Types of Concrete: Different Uses in Construction Projects

Differents types of concrete to build… A “flexible” binding material that has been used in construction projects for centuries. There are many types of concrete, offering strength and durability, making it the ideal choice for a wide range of applications, from foundations and walls to bridges and avenues.

From its humble beginnings, concrete has progressed to become an essential part of building construction projects, offering numerous benefits and uses.

In this article, we will explore the different types of concrete, their uses, and the advantages of using it in construction projects.

Concrete: Types and Uses in Construction Projects
Types and uses of concrete in construction projects .

When Cement (and Concrete) Emerges

Although plaster has been known to exist for 2,000 years, it was not until the middle of the 19th century that cement emerged as an artificial binding material capable of solidly and lastingly joining clay and stone.

In 1824, for the first time, a cement was patented by the Englishman Joseph Aspdin, which was claimed to be as hard and resistant as Portland stone. This cement, treated at very high temperatures (1300 degrees Celcius), and later mixed with water and lime, hardened, giving rise to a solid mass resistant to seawater, what we know today as concrete or concrete in mass.

The earliest known DC example of construction made of stone, cement, and water is the Eddystone Lighthouse, built in the United Kingdom by James N. Douglass (1826-1898).

Chemical studies demonstrated the presence of clay in the lime of the cement used, with physical-chemical modifications carried out at very high temperatures.

The big difference between this new material (modern cement) and Roman cement was its greater hardness and mechanical resistance.

It is a new material, created from the calcination of 80% calcareous material and 20% clay, in both cases ground and fired at 1300 degrees Celcius, which are homogenized and later cooled, to give rise to a powder with hydraulic capacity, called Portland cement.

What is Concrete

Concrete or concrete is a  construction material made from cement, sand, coarse aggregate and water . One of its main characteristics is its high malleability, great resistance to compression, over time, and with a relatively low manufacturing cost.

Once the concrete has set, it becomes an artificial stone.

At the same time, concrete has physical, chemical and mechanical properties that allow it to obtain a large number of advantages.

Types of Concrete
Precast concrete elements.

Types of Concrete

When it comes to building materials, there are many alternatives to consider. Depending on the project, one option may be more appropriate than another, but there is no doubt that concrete is one of the main ones to consider.

Next, let’s look at the main types of concrete.

  • Mass concrete
  • Cyclopean concrete
  • Cleaning Concrete
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Precast concrete
  • Prestressed concrete
  • Light Concretes
  • Self-leveling concrete
  • Stamped concrete

Plain Concrete

This type of concrete does not contain steel reinforcement inside , so it is not capable of resisting tensile stresses and compression stresses. Its manufacturing method is the traditional one, based on cement, aggregates and water.

Cyclopean Concrete

It is a type of mass concrete, but in this case, it is a simple construction material made of large stones or blocks (30% large aggregate material over 150mm) and is suitable for many applications.

It is usually used in foundations and strip footings, and can be adapted to various needs, such as variable sections and burial depths.

Construction of retaining walls with cyclopean concrete.
Construction of retaining walls with cyclopean concrete.

In addition, it is a type of concrete suitable for land with shallow resistant strata, and low-rise buildings, thus making construction more economical.

In addition, this form of construction is cost-effective and can be executed quickly, saving significant time and money.

It adapts well to uneven ground and is ideal for building simple HOUSE DESIGNS .

It is recommended to use a ratio of 1 cement per 10 volumes of aggregate when using this material.

Base Concrete

Another type of concrete is the so-called cleaning concrete, which is used mainly as a protective layer for reinforced concrete foundations.

Cleaning concrete for foundation base.
Cleaning concrete for foundation base.

It is a non-structural concrete, whose function includes being part of the formwork of some types of structural foundations.

Generally, it refers to mass concrete with 100 kg/cm² of compressive strength used as supports for structural foundations.

Reinforced or Structural Concrete

The mixture of this type of concrete is made up of cement, sand and stones, additives, and steel reinforcing rods or reinforcements, duly calculated and located, which provide the necessary resistance to withstand greater compression and traction efforts.

Reinforced concrete has been the quintessential material of the 20th century, allowing, for example, the construction of large numbers of buildings and PREFABRICATED houses.

Although in the 21st century, new materials have been emerging, reinforced concrete is expected to continue to be one of the main players in real estate and construction development in general.

