While there are many ready made brands of cement that comes in handy packets ranging in size depending on the particular project that is at hand, sometimes mixing your own is essential and while there is nothing particularly hard about mixing cement, it can take a little practise to get the right consistency.
Cement is used for a wide range of purposes and sometimes this will affect the cement mix slightly and changes will need to be made to the mix in order to get the right consistency for the project at hand. The basic requirements for mixing cement are cement compound, sand, crushed rock and water; it is just the amounts that can vary, but a simple recipe for cement is listed below.
Quick Recipe for a Basic Cement Mix
You will need to buy enough pure cement compound, sand and aggregate to complete the task at hand and bear in mind that cement will start to cure after around 2 hours maximum, after which is should be thrown away and a fresh batch mixed instead of adding more water to make it workable again.
The very basic mix for most jobs is to combine:
- 1 part pure cement
- 1 part sand
- 1 part aggregate
- 24 parts of water.
While this is suitable for most jobs there will be instructions on the cement packet for other jobs, which of course should be followed to the letter.
The easiest way to actually mix the cement into something which is usable is to get a large board and place it on concrete slabs, this will make cleaning easier than if you try to mix it on a grassy area.
One word of warning mixing cement by hand is very strenuous and can be back breaking work particularly if you have a large amount of cement to mix for a very big project. If the project is extensive then hiring a cement mixer would be in your best interest to not only save you a great deal of time but also back and arm pain.
Mixing the Ingredients for Basic Cement
As any cement mix contains lime it is essential that you wear protective clothing and gloves to stop irritation on the skin. The easiest way to mix the ingredients is to tip them onto the board, except for the water, and then mix the cement compound, aggregate and sand together as specified either on the packet or as listed above for the easy cement mix.
Work the ingredients together ensuring that they are mixed thoroughly before even beginning to add the water into the mix.
A small shovel will be needed before adding the water so that it can be mixed in, make a round hole in the middle of the mixture so that you can pour in the water without it just running all over and making things extremely messy.
It can help to have a helping hand at this stage to pour in the water as you begin mixing but it is possible to do it on your own without help. As the water hits the cement you are going to want to turn the outer cement pile into the water slowly with the object of stirring in all the water without losing any, this is the tricky part.
If you do not get enough water in quick enough the cement will harden and pouring too much in will leave you with a runny mess which is uncontrollable.
You should mix the cement by continually turning it over until you get a good consistency, only experience will allow you to determine the correct consistency by feel for concrete so for now it is essential that you stick with the recipe, as this will ensure you have the right mix.