Mixing and pouring concrete
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Mixing and pouring concrete often sounds easier than it is.
There are different types of concrete, and some of them are ready and only need you to add water to it, but they also are more expensive than mixing your own concrete and therefore in some cases they are not a good choice, such as for example when needing to do large jobs. If you want to mix your own concrete for a very small project, you will probably be able to easily do it yourself, but in case of bigger projects you will have to count with a mixer.
Any basic concrete is composed by four main elements: sand or other fine aggregate, Portland cement, gravel or other coarse aggregate, and water. The fine and coarse aggregates should be approximately 2/3 or a little more of the final concrete volume. You need to make sure these ingredients are clean, since the existence of other elements mixed with them might cause you to end up with low quality concrete.
The amount of water you should add to the mixture depends on the use it will have. For example, if you need to build stepping stones or sidewalks, you should use approximately 5 or 5-3/4 gallons of water per sack of cement, while for foundations you should add 6 galloons of water per sack.
Before pouring the concrete, and in most cases, you should have a form built for it. You can use different techniques to set the form, such as for example using posts and stakes, you should consult a professional on which the best method is for your project. Also, after the forms are ready, and before pouring the concrete you should spray some water in that area. Then you should be ready to pour the concrete, and once that is done, you should tamp and compact it.
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