Last Minute Gift Ideas

last minute gift ideas
{Image Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons}

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping at this point, it is officially time to start cracking, as Christmas is just nine short days away. Sorry, not trying to stress you out, as holiday shopping procrastination happens to the best of us.

While we may have the best intentions, and we often pledge to start our holiday shopping early, every single holiday season – life always seems to get in the way or we attempt to hold out for that unique gift. You know, the one that inspires true oohs and aahs, rather than presents from a last minute trip to the mall.

But every year it’s the same story! I am one of those procrastinators, which is just one of the reasons why I chose this topic for this month’s blog. The other reason is that I really want to help my fellow last minute online and mall shoppers by providing them with some great last minute gift ideas.

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Concrete Workers

Gift Idea #1: Concrete Truck Mixer Model

Delivering cement to the next construction site has never been easier, or more fun, with a concrete truck mixer model. Many models on the market today will receive instant recognition along with exceptional features such as lights and sounds, rotating cement mixer, opening cab doors, and more.

Gift Idea #2: Solar Paneled Portable Charger

For the concrete worker on your list that always seem to forget to charge their phone this compact, lightweight, and affordable solar powered charger can power many different brands of smartphones, tablets, iPods and more. Many models on the market today also include an AC wall charger; just in case.

Gift Idea #3: Eclipse Solar Gear Messenger Bag

Eclipse Solar offer a comprehensive line of messenger bags fully equipped with nothing other than, you guessed it, solar panels. The solar panels found on the bags allow the lucky recipients of these bags to charge whatever nifty gadget that is in the bag with its 12v charging outlet.

Gift Idea #4: Job Rocker Sound System

The perfect companion for construction sites, home improvement projects, or just for when you’re getting your hands dirty in the backyard or garage the Job Rocker Sound System can provide you with up-to 50 hours of continuous use on a single charge.

Happy Holidays!!!

Common Concrete Terms Explained

common concrete terms

Perplexed by absolute volume and absorption? Wondering what a bar has to do with concrete? Well wonder no more! This weeks’ post “Common Concrete Terms Explained” will clarify some of the most perplexing concrete terminology.

Learning to properly use the following glossary of common concrete terms may just be your most powerful tool in situations where you’re trying to get your point across to other contractors.

ACI’s Common Concrete Terms

ACI: American Concrete Institute, for the concrete industry

A/F Ratio: The molar or mass ration of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) to iron oxide (Fe2O3).

Abrasion Damage: The process of wearing down or rubbing away by means of fiction on concrete surfaces.

Absolute Volume: The amount of water (or moisture) absorbed in concrete under specific conditions, which is typically expressed as a percentage of the dry weight of the material; the process by which water is absorbed in concrete.

Acceleration: Increase in rate of natural progress of setting or hardening the concrete (see below for acceleration admixture).

Admixture: A material other than water, aggregates, or cement that is used as an ingredient of concrete or mortar to control setting and early hardening, workability, or to provide additional cementing properties.

Aggregate: A granular material such as sand, gravel or crushed stone that is used along with a cementing medium to produce either one of two materials – concrete or mortar.

Back Plastering: Plaster that is applied to one face of a lath (a thin strip of wood, especially one of a series of forming a foundation for the plaster of a wall or the tiles of a roof, or made into a trellis or fence – Source: Merriam-Webster) system following application and subsequent hardening applied to the opposite face.

Backfill Concrete: Nonstructural concrete that is used to over-fill excavated pockets in rock or prepare a surface to receive structural concrete.

Bar: A long, slender structural element that is normally composed from steel (although it can be formed from some other material) and used to reinforce concrete.

Bleeding: It’s not what you think! It’s the autogenous flow of mixing water within, or its emergence from, a newly placed cementitious mixture that was caused by the settlement of solid materials within the mass.

Blended Cement: A hydraulic cement that consists of Portland cement which is then uniformly mixed with slag cement or pozzolan.

Calcination: Decomposition due to the loss of bound water and carbon dioxide; typically seen when concrete ages.

Cast-in-Place: Concrete that is placed and finished in its final location.

