Looking to tackle a small, DIY concrete job on your property? If so, then you'll probably be working with ready-mix concrete. Specifically, ready-mix concrete refers to concrete that has been specifically portioned, batched, mixed, and packaged so that it's already mixed but not yet hardened. Many homeowners will purchase small bags of ready-mix concrete to tackle small jobs, such as filling in cracks or patching small areas of the sidewalk/walkway. Ready-mix concrete is also a popular choice because it's cost-effective, versatile, and saves time.
Looking to use ready-mix concrete for the first time? There are a few mistakes you'll want to avoid to ensure a successful finished product.
1. Lack of Preparation
When pouring any amount of concrete, preparing the worksite is key. The sub-base where the concrete will be poured needs to be thoroughly compacted and level, and any gravel that will be poured as a base should already be installed and spread. Otherwise, you'll run the risk of concrete settling and cracking over time.
2. Foregoing Reinforcement
Depending on the size of the concrete job, you may also need to install some reinforcement to ensure long-lasting strength and durability. This is especially true when you're pouring concrete that will have heavy traffic, such as that from moving vehicles or other equipment. Generally, steel is recommended to reinforce ready-mix concrete before it's poured. You can use steel mesh, which is relatively easy to work with, for smaller jobs (like patios and walkways). For driveways, however, steel bars may be the more durable option.
3. Failure to Follow Directions
In general, ready-mix concrete is easy to work with--but it does require a little preparation on your part. This usually means adding a small amount of water to the mix once it's been poured out into a wheelbarrow or similar workspace. In general, it's best to add a smaller amount of water to begin with; you can always add more if needed, but if you add too much from the beginning, you could ruin the entire batch.
4. Pouring in Inclement Weather
Last but not least, be sure to follow the recommendations on the bag for proper pouring conditions. For example, the best temperature range for pouring concrete is between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll also need to avoid pouring in the rain, as moisture may prevent the concrete from properly setting and lead to cracking or other issues down the road.
A little precaution goes a long way when it comes to working with ready-mix concrete. Keep these tips in mind and you'll be ready to tackle your project with confidence. Speak to a company such as Puente Ready Mix to learn more.