How to mix concrete basics

How to mix concrete basics

Are you new to concrete work and looking for some tips on how to mix it? Or maybe you’re planning a concrete project and want to get more informed about the process?

Both are good reasons and while mixing concrete is simple, there are few things that are good to know while mixing it. Getting the concrete mix ratio wrong will lead to bad workability or bad density which might make it weaker than it should be so it’s good to know the basics.

Proper mixture for concrete

If you’re considering getting into concrete business; than you surely must know how to properly mix ready mix concrete. If not, this article here is for you.

The three most used types of cement mixes are concrete mix, mortar mix, and sand mix. They all have their specific uses, but generally, all are made of various grain sand and gravel, and cement.

How to mix small amounts of concrete

There are many other mixes of the same stuff that you will probably use as you advance at the business, including thinset, grout, sheetrock, etc. These methods can be applied in most situations you may run into.

I’m assuming that you have already established which type of medium you will be using. I generally start by adding a bit of water to a bucket. Any three to the five-gallon bucket will usually do. I make up ready mix concrete as per bucket, for easier transport.

Add about some of the water needed (usually reads at the ready-mix bag, around half will do) to the bottom of the bucket to ensure that the dry mix doesn’t all just cake up at the bottom. Begin to pour in your dry mix slowly into your bucket of water until it is about halfway full. Now add a little bit more water to the top of the dry mix.

Mix it and then measure the rest of the water there, can leave it a little bit short as water need varies from bag to bag so it won’t be too wet. Then empty the rest of the concrete ready mix bag in there and mix it to finish.

This way the concrete won’t become too heavy to mix if you don’t have the best electric mixers available. It saves wrists and back and nerves. The concrete needs to stand around 3 minutes after mixing, it will seem thicker after that. Don’t put in more water, just mix it again and it will be workable.

How to mix concrete in a bucket by hand

First I want to make clear, this is not the way to mix large amounts. But if you have a small need, like a few trowels, you can do it by hand as well. It just takes some wrist power.

When mixing by hand, a flat-headed shovel would be good, or a margin trowel, depending on the amount of medium you are mixing. Start to mix up the medium until it consumes most of the water at the top and bottom of the bucket.

At this point, you should add water as needed until the mixture begins to maintain the consistency of what you are looking for. If you are only mixing up a small amount, I always prefer using a margin trowel and quickly whipping it against the side of a tilted bucket. Using this method is often best when mixing up grouts, in order to keep the color clean.

If you want to make it easier for yourself, get a mortar mixer that is a two hand mixer or a mixing paddle for a strong drill. That’s the in between option between hand and standing mixer.

How to mix concrete in a mixer

Mixing concrete in a mixer is the easy way to mix concrete as the machine will do the work. Measure the amount of water needed for the bags you’re going to mix and put half of that in the mixer. Then you just turn the mixer on and add concrete in there and water as well when you’re near the amount you’re mixing.

Usually, the mixer will be rolling for a few minutes, more water is added if needed and once the mix is workable, it’s ready to be poured out. To get a strong concrete mix ratio, stay true to the manufacturer information.

How to dispose of concrete mix properly

How to dispose of concrete mix properly

It’s good to know how to dispose of the concrete mix if you make a little too much. Depending on the amount, some might just wash it off to the ground if there are few trowels left. Then again, if you have half a bucket in your hands it might be a little bit messy. Or if it’s a daily habit like most of the time it is in constructions.

A good way to get rid of it is to set a hardening spot for it somewhere where you can leave it to harden. After it’s solid as a rock, you can put it in a concrete recycling bin for example. If it’s at home and you have lots of leftovers every day, consider if you can make something like pavers out of it.


Mixing concrete by hand is always an annoying chore of necessity to most people working with it. Fortunately, though, it’s not as complicated as you may have thought. Actually most of the time it’s an entry-level job and all the new workers get to enjoy it a lot.

The easiest way to go with it is to stay true to the bag measurements as they take into consideration the amount of cement the bag has. Water and cement will form the adhering paste which holds everything together and it will make the concrete strong.

Entry-level jobs being mentioned, there is a danger that you will get to make lots of concrete, mortar, and other cement products when you’re a beginner. It will mean days of standing and mixing this stuff.

Usually in these kinds of situations there is a standing concrete mixer and you just need to add water and concrete in it. Either from the bags or by shoveling.

If you get to use ready mix bags, it’s easy to just measure the water in it and throw the concrete in slowly. If you have to mix it with a shovel, you have to train your eye to the proper density of the concrete or mortar.

Good thing is, you fellow workers will instruct you, but if you want easier time, it’s good to learn it fast. Some fellow workers are nicer than others.

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