Concrete 101

If you’re thinking about using concrete to build something on your property, don’t be intimidated. Concrete mixing and pouring is actually fairly simple in concept. Just make sure you have time, materials, and enough energy to put in the work. If you think DIY concrete is too overwhelming, contact your local contractor for help.

 

Materials

It’s important to have all of your materials ready to go before beginning your project, because certain steps are time sensitive.

 

Safety

  • Gloves
  • Glasses/Goggles
  • Mask for dust

 

Tools

  • Hoe or Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Long 2 x 4 or Level

 

Mixing Concrete

The ingredients are very simple: concrete + water. But the ratio is key. Too much concrete and the concrete particles won’t stick together Too much water and the concrete will be too weak to do its thing.

The best place to mix your concrete is in a wheelbarrow, because then you can transport and dump it wherever it needs to go. Always start with less water; you can always add more, but you may not always have more concrete. Mix your two ingredients thoroughly before adding more water – the mix will get more wet as you continue mixing. Start by placing dry concrete in the wheelbarrow, then slowly pour in some water from a bucket.

Once you’ve mixed it thoroughly and you’re satisfied with the ratio, it’s ready to pour. The consistency should be similar to peanut butter. Depending on your project, you will probably have laid out wood and planted stakes to create a space to pour your concrete and keep it contained.

wheelbarrows on lawn

Pouring Concrete

If you’re using a wheelbarrow to mix your concrete as suggested, it will be easy to transport and pour your concrete in the desired place. Once you pour the concrete into your designated area, use a hoe or the back of a shovel to push and spread it out more evenly. Once that’s done you’ll use a long piece of wood or a level to start smoothing out and flattening the concrete to get a nice, even layer on top. Then, use a broom to finish smoothing it out.

One thing to keep in mind is the temperature for the week following your pour. Ideal temperatures for pouring is over 70 degrees, so anything below will extend the amount of time it takes to dry.

 

Concrete Stamps

Concrete stamps are mats that are laid on top of the concrete to imprint texture and design. There are a variety of different patterns and textures that you can create in your cement by using stamps.

It’s important to stamp your wet concrete at the right time to ensure you finish before it dries. It can be a tricky process to do on your own, because you need to have all the tools and labor ready to go before it’s too late.

hand stamping wet concrete

What can you make with concrete?

Whether you’re attempting to DIY or you’re letting the pros handle it, here are a just few ideas of what to use concrete for on your property:

  • Deck Footings
  • Fire Pit
  • Walkway
  • Planters
  • Garden Edging

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your DIY concrete project, send us a message and we’ll be happy to help.