You can save time and money by tackling your own home improvement projects with ready mix concrete. The dry concrete, which is a mix of cement and other course aggregates, is available in 60- or 80-pound bags at most do-it-yourself retailers. All you'll need to do is mix the cement with water to create concrete that's ready to be used in a variety of applications.
The key is using the perfect amount of water in the mix, however, because not enough can make the concrete too thick, while too much will weaken the product. Once the ready mix concrete is the right consistency, you can use it on projects such as sidewalks, curbs and front steps.
When you're ready to start your project:
1. Put on personal protection gear, such as safety goggles to keep concrete dust out of your eyes, and rubber gloves to avoid direct contact with chemicals. Wear old clothing as the concrete will be difficult to remove from fabric.
2. Open the bag of ready mix concrete and pour it into a large plastic mixing tub or bucket. You can conveniently mix the concrete directly in a wheelbarrow if you need to haul the mixture from place to place.
3.Add water to the concrete mix using either a garden hose or a bucket. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the correct amount of water to use. For instance, an 80-pound bag of cement mix will require approximately 3 quarts of water.
If you're not sure how much to use, it's best to add less than you think you'll need as you can add more while mixing. If you're working with a large amount of dry cement, add the water a little at a time to ensure it is evenly saturated.
4. Mix the concrete and water to create the perfect, easy-to-use consistency using a hoe or a flat shovel. Test the concrete by picking up a small amount and squeezing it - it's ready to use if it holds its shape between your fingers.
5. After using the concrete, it's important to rinse the bucket, wheelbarrow, tools and any other items you used to remove all of the concrete mixture off of them. It will be very difficult to get the concrete off of the items if you allow the product to completely dry. Avoid rinsing the tools directly over your grass, as the concrete mixture can pollute groundwater.
To learn more about ready mis concrete, contact a company like Van Doren Red-E-Mix.