What, concrete and mortar don't jump to mind when you think of innovation? But don't be fooled by concrete's stodgy reputation. Take our quiz to test your knowledge of everything new and exciting about concrete.
If you live in a hot, dry area, you're probably well aware of the dangers of having a wood-shingled roof. Concrete roofing tiles, which are durable and won't turn your house into a fireball in the case of an errant match, offer some homeowners a sturdy and practical solution.
Concrete roofs are actually heavier and more expensive than traditional roofing methods. However, in some areas, they offer the benefit of bypassing certain building codes -- a convenience that's worth its weght in, well, concrete.
If you think concrete has to be gray or boring, think again. Most often found in countertops, concrete can be stained or dyed almost any color. Plus, it's highly durable and heat-resistant -- no trivets necessary.
Just like the mix-ins at your favorite ice cream parlor, custom concrete can include just about anything you want to put in it. Keepsakes, tile chips, your kid's favorite marble -- it's all up to you.
If you've got a Victorian-style home but still want the durability of a concrete driveway, never fear: Imprinted concrete offers an impressively wide array of designs from tile to fish scales and flagstones to 3-D images (yes, you read that right).
Electro-Osmotic Pulse (EOP) technology uses low-voltage direct current to expel moisture from inside concrete walls, eliminating the need for chemical waterproofing procedures. The U.S. Army commonly uses this method for waterproofing its field structures.
Concrete doesn't have the most environmentally friendly production process (it emits a ton of carbon dioxide), but once it's created, it'll be around for a long, long time. Plus, when it does need replacing, concrete can be broken down and repurposed into new structures.
You might find stone or wooden arches on buildings, but you probably won't find them underwater. Because of its hydraulic nature, concrete is uniquely qualified to provide underwater support for structures like bridges and piers.
Standing on the shoulders of giants, David O. Saylor's 1871 patent of a hydraulic cement formula is the most common form used in concrete today.
Concrete might not strike you as an ancient building material, but the Romans were actually using it as far back as 509 B.C. In fact, the Coliseum and the Pantheon are both made of this ancient form of concrete.