Have you heard about cement? Do you know how to make a cement mixture? If you like DIY and home improvement projects, then you are likely to be familiar with that term. But even if you aren’t a DIYer, you’ll probably have heard of it as it is one of the main building materials used in various constructions.
Visiting a hardware store, you’ll find ready-mix concrete, but you can make your own, as well. It’s not so hard, as soon as you know the right steps. And that’s why we are by your side. We are about to reveal to you all the tips and tricks on making cement mixtures. Ready to learn how to make it on your own at home?
What is cement?
Cement is a fine grey powdery adhesive substance that is used for construction. It is used to set, harden and adhere to other building materials to bind them together. Cement is used to bind sand and gravel together, producing concrete, or when it’s mixed with fine aggregate, it produces masonry mortar.
Cement, when mixed with water, turns into a hard mass. Due to its compounds, the amount of water affects its hardness. In addition, cement is somewhat caustic and can cause skin burns. That’s why use it with caution and always wear safety equipment.
There are different types of cement that someone can use according to their construction. Some of the most common are the following:
1.Ordinary portland cement (OPC): It’s the most common type used to create concrete, mortar and plaster. If you want to lay driveways, pathways, reinforce concrete structures, build masonry units, and so forth, then OPC is your choice.
2. Portland Pozzolana cement(PPC): To create this type of cement, you need to grind pozzolanic clinker with Portland cement. Then it can be used to:
- Marine structures
- Sewage works
- Mass concrete works
3. Rapid hardening cement: This type becomes strong earlier than OPC. The former needs 3 days whilst the latter 7. It’s usually used in prefabricated concrete projects, road works, fixing fence posts, concrete slabs, retaining wall foundations, railings etc.
4. White cement: It’s white OPC. It’s used for architectural purposes, like precast curtain walls, facing panels, terrazzo surfaces or for interior and exterior works like external renderings of buildings, facing slabs, concrete floors, garden paths, swimming pools, concrete steps.
How to make cement mixture
The easiest way would be to visit a hardware store and get ready-mix concrete. But, If you want to create your own concrete, there are two methods, either by hand or using a cement mixer. Remember, though, that the portions of the ingredients in both methods depend on your project. However, most DIY projects’ common mix is 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts aggregate.
Method 1: Mixing cement by hand
Mixing concrete by hand is very convenient in case you want to mix small batches of concrete. But not only. You can also mix it by hand in case you lack a concrete mixer. However, not all DIYers own such a device.
- A wheelbarrow
- A spade, trowel or shovel
- A plastic bucket
- Safety equipment ( dust mask, safety glasses and gloves)
Steps to follow:
- Clean the mixing board to remove any debris and wet it.
- Measure half part gravel and sand you need for the mixture and place it on the board, forming a cone shape.
- Using your shovel, form a crater in the middle of the dry mix and add all the necessary cement.
- Next, add the rest of the sand and gravel and start turning over each part 3 to 4 times to mix concrete.
- Then, reform a cone shape and create a crater at the top of the pile. Using the bucket add some water.
- Start moving the dry ingredients into the centre of the crater and turn them over to absorb the water.
- When the ingredients have absorbed the water, reform the pile and add more water.
- Repeat the same process until the whole mixture is wet.
- When your mixture is ready, drag the shovel through the centre of the mixture to test it. If it is too dry, the sides of the mixture will crumble as you drag the shovel.
Your cement is ready when you get a smooth and consistent mixture without crumbles.
Method 2: Mixing cement using a cement mixer
If you have a cement mixer, things can be easier and quicker. However, using a cement or else concrete mixer isn’t just pouring all the ingredients in and pushing a bottom. You need to use the appropriate amount of cement according to the size of the mixer. If you use too much cement, it might overload the device, or if you use too little cement, the machine won’t work properly and mix the cement correctly.
- A wheelbarrow
NOTE: The concrete mix ratio depends on the size of the mixer.
Steps to follow:
- Place the mixer on level ground. It needs to be stable.
- Start the mixer running and locate the drum pointing towards the sky at a 45-degree angle.
- Next, while the drum rotates, add the half part sand and half gravel into the drum.
- Then, pour a small amount of water and let it mix into the sand and the gravel for a minute or two.
- After that, measure and pour all the required cement.
- Then, add some more water at a time. It’s important to let it mix in before you add more. Watch the cement mix until it reaches the right consistency. You need to be smooth and flowing. If the mortar mix is wet and runny or dry and crumbly, you can’t work with that.
- When the mixture reaches the proper consistency, move a wheelbarrow under the drum and tip it to empty the cement.
How to clean the wheelbarrow
Cleaning your wheelbarrow after use is an easy job. Most of the time, it only requires a little elbow grease and a bristle brush. Here are the steps to clean it properly:
- Prop your wheelbarrow up at a 45-degree angle to lower it.
- Next, dip your brush in clean water and start wetting all the areas of your barrow. Remember to wet the corners as well.
- Then, pour water into it and brush it once more. Repeat the same process until all cement residues have been removed.
- Once you finish with the interior, you need to clean it outside as well. It’s somehow the same procedure. Dip your brush into clean water and wet all the exterior parts.
- Then, scrub the wet areas to loosen and grime and build up. Don’t forget to clean the handles and around the wheels.
- Finally, once you are cleaning your barrow, you should clean the tools you have used. Submerge them in clean water, and using a stiff-bristle brush, scrub them until there’s no sign of cement.
1. How can you make a firm cement mixture?
The basic recipe to make cement mixture is 1 part cement, 3parts sand and 4 parts gravel. This will give you a cement mixture of medium strength. To make a stronger one add more cement and less sand. You need to bring an even one-to-one of sand and concrete to get the strongest cement mixture.
2. Can you make a cement mixture without sand?
Sand is the main aggregate to create concrete. But, it isn’t irreplaceable. You can replace it with crushed stone or even pieces of older concrete. The key is the ratio of the mixture. Depending on the aggregate material you will use, you need 60-75% stones, sand or others mixed with 10-15% cement and 15-20% water.
3. How can you clean the cement mixer?
To clean the mixer’s drum, put sand, gravel and water in and run the mixer for about 5 minutes. Afterwards, tip the mixture out and wash the drum pointed to the ground. Turn off the mixer and scrub the drum with a stiff-bristle brush.
Whether you have a mixer or not, you can make a cement mixture at home. The only thing it matters the most is to use the right ratio of the ingredients. Then, things are easy. Depending on your project, create the necessary amount and when you finish your home improvement project, remember to clean your tools from cement plus remove cement stains from your clothes.