Concrete is a material used in construction often that is made up of hard substances known as aggregate. Aggregates are usually rock residue, sand or gravel. These substances are bonded together by the right amount of cement mix and water. Concrete is used for creating the foundations of structures, columns, beams, floor slabs, among other things.
There are many different types of concrete available to use. Choosing the right type of concrete will depend on the strength and resilience you are seeking for, and the type of project the concrete will be used on. Concrete is characterized by it’s water-to-cement ratio and its cement-to-aggregate ratio. The lower the water and aggregate content possible, the stronger the concrete. Make sure to use concrete that is strong, has a high resistance for freezing and thawing if the structure is outside, and resistant to any other chemicals that it may come in contact with during everyday life.
Gathering all the right materials before starting to mix is essential because when everything is mixed, you will only have 30 minutes to an hour before the concrete begins to cure (dry). You will need things such as the cement, the aggregate of your choice (typically gravel or crushed stone), and sand. You will also want a bucket or wheelbarrow that will facilitate the mixing process as well as a shovel to mix with.
Making Your Own Concrete
The typical ratio to follow when making your own concrete is 3:2:1 (3 measurements of sand to 2 measurements of gravel to 1 measurement of cement). Place these ingredients in a bucket and mix them completely. Make sure these dry ingredients are completely mixed before adding the water to the mix.
Begin to add the water slowly, mixing everything thoroughly. This process needs to be done to perfection to ensure a strong and durable material at the end. If the mix is too wet, add some more dry mix; if the mix is too dry, add some more water. You will want to see a cookie-dough like consistency at the end.
Using Premix Concrete
If you are working with premix concrete, its as simple as adding the right amount of water to the mix and combining it to perfection. If the mix is too dry or too wet than the result will not have the strength and durability that is expected with well made concrete.