How to Mix Concrete

Concrete is designed to do three things: get hard, turn gray and crack. If you’ve ever tried to mix your own concrete, then you know how back breaking this job can be. But with the right tips and techniques, anyone can mix and pour concrete like a pro. Use this guide to mixing concrete and get the most out of your next home improvement project that involves fresh concrete.

Mixing the Portland

There are numerous concrete mixes that are used for a wide variety of projects. For small patches, it’s a good idea to mix a concrete that has little pieces of aggregate instead of the more common medium sized pieces of rock. Smaller pea sized pieces of gravel help small patches maintain their bonding power better than a concrete mix with larger aggregate. Sand can be added to make concrete bond to walls and stucco type materials.

In most cases, ready mix concrete that comes in a bag can be used for most home improvement projects. Sidewalks, slabs and patios all use a typical premix concrete.

Mixing the Dry Concrete

Concrete-whether it’s premixed or not-needs to be mixed to the right proportions to be effective. If it’s too wet, it can create a thick slurry on the top of the pour that will be easy to crack, break and degrade over time. Concrete mix that is made too dry will be tough to pour and will end up roughly finished. Typically a pancake batter like consistency is the key to mixing the best concrete.

One of the easiest ways to mix concrete is by using a gas or electric powered concrete mixer. These work great for when large projects like sidewalks or slab require massive amounts of fresh and ready concrete. While they may cost a small fortune, they are essential for large projects.

Smaller projects can benefit from using a concrete mixing hoe and a wheelbarrow. These simple to use tools can allow you to mix a few bags at a time. Throw the entire bag into the wheelbarrow and use the how to break open the bag. Remove the paper bag and add a small amount of water at a time. Use the concrete hoe to mix the concrete back and forth, adding water until you achieve the desired consistency. Add more concrete mix or water as needed until you’ve got a smooth and even concrete mix.

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