Concrete has been around since as early as 6500 BC, giving it a surprisingly rich history for something that has become so every day that it’s literally at the foundation of our society. While we have improved and modernized concrete techniques and the concrete itself, it’s incredible to look back on the history of concrete to better understand how far we’ve come.
The History of Concrete
Dating all the way back to ancient times, concrete has changed and developed over thousands of years. To put it all in context, here’s a timeline of the history of concrete beginning all the way back in the stone age of the Middle East:
6500 BC: Earliest known concrete structures
It all began with Nabataean traders conquering the deserts of Syria and Jordan. This early method of using lime kilns to create cement was used throughout Syria primarily to build concrete cisterns and water channels, but also for houses and flooring.
5600 BC: Signs of concrete in Europe
Archaeological evidence shows signs of concrete flooring in huts built along the Danube River in Yugoslavia. Because concrete is naturally waterproof, it made for the perfect early building material to keep floors from dissolving next to an active body of water!
3000 BC: The Pyramids and the Great Wall of China
Cement-like materials are believed to have been used to construct famous landmarks in both China and Egypt, where mud and straw were commonly mixed to create bricks. The Great Pyramid of Giza is believed to be constructed of either lime concrete or burnt gypsum, and even the marvel of early construction known as the Great Wall of China used a form of cement!
600 BC: Widespread use of concrete in Ancient Rome
It’s often assumed that Romans invented concrete. While we now know this isn’t the case, they were instrumental in making concrete a key building material worldwide! At this time, concrete was created by mixing volcanic ash, lime, and seawater that was packed into wood molds to create bricks for construction.
Unfortunately, the fall of the Roman empire in 476 AD resulted in the loss of a lot of knowledge surrounding concrete all the way until manuscripts describing the practice were found in 1414.
1793: John Smeaton invents a better way
Using limestone containing clay, civil engineer John Smeaton developed a new method of creating hydraulic lime that significantly improved the integrity of cement. He then used this method to build the Eddystone Lighthouse in Cornwall, England.
1824: Invention of Portland cement
Joseph Aspdin is credited with inventing the now most widely used cement in the world: Portland cement. This modern cement-making method burns chalk and clay together until the carbon dioxide is removed. By 1880, Portland cement was foundational in European home construction!
Nearly 200 years later, Portland cement is a key ingredient in concrete everywhere. It is mixed with stone aggregates, sand, and water to create a mixture that hardens into solid concrete foundations, floors, walls, farm silos, furniture, art pieces, or anything else you can imagine building with concrete!
While concrete is a sturdy and high-quality building material that is regarded as the best option for building foundations and structural integrity, it is still prone to cracking and shifting over time. While early concrete repair utilized mudjacking to maintain and level concrete, this method was only ever a bandaid solution that had to be constantly reapplied. Something different was needed to partner with concrete for reliable foundations. Enter: Polyjacking.
The History of Polyjacking and the Future of Concrete
The first polyurethane composite was invented by Otto Bayer in the 1930s, which later was found to be an extremely sturdy and reliable material for concrete repair! Polyurethane foam is lightweight, easy to inject beneath concrete slabs, and does not require additional maintenance like mudjacking methods. Because it surpasses alternative concrete leveling and repair methods at every turn, polyjacking is the future of concrete!
While not a concrete material itself, polyurethane has become the perfect partner for creating stable, long-lasting foundations. Construction today has even begun utilizing deep injection to fortify concrete slabs, significantly decreasing the need for repairs and leveling in the future.
We have come a long way since the days of mud and straw bricks! To see the difference polyjacking can make for your concrete, no matter how ancient it may be, contact Pro Polyjacking for all your concrete leveling and repair needs.