it is very easy to work with, so it can easily be transported to an upper floor via a pipe. This tube will be a flexible or rigid hoseunloads the concrete at the desired location.

Pumped concrete can also be used:

  • For creating super flat floors on lower structures
  • For construction projects such as roads and bridges
  • For more personal items like swimming pools

It is a reliable, efficient and economical way of placing concrete and often the only way to place concrete in specific locations. Very fine aggregates are used for pumped concrete. The finer the aggregate used in the mix, the freer the concrete will flow out of the pipe.

20. Limestone

This concrete uses lime instead of cement and lightweight aggregates such as fiberglass or sharp sand. It is mainly used for the construction of floors, vaults and domes. Lime concrete has many environmental benefits because it is so easy to clean and renewable. It can also be used with underfloor heating.

21. Roll compacted concrete

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (6)

It's a familiar sight on many American highways - a heavy roller compacting a layer of concrete. Rollcrete is a strong, dense concrete used on busy highways with vehicles carrying large loads. This concrete releases fewer emissions during the production process, which benefits the environment.

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Roller compacted concrete is found in roadworks, runways, parking lots, sidewalks and industrial maintenance.

22. Glasbeton

Another, more modern form of concrete, glass concrete, is characterized by the use of recycled glass. This form of concrete is used when aesthetics is an important element in the design of the concrete.

Often used in large format slabs in flooring or decorative facades, this concrete can include glossy or colored glass during the mixing process to give it a distinctive pop of color or shine.

23. Asphaltbeton

Better known as "asphalt" or "blacktop," this is a form of concrete commonly used in the construction of sidewalks, roads, parking lots, runways, and highways—just about anywhere paving is needed. Asphalt is a dark mineral made up of bitumen, which is a form of hydrocarbons.

As the automotive industry grew, so did the desire for asphalt. Known for its durability, workability, slip resistance, stability, fatigue resistance, flexibility and permeability, it still requires a properly designed blend. It is a composite mixture of aggregate and asphalt. Different asphalt mixes are used for different purposes.

24. Spritzbeton

Shotcrete differs from other types of concrete primarily in the way it is processed. Shotcrete is shot through a nozzle onto a frame or formwork. Since this application requires higher air pressure, the compaction process takes place at the same time as paving.

Shotcrete can be used to repair damaged wood, concrete, or steel structures. It is also commonly used when access to a work area is difficult or when formwork is impractical or too expensive.

The different types of concrete | Concrete types (7)

25. High Strength Concrete

High strength concrete is any concrete mixgreater than 40 megapascals (40 MPa),that is the tensile strength of concrete. High strength concrete that satisfies this determinant can withstand much more stress and compression compared to 20MPa or 30MPa concrete.

This type of concrete can withstand strenuous conditions before it shears, cracks or fractures. The increased strength in this concrete is achieved by reducing the water to cement ratio to a low rate.

High strength concrete over 40 MPa is often usedCivil and commercial construction, which includes buildings and infrastructure projects, structural beams, columns, load-bearing walls and any other application where increased capacity and durability is required.

26. High performance concrete

Although all high strength concretes can be described as high strength, not all high strength concretes (HPC) belong to the category of high strength concretes. HPC meets special efficiency standards such as:

  • Easy placement
  • heat of hydration
  • environmental standards
  • longevity and durability
  • Mechanical properties over the lifetime
  • Strength gains at an early age
  • toughness
  • Permeability and Density Factors

However, in some cases, HPC can be limited in strength depending on the application you intend to use it in.

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What are the 3 types of concrete? ›

This article will explore the three most common types of concrete: cast-in-place, precast, and prestressed. Cast-in-place concrete is the most common type of concrete used in construction. It is made by casting a mixture of cement, water, and aggregate (stones, rocks, etc.) in a mold into the desired shape.

How many different types of concrete are there? ›

Typically, there are twenty-four different types of concrete used in the building and construction industry depending on the type of construction.

What is the most common type of concrete? ›

Standard ready-mix concrete is the most common form of concrete. It is prepared for delivery at a concrete plant instead of mixed on the construction site, which guarantees the quality of the concrete.

What is Type 1 and Type 2 concrete? ›

Type I is a general purpose portland cement suitable for most uses. Type II is used for structures in water or soil containing moderate amounts of sulfate. Type II(MH) is a moderately sulfate resistant cement that also generates moderate heat during curing.

What is the strongest type of concrete? ›

Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is a cementitious, concrete material that has a minimum specified compressive strength of 17,000 pounds per square inch (120 MPa) with specified durability, tensile ductility and toughness requirements; fibers are generally included in the mixture to achieve specified requirements ...

Which grade concrete is the strongest? ›


A structurally strong, heavy use mix that is ideal for commercial structures and sites that will need to withstand heavy use. It is commonly used for structural piling and creating external slabs and walls.

What type of concrete is used for construction? ›

Reinforced Concrete

This form of concrete is widely used in industry and modern construction. Reinforced concrete gets its strength through the help of wires, steel rods or cables that are placed in the concrete before it sets.

What kind of concrete is used for driveway? ›

Portland Cement: Portland cement is a material commonly used to create concrete. It acts much like a strong glue, providing a reliable bond that makes it a popular choice for laying driveways and pathways.

Which concrete is commonly used in construction? ›

Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)

Ordinary Portland Cement also known as OPC is a type of cement that is manufactured and used worldwide. It is widely used for all purposes including: Concrete: When OPC is mixed with aggregates and water, it makes concrete, which is widely used in the construction of buildings.

What is class A and class B concrete? ›

Class A concrete shall be used for concrete structures, either reinforced or non-reinforced, and for concrete pavements. Class B concrete may be used for curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Class C concrete may be used for thrust blocks, encasements, fill or Page 2 SECTION 725 725-2 over-excavation, etc.

What is Type 4 concrete used for? ›

Type IV cement generates less heat during hydration and curing than ordinary Type I portland cement. When conducting mass pours or casting large-volume concrete products, Type IV cement is often used to lessen the amount of heat generated and reduce the risk of flash setting or thermal shock.

What are the 3 grades of cement commonly used? ›

Three different grades of Ordinary Portland cement are available in the Indian market, which are grade 33 (IS:269), grade 43 (IS:8112), and grade 53 (IS:12269). Grade 33 uses M20 grade concrete and is used for plastering. Grade 43 is applied for precast, plastering, and flooring. It uses M30 concrete.

What is Type 2 concrete used for? ›

Cement type 2 is usually hardened more slowly than cement type 1, and it also produces less heat in the setting. This type of cement is used in massive buildings so that when the concrete is set, they produce less heat and do not limit the mass of concrete placing.


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