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Mixing Concrete

Large concreting projects will need a professional builder , but for small jobs around the home, ready-made concrete mix is often the cheapest and most convenient solution. Here are a few tips to help you reach the perfect concrete consistency.

Buy the right mix

Bagged concrete mix is available from any good hardware store. Make sure you buy concrete mix, not cement. Cement is just one ingredient of concrete - the others being sand, gravel and water.

Getting started

Empty your bag(s) of concrete into a large mixing tub. A wheelbarrow is ideal if you'll need to transport the concrete later.

Make a large hollow in the pile of dry mix.

Add the water

Pour clean tap water into the hollow you've created. The concrete bag should specify the correct ratio of water to dry mix, but 1 litre of water for every 8 kilos of powder is a good starting point.

It's better to have too little water than too much - you can always add more later.

Mixing concrete

Get mixing

Using a flat spade, shovel or hoe, start working the dry mix into the water. A long-handled tool will reduce the strain on your arms and lower back.

Make sure you get all the dry pockets from the bottom and corners of your mixing container.

Be careful not to add too much water straight away. Concrete that is wet and soupy is not nearly as strong as a thicker blend. Keep a small amount of dry mix set aside in case your concrete needs extra thickening.

To test for the perfect concrete consistency, squeeze a lump in your palm. If it squelches out of your hand, it's too wet. If it crumbles, it's too dry. If the lump forms in your hand and doesn't lose its shape straight away, you're good to go!

Clean up after yourself

Remember to clean your equipment straight away - once the concrete hardens it's almost impossible to get off!

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