Cement-Aggregate Ratio: The ratio, by weight or volume, of cement to aggregate in concrete.

Cement: Finely powdered mixtures of inorganic compounds which when combined with water harden with hydration making cement.

Concrete: A building material that is both hard and compact, which is formed when a mixture of sand, water, gravel and water undergoes hydration. Concrete is the oldest material to date.

Want to Learn More?

For more common concrete terms please click here or visit ACI Las Vegas at Not a member? Learn more information about joining by contacting your local chapter at (702) 656-8827 today.

Here’s How to Clean Concrete Floors

clean concrete floors the right wayA durable and versatile material, concrete has certainly made a lasting impression on the construction industry, and now on homeowners seeking to make an elegant and bold statement within their homes.

Not just for your driveway anymore! With various elegant finishes – marbling, staining and dying; among others – concrete is just as much a flooring option for your chef’s kitchen or spa like bathroom as it is for your garage.

A stylish choice for more modern and sophisticated homes, this is one material that is also relatively maintenance free. Although it does require the same level of care as any other flooring material option, it is easy to clean.

Basic Principles for Clean Concrete Floors

  • Dust mop or sweep with a soft broom weekly to prevent dirt from accumulating on your flooring.
  • Damp mop monthly to remove smudges, pet or kid prints, scuffs and watermarks. This will also restore gloss.
  • Recoat with new floor finish or polish at least once per year. Many concrete flooring installers recommend doing so twice a year.
  • Exercise caution when placing stationary furnishings or other objects on your decorative concrete flooring.
  • Place and maintain clean floor mats at the entrances of your home and ensure that people entering actually use them.

Putting the Basic Principles in Action

Step 1 – Dust Mopping

Dust mopping is an essential first step in all floor maintenance and needs to be done on a routine basis for maximum results. Dust mopping removes sand, silt and clay – all of which can easily abrade your decorative concrete flooring and reduce its lifespan.

Step 2 – Damp Mopping

Now that you’ve removed the dust from your floor, it’s time to mop, but be sure to use only non-abrasive cleansers. Refrain from using ammonia, bleach or vinegar as these products are extremely corrosive to the finishes. You should damp mop at least once per month for best results.

Step 3 – Refinishing

Your concrete’s top coat, aka polish, should be reapplied once or twice a year depending on how much foot traffic your home see. Refinishing adds protection and increases your flooring’s shine. Contact a professional concrete installer when you’re ready to for an application of a refinishing agent.

Step 4 – Floor Protectors

Be sure to apply floor protectors to all of your stationary furnishings, as well as other objects, in order to protect your flooring from dents, scratches and rust stains. Felt protectors can be purchased at virtually any home improvement store for very little expense.

Step 5 – Floor Mats

Strategically placing floor mats at all of your home’s entrances will help you stop dirt and dust from even entering your home. Using outdoor scrapper mats can effectively minimize the amount of mud and debris that enters your home while indoor mats stop moisture and dust in its tracks.

*This post brought to you by your friends at ACI Las Vegas.

Concrete: The Making of the Modern World

Where would we be without concrete?

concrete the making of the modern world




We probably wouldn’t have casinos in which to watch great performances nor would we have the Hoover Dam which produces more than 2,000 mw of energy for our use. Concrete is the most popular building material currently in existence.  It has been used in the making of the modern world since it began.

Don’t believe us? Just take a stroll down the strip and you’ll surely notice thousands upon thousands of the material all around you.

On June 12, 2014, Bill Gates wrote an article, which he titled “Have You Hugged a Concrete Pillar Today?” In the article he discussed in great detail the importance of concrete to modern industrial life. Drawing on the work of his favorite author, Vaclav Smil (Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization), Gates goes on to write:

“{Smil} argues that the most important man-made material is concrete, both in terms of the amount we produce each year and the total mass we’ve laid down. Concrete is the foundation (literally) for the massive expansion of urban areas of the past several decades, which has been a big factor in cutting the rate of extreme poverty in half since 1990.”

