Why knowing the right way of tamping concrete is necessary

When the concreting is done, there might be small air bubbles inside. Representative image. Photo: WESTOCK PRODUCTIONS/Shutterstock

Shashi, was the contractor’s help while I was interning with engineer Ashraff. And he was called ‘Idimutti Shashi.’ Of course, just that name was enough to know that he was a Gunda. When heard that a Gunda was there on the site, I contemplated brushing up on some defense techniques but upon hearing his backstory, gave up the idea.

Because Idimutti Shashi isn’t a Gunda as we might think. He is just a mason who doesn’t even know how to properly level concrete. Therefore contractor Velayudhan regularly assigned him the job of solidifying it after the concreting. So Idimutti is the local name of a wooden masonry tool used while concreting work. Since he carries the Idimutti all the time, he came to be called Idimutti Sashi.

But here the problem is not Sashi, but the Idimutti. Since Idimutti has already been explained, let us examine why the concrete is solidified to this extent. But before looking at it, let us go through the various stages of concreting. This is a big topic. But let’s talk about the content.

Slab concreting is the process of pouring the specified concrete mix according to the water-cement ratio on the centering surface, which is cleanly levelled, wired and covered with a covering block.

After that, it should be compacted with a vibrator, then the concrete mound will be flat, and some water will appear on the top. Immediately, a mason will level it with a plank and shovel. We have to wait for another twenty minutes; in the meantime, we can concrete another area. By then, the first poured concrete will begin to dry slowly. This will take about twenty minutes.

Now let’s call Idimutti Sashi. We know that his job is to solidify the concrete level. That is technically called the tamping of concrete.

We are not over yet.

Solidifying the concrete doesn’t mean banging it hard. Strike slowly and lightly from a height of about four inches. Use wooden mallets only, not thick iron mallets for any reason. Otherwise, things will go haywire. Now, why should you be banging in this fashion?

When the concreting is done, there might be small air bubbles inside. Tiny organisms will be trapped inside. These bubbles and small organisms will dig through the unreinforced concrete and reach the top.

You should walk backward while banging this way, you should not kick the side that has already been hit. When compacted in this way, the concrete will have a special finish. This is called tamped finish. But when the big metal is put and the ground is concreted, this small pounding is not enough. A good knock is necessary. And that too with a good iron thump. This ramming of plain concrete is called "ramming of concrete".

These are the things to be underlined here.

One - do not use a steel hammer on slab concrete or reinforced concrete, and only hammer very slowly.

Two - Steel-thick hammers should be used on concrete floors where large metal is used, as well as a hammer severely.

Three: Idimutti Shashi is not a Gunda.

(Suresh Madathilvalappil has been working in the field of civil engineering in India and UAE for the last 25 years and has also studied architecture. WhatsApp number- +971 50 731 0906 )

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