Concrete vs. Quikrete: Which to Choose?

Concrete vs. Quikrete: Which to Choose?

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When it comes to building things like patios, driveways, foundations, walls, and more, there are some popular building materials that you have at your disposal. One of the most commonly used ones is of course concrete. However, there is also such a thing as Quikrete, which is somewhat similar to concrete but does also have some significant differences.

Today, we want to find out what concrete and Quikrete are, what makes them similar and different, and which one you should use for specific purposes.

Concrete and Quikrete: The Basics

Before we get to talking about the similarities and differences between these two things, let’s first figure out exactly what concrete and Quikrete are.

What Is Concrete?

First, we have what is one of the most commonly used building materials out there, concrete. Concrete is a special type of composite material that is composed of a variety of coarse and fine aggregates that are bonded together using fluid cement.

Specifically, the type of cement most commonly used to make concrete is known as Portland cement. When this Portland cement mixes with water, it creates a chemical reaction that will then cause it to cure and harden.

Concrete does have a wide variety of benefits including being cost-effective, versatile, energy-efficient, low maintenance, durable and resilient, and extremely weather-resistant. Moreover, you can pour concrete into a wide variety of molds and shapes.

Concrete is commonly used for a wide variety of purposes including making driveways, sidewalks, patios, foundations for houses, walls, and for building very large buildings. However, do keep in mind that when large structures are involved, concrete will usually always be reinforced with rebar.

What Is Quikrete?

Quikrete As you might be able to tell by the name of it, Quikrete is a special type of concrete. Yes, it is concrete. It is also made with a mixture of Portland cement and aggregate, which could be sand or gravel, as well as water.

When the water is mixed with the Portland cement, it will start to cure and harden. However, the defining feature of Quikrete is the fact that it sets extremely quickly. Quikrete, as the name implies, is designed to be quick, as it sets up in just around 20 to 40 minutes.

This makes it very convenient for a variety of tasks that require speed. Other than the speed at which Quikrete sets, it’s really not much different from concrete at all, which is true in more or less all ways.

Similarities of Concrete and Quikrete

Now that we know what both concrete and Quikrete are, let’s figure out what makes them similar.

1. They’re Both Concrete and Cement-Based

When it comes down to it, both of these things are extremely similar. Both concrete and Quikrete are based on Portland cement. This is the main binder in both of these building materials. Moreover, the composition of both is relatively similar. Quikrete does have some added chemicals to make it settle faster, but other than that, the two are almost identical.

2. Nearly Identical Compression Strength

Another similarity that both of these building materials share is that they are both extremely strong. Both of these materials have a compression strength of upwards of 4,000 PSI. Simply put, both concrete and Quikrete are extremely strong and durable.

3. Weather and Moisture Resistance

Both concrete and Quikrete are extremely weather-resistant and moisture resistant. They are ideal for outdoor use and can easily withstand the elements.

4. Pest, Mold, and Fire Resistance

Both concrete and Quikrete have excellent resistance to fire, mold, and pests. These are not organic materials, so they won’t be susceptible to pests. Moreover, it is more or less impossible to cause these materials to combust.

5. They Are Reinforceable

Although you probably wouldn’t do this as often with Quikrete as with concrete, you can reinforce both of these materials using rebar.

6. They’re Easy to Use and Versatile

The fact of the matter is that with both of these materials, you just have to mix them and pour them as needed. Moreover, both of these materials are extremely versatile and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

7. Same General Applications

Both Quikrete and concrete can be used for making driveways, setting fence posts, and for a number of larger building applications.

Differences Between Concrete and Quikrete

Now that we know what makes the two similar, let’s determine what makes concrete these materials different.

1. Setting Time and Curing Time

The biggest difference between these two building materials is that concrete takes up to 48 hours to set and may take up to five to seven days to fully cure. On the other hand, Quikrete is going to set in anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes, and should fully cure within a single day.

This of course makes Quikrete ideal for construction projects where speed is of the essence. You can start putting weight on Quikrete much earlier than you can on concrete.

2. Mixing

One difference that may be present here is that with concrete, you can go for ready mix concrete or site mixed concrete. With ready mixed concrete, you get a large truck full of it delivered from a factory.

On the other hand, with Quikrete, you usually always mix it on site right from the bag. Moreover, with Quickrete, you can even pour the powder into a hole and then pour the water right on top of it and mix it.

With concrete, ideally, you want to mix it before pouring it at all times.

3. Slightly Different Composition

Also worth noting is that these building materials have slightly different compositions. Yes, both are made out of Portland cement, aggregate, such as sand and gravel, as well as water. However, what sets Quikrete apart is that it also contains some additional chemicals that cause it to set much faster than normal concrete.

4. Cost

The other difference worth noting here is that Quikrete does tend to be more expensive than concrete. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $0.75 to $1.50 more per bag than for normal concrete. Therefore, for large-scale applications, Quikrete may not be very cost-effective.

Concrete vs. Quikrete: Which of the Two Should You Use?

In terms of which one of these two you use for specific construction projects, it really depends on what your own needs are.

For instance, if you are doing large-scale concrete pouring, mixing together hundreds of bags of Quikrete is not going to be ideal. If this is the case, you are best off ordering a truck to deliver a large batch of concrete. Because Quikrete usually doesn’t come in a ready-mix variety delivered straight from a factory, it’s best used for smaller applications where you only have to mix a few bags.

The same thing can be said about the cost. A bag of Quikrete is around a dollar more expensive than a bag of concrete. Therefore, for large-scale applications, Quikrete is not the most cost-effective.

However, if you just need a few bags of it for something like setting fence posts or making a small sidewalk or patio, then Quikrete is perfectly fine. If you need your concrete to dry very quickly so you can start using it, then Quikrete is the way to go.

Summary

When it comes down to it, Quikrete is just extremely fast-setting concrete, and it can definitely have some benefits when speed is of the essence. Now that you know what the differences between the two are, you can make an informed decision.

How Does Concrete Compare with Other Materials?

Below, you can find articles that compare concrete with: