Where the Sidewalk Ends: Take Our Concrete Innovation Quiz!

By: Staff

We're used to things like poured concrete walls and foundations, but what area of construction is concrete now edging into?

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 roofing offers perks in the form of durability and water resistance; plus, it's a definite turnoff for termites. What's another hidden value of a concrete roof?

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.

You might think of concrete as a rough or inelegant material, but in many cases it's quite the opposite. What's one way concrete can give your home an aesthetic boost?

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.

Believe it or not, concrete has one major similarity to amber, the glowing resin often used in jewelry. What is it?

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.

What's one technique innovative designers are using to bring concrete to a wide range of homes?

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).

What does EOP stand for?

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.

How is concrete environmentally friendly?

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.

Modern formulations of concrete are hydraulic, which means they can be used in ways that most other building materials can't. What's one example?

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.

Which innovator developed the most successful form of hydraulic cement?

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.

Modern builders will continue to innovate with concrete, but what culture was first to use it in construction?

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.

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About This Quiz

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.

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