Concrete has a wide range of different uses. It’s used in commercial building projects and construction to make foundations and building structures. However, it can also be used for DIY projects, and concrete is a fantastic material for building things like driveways, garden walls, and even flooring.
If you have a DIY project that requires the use of concrete, don’t be tempted to jump straight in without proper planning and preparation. Concrete can be a difficult material to work with, there are a few things you need to know before you use it. Read on to find out more.
How Does Concrete Work?
Concrete is the name given to a hardened mixture of sand, gravel, and a binding agent called cement. It is an incredibly hard and durable material, and it doesn’t rot or degrade like wood or metal can.
Concrete comes in two different forms, wet and dry mixes. For DIY projects, you will most likely be using dry mixes. This is concrete that comes in its dry form and needs water to activate. Wet mix concrete is usually only used in commercial projects, it is stored in a cement mixer to prevent it from hardening during transport and storage.
If you’ve picked up a bag of dry mix concrete from any building merchants, it’s important that you understand how to properly mix the concrete before you use it.
Not using enough water means the concrete won’t properly activate, and it could be structurally unsound, while too much water can cause cracks and damage to appear.
The key to the perfect concrete mix is to add water slowly. You can always add more water if there isn’t enough, but it’s extremely difficult to get water out once you’ve added it. Mix your concrete in a large tub or container. A wheelbarrow is perfect, and gradually add water and work it into the concrete using a wooden or metal tool.
If the concrete still looks dry and crumbly, you need to add more water. However, it should never be soupy and runny. The perfect concrete mix should be a porridge or oatmeal-like consistency.
Concrete is an extremely common material that we come into contact with every day. However, it can be dangerous. Wet concrete, in particular, has the potential to cause serious damage.
If, while mixing your concrete, some gets onto your skin, this could cause a reaction that can result in anything from slight redness to extremely serious burns. This means that you must always wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt and heavy gloves, when mixing concrete.
Remember eye protection too. The last thing you want is for the wet concrete mix to get in your eye, which can happen easily as you mix it vigorously. A set of goggles is essential and will keep your eyes protected.
If you’re planning to use concrete for your next DIY project, use the advice in this guide to ensure you are mixing your concrete correctly and staying safe while you do so.
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