How to Make Concrete
If you are considering starting a building project on the floor of your home or business, you may be thinking of ways to save yourself money and take control of the work at the same time. One way to do this is to use your own concrete, that you have made yourself. However, knowing where to begin when making concrete at home is not always easy.
Fortunately, this is where we can step in to offer our assistance. At CFS, we pride ourselves on our expertise on concrete floors, which has led to us becoming one of the leading firms in this industry. We know how to make good quality concrete and can show you how to do the same.
What You Will Need
In order to start mixing the ingredients to make your concrete, you will need something to mix them in. For small, home-based projects, this can often be something as small as a bucket, wheelbarrow or other container. However, if you are intending on turning your work into a larger project, you may wish to hire an industrial cement mixer.
If you intend to mix your concrete by hand, you will need a tool such as a rake, gardening hoe or a spade in order to mix it. You may also require a sledgehammer, if you plan on making the cement that is to go in the concrete as well.
Your Concrete Mix Ratio
Concrete is made up of three basic components. These are different types of aggregate (usually sand, gravel or rock are used), cement and water. The cement is usually in powder form when added to the process and acts as a binding agent. In order to make sure that your concrete sets correctly, you must use the correct amount of each.
The amount of water combined with the amount of cement determines how strong your concrete will be at the end. If too much water is used, the mixture will be too thin, which makes the finished concrete weaker. On the other hand, if you use too little water, the mixture will be too firm to mix and unusable.
When carrying out a task like mixing cement, it is important to wear protective gloves and goggles to protect your eyes and hands. If you intend to make the cement yourself, you will also need your goggles and a respirator when heating the limestone.
Measure Out the Ingredients
Measure out the ingredients that you are going to mix. The typical ratio for concrete that is to be used as footings is 1 part cement, 3 parts coarse aggregate and 3 parts sand, along with 1 bucket of water. A 5-gallon bucket should help you measure this out in the correct ratio.
If you intend to create high-strength or heavy-duty floors, these ratios change, with high-strength floors only requiring one bucket of sand and 2 buckets coarse aggregate, while heavy-duty floors will only require 2 parts sand instead of 3. If your project is larger than the given ratio, all you will need to do is increase the amounts of each ingredient used. For example, if your work requires 2 parts cement, you will have to use 6 parts aggregate and 6 parts sand, along with 2 buckets of water.
Mix the Ingredients
Pour your ingredients in your wheelbarrow or other container and slowly mix the water into the blend, combining them either electronically or by hand until the materials are stiff. Use more water if the concrete is still too dry or crumbles when disturbed.
After this, pour your concrete mixture into the mold where you intend to let it set and finish the concrete surface with a trowel or a straight board, in order to make it level. You should also wash your tools after the process is complete, as once the concrete is dry, it will be more difficult to remove.
Cure Your Concrete
A concrete slab needs 28 days to cure and must be wetted daily for the first week after it has been poured. This is because a floor will only reach its highest potential strength level after it has been cured and the water will allow the floor to finish curing correctly.
Add a Brush Finish
Another optional part of the process is to add a brush finish to your concrete. This involves taking an industry-standard brush with wire or softer bristles and pushing or pulling it across your concrete. This step must be done with an industry standard brush, however, as brushes normally used for sweeping usually result in a poorer broom finish.
It is important to know when the right time to apply your brushed finish will be, because if you attempt it on wet concrete, it will produce bleed water. This can weaken your new floor, or even pull pieces of loose aggregate to the surface.
If you are unsure of how to make your concrete smooth, or you wish to apply a brush finish and are unfamiliar with the process, get in touch with us or visit our post on brush finished concrete. We will be able to help talk you through any processes you need explained.
Contact the Professionals
The process of making a concrete slab can be laboured, sometimes complicated and can cost you time where you originally thought you might be saving it. Such a process can also become expensive, if the project does not work correctly the first time and you end up having to buy more ingredients or re-hire a cement mixer in order to start again.
To be sure that you are going to get the floor you want, without any hassles or unforeseen costs, we would always recommend contacting a professional service to lay your floor for you. This will save you time as you will not have to do the work yourself, ensures that the floor will be completed correctly and can help to save you money in the long term.
We Install Concrete Flooring
If you have been thinking about installing a concrete floor, look no further for help than Concrete Flooring Solutions. We have had decades of experience at laying a variety of concrete floors for customers across the country and we will be happy to save you time and money by installing yours as well. We can even make a concrete screed to make your floor as smooth as you want it to be, and our design services are always available if there is something specific that you would like done.
No matter what size your project is and no matter what you want to use it for, we will be able to provide. Contact us to place an order and start the project for your dream concrete floor today.