You need a sizeable volume of concrete to lay foundations, even if the foundations are only for a shed. It’s easier to buy ready mixed concrete. However, it is usually more expensive. To mix your own, you need to repeat the same mixing process several times. Work fast so the concrete batches stay workable until you have laid the whole of the foundations.
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Things you need
- Sharp sand
- Concrete mixer
Use Buildit’s concrete volume calculator or a similar tool to work our how much concrete you need. See link in Resources. Enter the width, length and depth of your foundations, then click "Volume." This will produce a number in the “Cubic Meters” text field, representing the metric volume of concrete required. Click “Quantities” to learn how much cement, sharp sand and gravel you need to buy and how many litres of water, approximately, you will need to add in total. If your foundations are a non-regular shape, or thicker in some places than others, break down the area into different cuboid sections and enter the dimensions of each into the calculator. Then add these sub-totals together.
Hire a concrete mixer. Follow the guidance of The Concrete Society and obtain a bucket to measure out quantities for each load, rather than a shovel, which is less precise. You need to achieve a 1: 2: 4 mix with each batch. In other words, one part cement to two parts sharp sand to four parts gravel, by volume. You are likely to need several batches for a typical foundations project.
Switch on the concrete mixer. Half fill the bucket with water. Pour it into the bowl. Use a shovel to fill the bucket with the dry ingredients. Add four bucketfuls of gravel to the bowl, two bucketfuls of sand and one bucketful of cement. Add more water bit by bit to achieve a more workable mix, if necessary. Aim to achieve even colour and consistency. Mix for about two or three more minutes. Empty the mixer into a wheelbarrow and wheel it onto site. Repeat the process as many times as necessary.
Tips and warnings
- Wear gloves to protect hands.
- Wear ear defenders to protect ears.
- Wash off any concrete splashes on bare skin.
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