Concrete finds use in most construction work, being used to pave pathways, roads, building houses, etc. While concrete is mostly used by construction professionals, you can also make concrete on your own, using it for DIY projects around the house, such as paving the garage floor or the path from the gate to the house, etc. read through the instructions described below to make concrete on your own.
- Portland cement, grade I or II
- Clean, fine sand
- Coarse gravel or crushed limestone
- Mixing and measuring equipment such as a shovel, spade or hoe
- A wheelbarrow or small buckets to move the material around
- Finishing tools such as floats, edger, trowel, jointer, etc.
Collecting the material. Before you start on your concrete-making project, make sure you've gathered all the required material and equipment as listed in step one. The cement comes in bags which weigh around 95-96 pounds so you may need to organize transport to get the cement delivered.
Measure the area. Mark off the area you want to level with concrete, take accurate measurements on the length, width and thickness of the area to be concreted.
Mixing the concrete. For this you will need a large mixing box or you can rent a concrete mixer if it is a large project. A mortar mix can work for small quantities of mixing. You can also buy pre-mixed concrete if you do not want to take all the time and effort involved in mixing the materials required to make concrete.
Mix the cement and sand in 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. Add gravel or crushed stone in a 1:5 ratio, one part sand/cement mix to 5 parts of gravel or stone. A simpler measurement to remember is one part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts gravel or stone.
Begin adding water while continuously stirring and mixing the sand-cement-gravel mix. The amount of water required should be enough that the mixture is smooth and plastic enough for use - to test out the plasticity you can take a small amount of the mixed concrete in a small container or trowel and pouring it back to find out how much it sagged or slumped. An indication that the concrete mix is ready is a slump of 3-4 inches.
Laying the concrete. Spread the concrete over the area you are working on, making sure to tap it down firmly so that no air pockets are created. Use a magnesium float or a smooth flat wooden board to even out the concrete layer across the surface area. Once the concrete is filled in and smoothened out to an even surface, cover it to protect against the elements or from other stepping on the concrete.
Cleaning up. Once the process of mixing and pouring the concrete, immediately wash off all the equipment used including the mixer, since it is difficult to remove once the concrete has hardened.
The instructions described above are the minimum basic requirements to make concrete. You can also check on various additives and mixtures which can be added to the concrete mix. These will help in reducing shrinkage, avoiding cracks or air pockets and reduce the amount of time spent on curing the concrete. Do your research and experiment with texture and color to make your concrete patch an attractive complement to the rest of the building.