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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an asbestos inspection?

All commercial renovations or demolitions require a certified asbestos inspector to take samples of the building materials and have them tested for the presence of asbestos prior to renovation or demolition. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency also dictates that inspections must occur under other circumstances:

  • A building owner who suspects his property may contain asbestos must conduct an inspection.
  • Buildings that are to be moved or dismantled and reassembled at a new location must be inspected for asbestos.
  • Buildings to be intentionally burned for fire training must have an asbestos inspection performed.

Hengel is certified by the MPCA to conduct these inspections. Contact our office for more information or to schedule an inspection.

What is a cubic yard?

If you picture a box that is three feet tall, three feet deep and three feet wide, that’s one cubic yard. All concrete, sand, aggregate and topsoil products are measured by the cubic yard.

How do I figure out how many cubic yards or tons of product I need?

The calculator page is a good place to start. When you have an irregularly shaped area, as most are, you simply have to estimate the average length, width and depth when imputing data into the calculator. If you want some help or have a question, call us at (218) 746-3355.

Can we pick up materials ourselves?

Yes! No appointment or call ahead is necessary. Just show up with your open bed truck or trailer during regular summer business hours (7 AM to 5 PM Monday-Friday and 8 AM to 12 PM on Saturdays), and we will load you in just a few minutes. Call our office at (218) 746-3355 for winter hours. Directions to Hengel.

How much will my truck hold?

A standard half-ton pickup with a six foot bed will hold about two cubic yards of lightweight material or one cubic yard of heavier material (like topsoil) or one-half cubic yard of very heavy material (such as sand or gravel).

What makes good quality concrete?

There are several basic requirements for good quality concrete:

  • Good materials (cement, aggregate admixtures and water)
  • Proper proportioning of these materials (see below)
  • Thorough mixing
  • Skillful placing and finishing
  • Proper curing

Proportioning is simply deciding how much of each ingredient will be put in the concrete. A temptation to use too much water generally results from an effort to make placing operations easier for the contractor. Overly wet concrete flows into the forms more readily and is easier to compact and strike off. Everything about overly wet concrete is easier—except the maintenance problems that will begin to appear on a surface that could just as easily have been trouble-free for many years.

How is curing accomplished?

The newly placed concrete should be covered or sprayed with a material that will retain the moisture within the mix. Membrane-curing compounds sprayed on the surface are most commonly used. They must be applied immediately after the concrete is given its final finish and care must be taken to apply them thoroughly and uniformly.

What amount of time must concrete cure before being useable?

Proper curing greatly increases concrete strength and durability. Concrete hardens as a result of hydration, which is the chemical reaction between cement and water. However, hydration only occurs if little to no water is lost during the early stages of this chemical reaction and if the concrete’s temperature stays within a suitable range. The temperature of new concrete should not be allowed to fall below 50 degrees during the curing period. Concrete should not be put into service generally before 3 to 7 days after placement. This is dependent on time of year, with winter being the slowest curing season.

How can I make my concrete driveway less prone to damage from freezing weather?

When ordering concrete for outdoor applications (driveways, patios, etc.), always request air-entrained concrete. Entrained air is air that is purposely incorporated into a concrete mix, primarily to make the concrete resistant to deterioration caused by freezing and thawing and the use of de-icing salts. These air pockets relieve internal pressure on the concrete by providing tiny chambers for water to expand into when it freezes without damaging the integrity of the structure. As the owner, you can also help prevent damage by reducing or eliminating the use of de-icing agents on exterior slabs. These agents contain chemicals that result in an increased number of freeze-thaw cycles. This process opens capillaries in the concrete which impacts the intregrity of the slab and causes scaling. Sand is a better alternate for dealing with slippery surfaces.

What makes concrete crack?

Concrete "shrinks" slightly as it hardens. A normal shrinkage rate is approximately 1/8" per 100 linear feet. This shrinkage is caused by loss of excess water from the mix. The "wetter" the mix, the higher the shrinkage rate. Control joints should be placed in the concrete at intervals equal to 2.5 times (in feet) the thickness of the slab. For example, a slab 4" thick should have control joints every 10 feet. Even with the installation of control joints and proper proportioning, it is important to remember that some cracking can still occur.

How do you find a good contractor?

When selecting a contractor, there’s more to consider than just cost. Knowledge, competence, integrity and experience are additional qualities to seek in a contractor. Take a look at a few of the contractors' completed jobs, particularly some that were done several years ago. If you like what you see, you can feel easier about seeking bids from them, knowing they do good quality work.

What types of materials can I bring to Hengel’s landfill?

Hengel operates demolition landfills. This means that we are certified by the state of MN to dispose of materials typically used in the building process. While we can accept other types of waste, they must be transported by our staff and disposed of at other sanitary landfills. Consequently there is an additional charge associated with dropping these items at our site.

“Hengel was very responsive. We got same day service and no surprises.”

– Fred from Crosby

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