Fixing Your Concrete Driveway

How To Mix Concrete By Hand

by Gavin Jackson

If you are planning on completing a home concrete project, the first step after gathering your materials is to mix the concrete. While having a concrete mixer is certainly beneficial, it isn't always possible to get access to one. If you don't have a mixer, you will need to mix the concrete by hand before application. Here are some tips to accomplish that.

Mix the Dry Concrete

Before you add water to mix the concrete by hand, you need to prepare the dry mixture. Unless you purchased the dry mix already combined, you will need to do this as your first step. Follow the directions on the package to make a dry concrete mixture of gravel, sand, and cement. If you are doing a small concrete project, you might not need much more than a large bucket. For larger projects, use a wheelbarrow or trough to combine the mixture. To combine the dry ingredients, put on gloves and use your hands, or use a long and sturdy wooden stirring stick.

Add the Water

Once you have prepared the dry part of the concrete mix, it is time to add water. When you add water, remember to add just a small amount at a time. If you are using a dry mix that was already combined, it is called premixed concrete. The package will tell you exactly how much water is needed. Measure the water in a bucket, then add it to the dry mix. However, if you made your own dry mix with different aggregates, then you will slowly add a little water at a time, mix to combine, and see what the consistency is.

If you add too much water, your concrete will be weak. If you add too little, you won't be able to pour it. This is why it is important to mix after adding a little bit of water at a time until you have a workable consistency that isn't too watery.

Mix the Concrete

When you are mixing the concrete by hand, you will use a shovel or a hoe. Nothing else is strong enough to combine the ingredients. Concrete gets very thick when you start adding water to it, so this is going to be a laborious job. To check the consistency of your concrete mixture, fill a small paper cup with the concrete mixture and pour it back out into the bucket or wheelbarrow. If it pours out evenly without looking runny, you have the right consistency. Concrete dries fast, so make sure it is poured as soon as you are done mixing it.

For more information and advice, speak with experts like Van Doren Red-E-Mix.