Homevalue’s DIY Guide: How To Mix Cement & Other Key Facts
We often get this questions from people doing DIY home renovations.So we thought we would put some of the key points into one of our blogs.
Step 1 - Should I Mix Cement By Hand or Invest In A Cement Mixer?
Deciding whether you want to use a cement mixer or you want to be brave and do it by hand is an easy choice. We would recommend using a mixer, either electrical or petrol powered. If you are just doing a once off project then a shovel and elbow grease will do the job will work just fine, there are also lots of places in Kilkenny where you can rent a good quality mixer if needed. For those that want to purchase one, head on down to your Treacy's Homevalue Hardware and order one today.
Step 2 - Stay Safe
Make sure to get yourself a pair of goggles and a repertory mask. There will be dust and wet cement flying everywhere and you do not want these materials anywhere near your lungs or eyes. We would also highly recommend a good pair of builder’s gloves to ensure you do not get stuck to your cement mixer!
Homevalue DIY - Top Tip - Use Protective Wear When Mixing Cement, Builder Gloves Can Ensure You Don’t End Up Stuck To Your Mixer
Step 3 – Get Your Concrete Mix Ration, Just Right
The ideal concrete mix ratio is one part cement to two parts sand and three parts gravel/aggregate. So for example if you use a 25kg bag of cement you will need 50kg of sand, 75kg of gravel/aggregate and a heavy duty builder’s wheelbarrow! For the most part, where people go wrong is when it comes to adding water. A general rule of thumb is the amount of water you use should weigh the same as the amount of cement you would use. So in the above scenario to get the correct ration, you would need to use 25kg of water. The less water you use the harder your concrete is.
The perfect concrete mix ration is almost an art form, most experienced builders know when the consistency is right. We would recommend if you are a DIY enthusiast trying it out for the first time to do some research first.
Homevalue DIY - Top Tip - Check out this handy Irish Cement calculator and technical guide here. A useful guide for any concrete project
Step 4 – Keep Your Tools Safe
Mixing cement can be a messy business. Make sure to scrub your tools and wheelbarrow straight away with a heavy duty brush with stiff-bristles.
Some Key Points To Keep in Mind
Cement and Concrete – What’s The Difference
The prime difference between concrete and cement is that cement, simply put, is just a part of concrete. Oher parts are water, sand, oxygen or anything else that was lying around that was accidentally shovelled into the concrete mixer. Essentially concrete is the stone-like structure that is left after cement and other materials have been mixed together.
Homevalue DIY - Top Tip - Concrete is the stone-like structure that is left after cement and other materials have been mixed together.
What Is Portland Cement?
We are often asked, what Portland cement is and how it is different to normal cement. Normally our response is “Portland cement is normal cement”. We say this because Portland cement is the most common cement in the world and this is particularly true in Ireland. The reason that Portland cement is so common in Ireland is that the key ingredient is limestone and as we all know Kilkenny, and almost all of Ireland, is practically made out of limestone.
Ireland’s major manufacturers of cement are Irish Cement located in County Louth and O'Brien Cement located in Kilkenny and here at Treacy's Homevalue we sell both by the truck load on a daily basis.
You will also find that most white cement is Portland cement. White cement is predominantly used for decorative purposes, we sell quite a bit of it to landscapers. The most commonly sold white cement in our stores is Lagan White Cement which is also a Portland cement.