Consider this astounding fact (which is again drawn from Smil’s work): “In 1950, the world made roughly as much steel as cement (a key ingredient in concrete); but by 2010, steel production has grown by a factor of 8 while cement had gone up by a factor of 25.”

In Conclusion

The usage of concrete is worldwide. Whether you’re driving or walking down the strip, you’ll notice tens of thousands of this magnificent material all around you. So take a moment, just one minute of your time, to enjoy concrete’s beauty. Whether you’re playing, living or working the producers of concrete literally supports your life!

For more information about the use of concrete in the modern world, give ACI Las Vegas a call at (702) 658-8827, or contact us via our online submission form.

A Concrete Canoe, Really!

Completed Canoe

ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering, which is one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, entered the Concrete Canoe Competition, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, in April of this year.  It is held each year to promote careers in civil engineering and to raise awareness of the many uses there are for concrete, as well as the durability of it in many different applications. This year, the contest was held in San Diego.  The competition is a challenge between college engineering teams to see who can come up with a concrete canoe that;

Canoe in Progress

  1. Floats, even when filled with water
  2. Looks good
  3. And, it must compete in 5 races with all of the contestants’ creations

The scoring for the contest is broken into the following four areas, each counting for 25 percent of the total score:

Smoothing the Canoe


  1. Use of engineering design and construction principles
  2. A technical report on the planning, development, testing and construction
  3. A formal business presentation on the project, that showcases the design, construction, racing ability and different features of the design
  4. Plus, the five races: men’s and women’s slalom/endurance, men’s and women’s sprints and finally a co-ed sprint

Through the contest, the students are able to gain real world experience in using the skills they will need during their careers as civil engineers.  To learn more about concrete a great place to start is right here:

Polished Concrete

So you’ve laid the foundation to your home or business and you are at the point of deciding on flooring. With the endless choices out there including carpet, tile, wood, and stone, some are choosing a new trend emerging in the market that is unique and surprisingly appealing to the eye. Polished concrete can have a look that rivals polished marble or granite at a fraction of the cost and is considered a green and sustainable flooring option since it makes use of materials that are already present.


Polished Concrete is highly durable and low maintenance. It is also available in several finishes depending on the gloss you prefer and doesn’t have to consist of the gray drab color of concrete. Stains can be added which will produce a number of colors and can include intricate design schemes. Being that concrete is so versatile, it can be used indoors or out and is considered a safe flooring option when it comes to slipping according to the National Floor Safety Institute.


New polished concrete floors can contain decorative aggregates and must be finished to to a high standard during construction so that the grinding and polishing process will produce the highest quality results. However if your foundation has already been laid or you are in the process of a remodel, a retrofitted polished concrete floor can be utilized by laying a topping slab no less than 50mm over the existing foundation.

For more information about concrete give us a call at 702-656-8827 or contact us via our online submission form.

ACI Connects With Industry Professionals at the World of Concrete

The World of Concrete (WOC) is the concrete industry’s biggest annual international event.  For 2014, it is took place in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, from January 21-24, 2014.  World of Concrete is celebrating its 40th  year this year!

At the first World of Concrete there were 70 exhibitors, 19 speakers, and 1,100 attendees who took part in the historic event. Today WOC features over 1,300 exhibitors, 80 + speakers, and more than 50,000 registered professionals.

There were many opportunities at WOC to meet and speak to leading industry suppliers.  There were exhibits showcasing new and innovative products, new technologies, safety training courses, construction machinery and equipment, not to mention the endless opportunities to network!

WOC also offered many opportunities to learn about the latest and greatest developments

in the industry.  There were safety training courses, continuing education and certificates, interactive workshops and hands-on training.  In addition, this year WOC added an “Engineering Day” with a new educational track geared specifically towards industry engineers.

John Deer
John Deere Operators Challenge

There were outdoor competitions like the John Deere Operator Challenge and the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 that were great fun to watch.  Next year’s World of Concrete is scheduled for February 3-6, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  You don’t want to miss it!

Bricklayer Competition
Spec Mix Bricklayer 500

For more information about the Las Vegas Chapter of ACI, click here or call us at (702) 656-8827.