Mixing The Perfect Batch Of Concrete

The proper mixing of concrete is the key getting the results you want from your project. Using these tips you will learn the secrets to mixing the perfect batch of concrete.

Concrete has to have a certain consistancy, not to dry, and not too runny. But how can you tell when it's ready? It takes patience and perseverence. Like a chef creating the perfect cake, the "batter" must be carefully meausred and mixed. Adding to much water to a cake will make it too mushy and adding too much water to your concrete will weaken the finished product. Adding too little water to a cake will make it crumble, the same could happen to your project by adding too little water to the concrete.

Let's start with the consistency of the sand. Are you starting with wet sand or dry sand? Either way you will need to get it to the proper level of moisture. Grab a small handfull of sand and squeeze it into a ball. It should compress into a tight mass, compacting like moist clay. If the water squeezes out of the ball of sand, you need to add more sand. If the ball will not stay together, you will need to add more water.

Mix the concrete by adding very small amounts of water. It may seem to crumble at first, but as you continue to add water it will start to look like a thick mud, turning a medium gray color. The concrete takes on a plastic-like, shiny sheen.

When you begin to mix the components of concrete, you can use a wheelbarrow or any flat waterproof surface that can be hosed off at cleanup time, such as a sheet of plywood. Most concrete mix comes with their mixing directions written in ratios. An easy way to decipher these, is to measure each item in a bucket. For example, if the ratio is 3 parts gravel; 2 parts sand; 1 part concrete, start by adding 3 buckets of gravel to 2 buckets of sand to 1 bucket of cement. Use the straight edge of your shovel to level off the bucket, so each bucketful is the same amount.

Using a concrete hoe to mix the components, rolling one item into the other. If the mixture is a little dry make a little pond in the center of the mixture and add water gradually to the mix.

To test the fully mixed batch, smack the pile flat with the back of the shovel. Then, turning your shovel to the side, jab it into the mix a few times to form grooves. Examining these grooves will tell you if the batch is ready. If the groove collapses, you need to add more dry mix. If the groove is crumbly, more water is needed. The perfect mixture will yield a distinct groove in the concrete and maintain its form.

By using these simple tips, you can mix the perfect batch of concrete, insuring that your project will turn out to your satisfaction.

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