Discovering Maximizer concrete at Home Depot last year was a true blessing. The premixed Sakrete product deserved a product review, but that wasn’t about to happen while I was building our bird feeder gazebo or the front porch. I like to include photos of the products I review, especially as they are being used, and the fellow who exposes his camera to concrete dust is a complete idiot.
Fast forward to autumn, specifically November 9, 2013…and meet the complete idiot.
Yep. Today, when I went out around 9:30 a.m. to start pouring a concrete slab for an 8′ x 8′ back porch, guess who left everything on his belt like it was business as usual?
The leather sheath at my right hip only had to be wiped down with damp paper towels after the job was done. Ditto for the western belt, which I wear every day but which also happens to be my dress belt. There’s an old one coiled on my desk, but did I remember to switch out?
Not today, I didn’t.
As for the knife itself, power washing under the utility sink faucet did the trick. The blade is stainless steel, thankfully.
Beyond that, the nylon camera case got a hardcore hand washing complete with multiple episodes of squeezing and wringing. It should be dry in another few hours and seems to appreciate the bath. At any rate, it’s looking better than it has for the past two years.
Ah, but the poor Canon PowerShot. It still works…except for the spring loaded lens cover, which has two upper leaves and two lower leaves that normally iris open or shut, depending on the need. The lower leaves absorbed a bit of concrete dust, just enough grit to jam the mechanism. Now I get to see about acquiring a set of camera sized screwdrivers, take the camera apart, and see if I can clean the thing. A guy at Radio Shack did that for me once before, but I’m not taking it back there.
So, dear reader, please appreciate the few Maximizer concrete photos included on this page. They came at a high cost.
As the Maximizer label states, the product is a “specially air entrained concrete” that brings a number of clear benefits to any construction project where premixed concrete is to be used.
1. While other “standard” concrete premixes produce six tenths of one cubic foot per 80 lb. bag, Maximizer yields one full cubic foot per bag. Thus, while it’s more expensive per bag, the net value (dollars worth of concrete per cubic foot of finished concrete) works out in Maximizer’s favor.
2. It mixes very easily and is quite workable.
3. The above benefits are mentioned on the bag, but air entrained concrete also helps if you need to pour concrete in cooler weather, specifically where overnight temperatures are likely to drop to freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) or below. Concrete slabs (for instance) usually need mere hours to set sufficiently to avoid freezing the water in the concrete while it’s still just water, but if that does happen, ordinary concrete has to be kept warm for a period of time…or risk cracking.
With air entrainment, air pockets throughout the concrete provide a bit of room for the water to expand as it turns into ice, and the cracking risk is significantly reduced.
Not that we need to worry too much about that in southern Arizona. Unless a builder is pouring concrete during the deep winter months, freezing temperatures are not common. This is November, and while we have had overnight temps as low as 31 degrees, the forecast for the next ten days is closer to 40 degrees.
But it’s still a nice feature.
4. High tensile strength. Maximizer boasts a really high number, capable of withstanding pressures up to 5500 psi (five thousand five hundred pounds per square inch). That’s a lot of pressure. I’ve crunched a bunch of numbers and have yet to find a home application that would result in a concrete slab receiving even a single 100 pounds of pressure per square inch. For example, one of our home’s bearing walls, weighing close to 20,000 pounds, would have that weight spread over 5,184 square inches, resulting in less than four pounds resting on any one square inch.
With all that strength available, I’ve yet to see the need to add any rebar for reinforcement.
So far, using a portable concrete mixer, wheelbarrow, shovel, hoe, and trowel–plus a screed board–I’ve used Maximizer for the following construction projects here at home:
–3′ x 3′ slab for the passive solar hot water system. A 62 gallon hot water tank sits atop this slab, surrounded by wooden walls to the north and east, tempered glass walls to the south and west, and a tempered glass top.
–4′ x 4′ slab for the bird feeder gazebo. We had to quit hanging a bird feeder in the gazebo, as we found out the hard way that harvester ants were using fallen bird seed to get fat and breed insanely huge supersoldiers. The ants finally invaded our home at the ceiling level and had to be exterminated. But the gazebo still stands, and the Maximizer concrete slab remains the finest pour I’ve done to date.
–7′ x 8′ slab for the front porch. This addition was completed just in time for the monsoon rains and proved its worth immediately. Instead of tracking mud into the house, we can leave glopped-up shoes on the porch. Also, any would-be home invader (and we do have such things in this county) now has a lot more doors and a lot more locks to break through in order to gain entry to the kitchen.
–8′ x 8′ slab for the rear porch. I prefer working alone (always have) but will admit that this is about the maximum size I’d care to tackle without more of a crew.
Today’s project, the 8′ x 8′ slab, averaged just over four inches in depth and wound up using 25 bags of Maximzer concrete. Had I used a non-Maximizer version, it would have been necessary to process 41 bags. That’s sixteen 80 pound bags I did not have to lift and pour into the mixer today.
Obviously, I have to give Maximizer premixed concrete a rating of a full FIVE STARS. It has incredibly high tensile strength, easy mixing and workability, air entrainment, better value than other concrete mixes, and 67% more volume produced from the same 80 pound bag as the others out there.
What’s not to like about that?