Ready-mix concrete is an easy-to-use, versatile product. Prepped and measured at a plant, it’s delivered in the exact quantity needed. There’s no need to deal with cement mixers or trying to judge proper consistency. This makes it ideal for DIYers who don’t have room for an entire concrete mixing set. Whether you’re building a retaining wall or pouring a new patio, there are still a few rules of thumb to follow. Here’s an outline of the steps you should take when working with ready-mix concrete.
A Guide to Using Ready-Mix Concrete
1. Do the Math
Cubic yards are the standard measurement for concrete. One yard is close to nine wheelbarrows worth of cement. Measure the depth, width, and length of the final project.
Use this handy online calculator to calculate ordering quantities. Increase this number by 5-10% for the final purchase. This allows for spillage, over-excavation, or other mistakes. Since fresh concrete doesn’t bond with dry, it’s important to complete tasks in one go. Having extra mixture is preferable to running out halfway through a project.
2. Prep the Area
Once the cement is mixed with water, it begins to set. This process can be delayed by motion, which is why cement trucks spin while traveling. After ready-mix concrete is delivered, place it in the molds as quickly as possible.
Build watertight forms of disposable materials, such as plywood. Before delivery, clean and level the area inside the forms. Add reinforcements, like steel mesh or rebar. These materials provide extra structure and reduce the chances of cracking or breaking. Use mesh for oddly shaped structures and rebar for square, regular shapes. Aim for a reinforcement grid with lines every 12 to 14 inches.
3. Clean Up Promptly
Dried concrete is hard to remove from tools and equipment. Have a tub of water nearby for trowels, gloves, and other items. Rinse tools before setting them aside. Once the job is done, scrub everything with a stiff-bristled brush. Throw large chunks of debris into the trash.
The diluted rinse water is safe to dump in a distant corner of the yard. If any spills dry before cleanup, pour vinegar over them. The acids eat away at the material’s structure. Leave the vinegar to soak for ten minutes, then use the brush to scrub. Repeat as needed until the spot is cleared away.
When you need to purchase ready-mix concrete for a home improvement project, contact Weeks Sand & Concrete in Cameron, NC. Their rigorous quality control ensures that you’ll receive top-of-the-line materials. Experienced in providing cement for residential, commercial, and industrial projects, they’ll create a customized mix perfect for your DIY construction. Call them today at (919) 499-4272 to discuss your project, or visit them online.
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