Reinforced concrete is basically made up of 2 very different materials (concrete and steel), resulting in a material with very homogeneous operation and highly resistant.

The basic principle of reinforced concrete is to use concrete that resists compression efforts well, and steel bars, which resist traction very well.

Through the corrugated steel rods, a high adhesion between the two materials is achieved, achieving a homogeneous work of both materials of a concrete.

Prefabricated Concrete

Precast concrete is generally made in industrial plants, although occasionally it may be necessary to manufacture it on site, for example, when dealing with isolated or difficult-to-access sites.

Prefabricated concrete

Precast concrete elements may include the following:

  • Foundations, columns, beams, slabs and stairs.
  • Earth retaining walls.
  • Basement walls for homes, industrial buildings or shopping centers.
  • Deposits and water treatment plants.
  • Masonry work for roads…

…all of different sizes and types, which arrive ready to be placed in the final place of the work in question.

Through this construction method, the concrete parts are cast in a controlled environment before arriving at the site, guaranteeing greater quality and durability.

This technique generates a series of advantages : better production conditions, shorter delivery times, lower costs, better quality control of the parts and less labor and installation costs.

This construction method is becoming increasingly popular as it plays an important role in reducing the environmental impact of construction in terms of energy use, industrial waste and pollution.

Precast concrete has numerous advantages, from faster construction to saving resources, but there are also certain limitations that must be considered before deciding to use it in a construction project.

Due to its complex installation process, this technique is suitable for large-scale projects and large work teams. Transportation requirements must be taken into account.

Pre-Stressed Concrete

Among the types of concrete, prestressed concrete refers to a technique widely used in structural construction (whether for bridges, houses, buildings), due to its advantages in lightening the structure while increasing the bearing capacity and resistance of the concrete. concrete.

This type of concrete is formed from reinforcements based on wires or three-wire steel wire cables, which are tensioned before pouring the concrete mix.

Types of concrete: prestressed.
Types of concrete: prestressed .

Subsequently, the setting of the concrete is expected, which will adhere to the bars, to then release the tension of the reinforcement, transferring it to the concrete, which will be compressed obtaining a greater resistance to traction. 

This type of pre-stressed concrete is widely used in the prefabrication of structural elements, such as lightweight slabs of great length (up to 12 meters long) or the so-called Spiroll slabs.

Generally, prestressed concrete is manufactured in industrial plants, under high levels of quality control.

Among the advantages of prestressed concrete , we have a smaller volume of the structural element, greater strength and durability, they are high-resistance concrete, they contribute to saving materials and execution time of the work, since it is a material that is produced in series. .

It has greater resistance, increases the life of the concrete and reduces cracks, and is usually used in high-rise buildings.

High Strength Concrete

It refers to types of concrete with greater resistance, from 30 MPa (300kg/cm²).

Furthermore, this type of concrete can last up to four times longer than conventional concrete. Therefore, it is an ideal structural material for high-rise buildings, skyscrapers, large bridges, maritime constructions or those close to the sea.

This type of concrete is ideal when less maintenance and greater protection against external agents is required, due to its greater durability against chemical attacks.

bridge built with High Strength Concrete
Bridge built with high resistance concrete .

High strength concretes of up to 70 MPa have been manufactured.

Here additives such as silica fume and fly ash are very important, as well as plasticizers, accelerators and retarders, which reduce the amount of water needed for mixing.

This property makes the porosity of the concrete very low, which provides greater protection against concrete pathologies, such as attack by sulfates and the alkali-aggregate reaction.

Light or Low Density Concrete

Lightweight concrete is defined as that whose density is greater than 1,200 kg/m3 and does not exceed 1,800 kg/m3.

This type of concrete is applied when it is required to lighten the weight of a structure. In addition, its low thermal conductivity makes it ideal as an insulator.

Light or Low Density Concrete
Light concrete, with additives to lower its density.

Among its advantages, we can point out its lower economic cost, it offers greater performance, thanks to the speed of its placement, it has a lower thermal transmission coefficient than traditional concrete.

With this type of concrete it is possible to minimize sections of structural elements, by reducing their own weight.

In addition, it is a highly permeable concrete, which makes it ideal for paving surfaces that require rapid drainage. They are ideal for insulating elements.

