How to Mix Portland Cement

Updated February 21, 2017

Portland cement is one of the main ingredients in concrete and gets its name from the stone that resembles hardened concrete. Lime and silica are two of the main components of Portland cement, but there are others such as calcium and aluminium. When you mix Portland cement with other ingredients, you form a concrete mixture that you can pour into forms to make sidewalks, driveways or building foundations. When dry, you can remove the forms and the hardened concrete will last for many years.

Empty one bag of dry cement into a suitable container for mixing, such as a large wheelbarrow. One 42.6kg. bag of Portland cement will make approximately 4 1/2 cubic feet of concrete mix.

Add 72.6 to 81.6kg. concrete sand or general purpose sand to the container.

Add 240 to 300lb. ¾-inch gravel to the container. Mix all three dry ingredients together thoroughly with a hoe. Make a well in the top of the mix with the hoe to receive the water when it is poured in.

Slowly add approximately 6 gallons water to the container. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly until the mixture is smooth. Use the mix within one hour or it will start to harden.

Make smaller quantities of concrete by using one part Portland cement, two parts sand, and three parts gravel. Use only enough water to make the mixture the consistency of butter.


Transport the mix the area to be concreted in the wheelbarrow and pour it into the form. Smooth the mixture out with a trowel. Spray water on the surface of the concrete two to three times a day for three days to keep the concrete from curing too rapidly on the surface. If the poured thickness of the concrete work will be 2 inches or less, mix one part of Portland cement to three to four parts of concrete sand or general purpose sand.


Uncured Portland cement, or cement that has been cured but is crushed represents an environmental hazard. Keep uncured or crushed concrete away from aquatic habitats.

Things You'll Need

  • Portland cement, 42.6kg. bag
  • Concrete sand or general purpose sand, 160 to 180lb.
  • 3/4-inch gravel, 240 to 300lb.
  • Wheel barrow or equivalent
  • Hoe
  • Water
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