How to Mix Concrete
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Discover This Simple Way to Mix Concrete
Concrete is a valuable building material throughout the home. Strong, compliant, and durable, concrete can be used on patios, fence posts, floors, baseboards, and slabs. You can even make kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity countertops, and concrete sinks.
While concrete mixing is commonly associated with commercial-grade mixing trucks and mixers, homeowners can safely mix small amounts of concrete with simple tools.
Small amounts of concrete can be mixed manually, without the use of an electric mixer. You will only use a garden hoe and shovel, a mixing bowl, such as a wheelbarrow, and a source of clean water, such as a garden hose.
How Much Concrete to Mix at a Time
Lot quantities with this method are limited to one or two 50 pound bags of concrete. Mixing more than 45 kilograms of concrete with a hoe is physically difficult, plus the concrete can start to harden before you can mix the entire batch.
Most DIYers will find that mixing a 50 pound bag of concrete at a time is the most comfortable batch quantity.
How much water to add to the concrete mix
Measuring the exact amount of water is crucial to a successful concrete mix. Insufficient use results in a dry, powdery mix that does not stick or harden properly. A more common mistake is adding too much water. Although the spill may be successful, concrete mixed with a lot of water is weak and will soon crumble.
Although you must get the exact amount of water specified, most manufacturers create allowances for additional water, if necessary. In many cases, you can add up to 2 additional cups of water.
|2-Inch Thick Slab||Bags Needed (50 lb.)||Water Needed|
|1 square foot||1||1/2-gallon|
|2 square feet||2||1 gallon|
|3 square feet||3||1-1/2 gallons|
|4 square feet||4||2 gallons|
|5 square feet||5||2-1/2 gallons|
Tips For Increasing Concrete Working Time
Quick-mix concrete begins to harden in approximately 20 to 40 minutes. This means you have less than 20 minutes to fully mix the concrete and pour it.
To keep these parameters tight, you will need to have all your materials and tools ready and closed. Every strange action only reduces the working time of the concrete.
- Using the garden hose, pour 8 cups (or 1/2 gallon) of water into the measuring cup and then into the bucket. Mark the waterline with the indelible marker.
- Place the hoe, shovel, bucket of water, measuring cup, and garden hose (tap on, spray-controlled hose) within easy reach of the wheelbarrow.
- Mix the concrete as close to the place of pouring as possible.
- Work with an assistant. One person pays attention to the mix, while the other adds water and stabilizes the truck.
- If you are working alone, hold the wheelbarrow while mixing the concrete, step on one of the wheelbarrows supports with your foot, or support the side of the sink with your knee.
Concrete achieves 400 psi compressive strength in approximately two hours and 1,000 psi in 24 hours. Concrete is considered fully cured in 28 days, but can generally be used in about a day or two, depending on the application.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Wheelbarrow or large mortar tub
- Garden hoe
- Thick rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
- Dust mask
- Clean bucket
- Measuring cup
- Utility knife
- Indelible marker
- 1 quick-mix concrete, 50 pound bag
- Fresh water supply
1. Pour the bag of concrete
For a clean spill that minimizes dust, place the bag of concrete in the wheelbarrow. Hold the top of the bag with one hand and use the other to cut the top of the bag with the pocket knife. Gently push the bag aside and slowly pour in the concrete mix. Keep the mixture isolated on one side of the mixing wheelbarrow or bowl for now.
2. Pour the water
Pour the prepared bucket of water into the open side of the wheelbarrow or basin.
3. Bend the concrete slowly with water
With the hoe, gradually pull the material from the concrete side of the sink into the water. Make sure the product is mixed with water before extracting more product.
4. Mix the concrete together
When all the concrete and water are mixed, continue mixing until all air pockets or dry sections are removed.
5. Evaluate and correct the concrete, if necessary
The concrete should have a peanut butter consistency. It shouldn't be like soup. In this case, add a small amount of dry concrete to harden the mix. The mixture should not be powdery either. In that case, add up to 2 cups of water, one cup at a time.
Drag the hoe once through the mixture, with the hoe touching the bottom of the bowl. The sides of the concrete groove must remain firm. When hitting concrete with the hoe or shovel, it should stay flat.
6. Clean tools
Immediately after pouring concrete, clean tools (unless you are mixing more concrete). Place tools in wheelbarrow, spray to clean, and set aside to dry. Spray the inside of the wheelbarrow to clean up any concrete residue.
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