Shot Concrete

Shotcrete is a technique used in construction that consists of using a hose with compressed air to “project” concrete at high speed on the surface of the area to be concreted, in order to achieve the desired shape, whether vertical, horizontal or curve.

Construction of a pool with shotcrete.
Construction of a pool with shotcrete.

The impact created during this rapid projection allows the concrete to be well compacted and increase its density compared to normal concreting.

The main advantage of sprayed concrete is that it provides great adherence and does not require formwork for its application, which allows for great versatility in treatments and a significant reduction in project execution time.

When it comes to finding the best concrete to achieve architectural forms, shotcrete is an ideal choice.

This type of concrete, although it is composed of traditional ingredients, is unique thanks to its particular application process and the many advantages that its use brings.

This technique also makes it possible to quickly level surfaces of any shape, offering superior strength and durability even in the most difficult conditions.

It is very important to mix the concrete in the correct proportion.

 Self Leveling Concrete

Self-leveling concrete is a type of special concrete that combines water, cement, sand and fluidizing additives to achieve great fluidity.

This self-leveling concrete has an excellent property that allows it to spread evenly over the surface to be coated, providing an extremely smooth finish without irregularities.

Self Leveling Concrete

Self-leveling concrete is best suited for interior surfaces protected from moisture.

The advantages of self-leveling concrete are numerous, and among them we find a great leveling capacity, impeccable adherence, speed of hardening, high resistance to wear, absence of cracks and the ability to quickly cover large surfaces.

Self-leveling concrete is an essential material for those who need to quickly repair a worn or poorly maintained floor, and it can also be used to lay tiles thanks to its impermeability.

In addition, thanks to its great mechanical and abrasion resistance, self-leveling concrete is ideal for areas with heavy traffic, as well as for floors with electrical and heating installations, as a regulating base for vinyl flooring, the restoration of damaged or aged flooring, floors industrial, among others.

Special Concrete

When it comes to construction projects, there is no substitute for a specifically designed and custom concrete solution. Special mixes are formulated to meet the exact requirements of the project, and are often created with a combination of aggregates, cement, water, and specialized admixtures.

The advantages of this type of concrete are many: it can be precisely cured, has superior workability, and is incredibly strong and durable.

Specialty concrete can even be used in places with extreme weather conditions or seismic activity, making it a valuable option where traditional concrete may not be suitable.

Stamped Concrete

One of the types of concrete that offers great potential for innovative designs and successful projects.

Gray stamped concrete is one of the most versatile and affordable options for many projects. Its installation is quick and easy, eliminating the need for large machines or excessive construction work.

This concrete has low cost advantages compared to other materials, perfect for personal and professional applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Its exceptional versatility stands out for its ability to offer a large number of applications for both interiors and exteriors, allowing customizable shapes, textures, patterns, and colors. For these reasons and many more, stamped concrete is the perfect option for a multitude of projects.

Advantages of the Use of Concrete

When it comes to construction projects, having a versatile and reliable material is essential. One of those materials is the strong and durable option, perfect for a wide variety of projects, from sidewalks and driveways to large infrastructure works.

Its easy availability, affordable cost, and hassle-free installation make it a popular choice for many constructions.

Personalization is one of the greatest advantages of this material. It can be mixed with components and other elements to create a unique solution for any project.

This provides great creative potential when designing the project. Various finishes are available, from smooth to rough and textured.

  • Acoustic isolation.
  • It is refractory.
  • Fireproof.
  • Fire resistant.
  • It takes any form.
  • Resistance to humidity and insolation, high and low temperatures.
  • High resistance to compression.
  • Wear resistance.
  • It improves over time.
  • Its elements are relatively easy to transport.

In addition, this material is also ideal for areas with pedestrian and vehicular traffic. As if that were not enough, its ecological nature allows it to be recycled and reused for various projects. All these advantages make it an indispensable asset for many construction projects.

Disadvantages of Concrete

  • His great weight.
  • Low tensile strength.
  • It needs to set.
  • It is not the best material for expansion-restoration works.


There are many types of concrete in construction, being an essential part of any construction project, since it offers a wide range of advantages for any application.

From smooth concrete for sidewalks and walkways, to more complex specialty concrete for various applications, to structural concrete for large-scale projects, there is a concrete solution for any construction project.

Concrete is a durable, versatile and cost-effective material that is easy to use, making it the ideal choice for any job.

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