Mixing Concrete

Mixing without first giving it some thought will likely make the job harder and can, in some cases, ruin the finished product. I want to differentiate between concrete and cement based products. For our purposes I define concrete as anything that has rocks it in. When mixing concrete you will need a few tools.

Mixers, Mortar Pans or Wheelbarrows?
First you need a container to mix in. A wheelbarrow works well. If you don’t have one, buy an inexpensive plastic mortar pan. If the job is large enough you should seriously consider renting a mixer. If you have a pickup with a hitch you can rent a large one. If not rent a small electric one. You can put it in the back of truck, minivan or car trunk if you don’t mind leaving the lid open. The mixer can really make life easier. If you mix in a wheelbarrow of mortar pan the best tool is a hoe; one with holes. This gives better mixing and less resistance. A shovel will work in a pinch.

Use a Drill and Mixing Paddle
If the product doesn’t have rocks in it then I highly recommend you use a ½ inch drill with a paddle (about 18-24 inches long). The paddles are inexpensive and can be found in any hardware store that sells paint. Using a 5 gallon bucket add about ¾ of the required water to the bucket. Then add the material slowly while the paddle is turning. Add the remainder of the water as needed. This works better if you have two people. Also hold onto the bucket tightly or the handle with whip around and smack your shins (I speak from experience). It is likely that you will sling some material so always wear pants, shoes, gloves and goggles.

Add the Right Amount of Water
No discussion on mixing is complete without strongly urging you to read the directions. Especially the amount of water to use. An invaluable tool for measuring water is a gallon milk jug. This allows you to really control what is going in. Many people use a garden hose and add water until it looks right. This will lead to big problems. The strength of the product and the finish depend entirely on how much water you add.



  • Lee-Technical Service

    David, that would require a custom mix. We would not have a recommendation on the type of mix that you would need for that application. You could try to look online for a custom formula.
  • David

    I have a crushed lava stone walk in my garden. I would like to mix lava stone with a concrete product and pour it into a frame to make it more permanent. What product do you recommend. Any idea on proportions?
  • Lee-Technical Service

    MikeC, it really depends on what you are going to use the slab for. A typical slab is around 4" thick and it never hurts to add the mesh. If you are planning on putting a major load on this slab like a hot tub or driveway extension for vehicle traffic, then you will want to go 6" or thicker. It really would just depend on the use and the load that is going to put on the slab.
  • MikeC

    For an approx. 6' x 4' slab, using the High Strength mix, would you recommend 3" or 4" depth? Also, would you recommend using mesh?
  • Lee-Technical Service

    Johne, our High Strength Concrete Mix weighs approximately 146 lbs per cubic foot. The only material that we have that is lighter is the Maximizer Concrete Mix which is around 100 lbs per cubic foot.
  • Johne

    Is this product similar in weight per cu ft as using foam in a concrete mix.
  • Lee-Technical Service

    Katheryn, if those are 80 lb bags of concrete, then you are looking at around 1 gallon of water per bag.
  • katheryn

    New home neighbors used my house water faucet for the water for their fence posts which are 8 feet above ground. This is someone I have never seen or met. This happened while I was at work and saw the hose attached to my house when I got home. I counted 18 bags of your product lying next to the hose. I am curious to know about how much water I donated to their project. What would be a normal amount of water to add to the dry mix?
  • Lee-Technical Service

    Dan, the pour needs to be continuous. It can be broken up into sections. The Sakrete Expansion joints are 1/2" thick and can be used between your pours. IF you break the slab into sections and use the expansion joints material you will not need to groove the surface.
  • Dan

    I intend to pour a 12 x 16 slab floor for a heated building and have a few questions: 1) can I pour it in sections, say 4 sections 8 x 6? 2) What kind of joint would I need to make between the edges of the 4 sections? 3) Is it better just to pour it all at once? 4) Would I need to strike dividing grooves in the slab? 5) If so, what would the dimensions of the grooved sections need to be?
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