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May 11, Don’t Pour Your Own Concrete Slab Until You’ve Read This!

If you want to learn how to pour your own concrete slab I’ve written my helpful guide just for you. I’ve also made a video guide to teach you step by step.

Republished by Plato



This is my complete step by step guide that teaches you how to pour your own concrete slab.

Here are the steps:

  1. How to plan for the pour in advance
  2. How to calculate and order the concrete
  3. The tools you need to pour the slab
  4. What to do before the concrete truck arrives
  5. What to do when the concrete truck arrives
  6. Where to start pouring the concrete first
  7. How much concrete to pour out at one time
  8. What to do first after the concrete is poured out
  9. How to screed the concrete and get it level
  10. How to bull float the concrete to get a smooth surface
  11. Do you need to trowel the concrete?

If you want me to teach you how to form, pour, and finish your concrete slab, find out how HERE.

How to pour a concrete slabHow to pour your own concrete slab!

If you’ve never attempted pouring your own concrete slab before, I know it can seem a little intimidating.

Or, maybe you have tried pouring some concrete and it didn’t turn out quite like you wanted it to.

After reading through my step by step guide and watching my tutorial video, you will have all the information and knowledge you need to successfully install your concrete slab.

Step 1. How To Plan For The Pour In Advance

Before you actually pour the concrete slab there’s some things you need to think about and plan for in advance.

Here’s my advice and also what I do before pouring my slabs.

  • Pick a day when the weather is good. You don’t want to pour when there is any chance of rain in the forecast. Ideally, the temperatures want to be between 60 – 80 degrees and no wind.
  • Have plenty of help – depending on the size of your slab, you’ll want to have at least 2 other people helping you. 3 – 4 people is plenty of help for the average size garage slab.
  • Plan on starting to pour early in the morning. If you’re doing it on a Saturday I recommend starting at 7 or 8 am. You want to get in on the first round of concrete trucks if you can – trust me – you get fresh concrete and no waiting time.
  • Call in your concrete order to the Ready-Mix Company at least a week in advance. They’re very busy, if you wait until a day or two before you plan to pour, you probably won’t get it first thing in the morning or at maybe not at all. 

PRO TIP: If you order the concrete a week in advance and the weather changes during the week and now looks like there’s a chance of rain. Just call and cancel the order and RESCHEDULE! 

Don’t take a chance hoping it won’t rain. One 5 minute rain storm could ruin your concrete. Concrete cost way too much to take the risk it could be ruined by a short rain shower.

Step 2. How To Calculate And Order The Concrete

I have some simple formula’s I use to calculate concrete yardage for my concrete slabs.

I mostly use a concrete calculator – it really simplifies the process and makes it quick and easy for you.

But if you want to double check yourself using a formula, here’s one of the ones I use.

Length (in feet) x Width (in feet) x Depth (in feet)  / 27: This will give you your cubic yardage. (27 is how many cubic feet are in a cubic yard)

EXAMPLE: 20′ X 20′ X .33′ (4″ thick) / 27 = 4.89 cubic yards

20 x 20 = 400

400 x .33 = 132

132 / 27 = 4.88

For concrete slabs 5″ thick use .42′ for your depth

For concrete slabs 6″ thick use .50′ for your depth

If this was my slab and it figured 4.88 cubic yards and my sub-grade (gravel) was pretty level, I would order 5.5 cubic yards from the Ready-Mix company.

You don’t want to take a chance on running out of concrete. Trying to figure it too close to save a few bucks could end up costing you a lot more money.

Order at least 1/2 yard more than the slab figures – hopefully you got your sub-grade really level to make calculating the concrete really accurate.

If you run short and have to order a few more wheelbarrow’s of concrete, it will cost you a heck of a lot more than that 1/2 yard extra!

Step 2A. How To Call And Order The Concrete

Calling the ready-mix company is really easy. Just search for “concrete ready-mix near me” and the closest concrete delivery company’s will show up.

Start by calling the closest one to you and ask for the concrete dispatcher. Don’t forget to call at least a week in advance.

When you are talking to the dispatcher, this is what you say: “My name is (use your name), I’d like to pour a concrete slab on (the day you’re planning) and it figures (how many cubic yards). Do you have any (or a) trucks available for (7 am or 8 am).

If he/she says YES, then you can tell them you want a 3000 psi mix with 3/4″ stone.

If you live in an area that gets freeze/thaw conditions, ask for 3 – 5% air entrainment in the mix.

If you don’t have freeze/thaw (winter) conditions, you can use a no-air mix. 

If you already have wire mesh or rebar for reinforcement you’re good, if not, you can ask for fiber mesh in the concrete mix. This works similar to wire mesh for reinforcement.

It adds 6 – 8 dollars per yard to the cost. I personally use fiber mesh on most all of my slabs and floors whether they have wire or not.

Once all that information is given to the dispatcher, they’ll ask for your street address and you should be good to go.

Tell them you will call them the day before the pour and confirm (mainly due to the weather – if it looks like rain then reschedule)

If the dispatcher says NO, there’s a couple things you can do.

They may ask if you can go at 9 am or 10 am, if you’re good with that, then that’s up to you. I like to get the slab poured before the sun gets up too high. Just my preference. (if that’s the best available time, then take it)

1. Ask him/her when is the earliest you can get concrete there on that same day. If it’s 9 or 10am, then that’s going to be ok.

IF it’s noon time or later, I would pick another day. If you’re inexperienced, you don’t want to be pouring the slab (unless it’s really small) during the hottest part of the day with the sun beating down on you.

2. Call the next closest ready mix company and see if they have any availability on the day and time you want to schedule.

After you get your order on the books, ask them how they want you to pay for the concrete. They may want a check when the truck shows up, or you may be able to pay with a credit card over the phone.

That’s it, you now have your concrete ordered!

Step 3. The Tools You Need To Pour The Slab

These are the basic tools you’ll need to pour the concrete slab with links to Marshalltown (my supplier) and Amazon if you need them.

IMPORTANT: If you order any tools from Marshalltown, use my coupon code EAC. I have negotiated with them a special deal for you to get 10% off and free shipping.

You may also be able to rent most (or all) of these tools at your local tool rental shop.

  1. Screed or Straightedge (I like the 2″ x 12′ or 14′ ones)
  2. Bull Float (I like the 48×8 round edge one)
  3. Bull Float Handles (2) Get the ones that fit your bull float, either threaded or push button
  4. Kumalongs or Concrete Rakes
  5. Mag Float
  6. Laser Level and Grade Stick and Tripod
  7. Rubber Boots
  8. Gloves
  9. Chute Extension (Optional – only if you need extra reach)
  10. Wheel barrow (Optional – if you can’t reach with the chute extension)

Get my FREE PDF GUIDE that tells you everything you will need to form and pour your own concrete slab.

Step 4. What To Do Before The Concrete Truck Arrives On Site

Before the concrete truck arrives on site there’s a few things you want to do to be 100% ready:

  • Make sure your string line is tight (sometimes it loosens up overnight)
  • Make sure you have extra bracers (or kickers) and stakes for your forms – all ready to go in case your boards bow out. (watch my video to see why)
  • Set up your Laser and check the top of your forms again (it only takes a minute and ensures all the forms are level.
  • Get all your pouring tools out and ready to go.
  • Get your rubber boots on
  • Have a hose ready to wash off you tools when you’re done (if you don’t have access to a hose, the truck driver will let you use his when he is done washing down his truck)
  • Have a place where the truck driver can wash down his chutes. (He’ll need to rinse out just the concrete in his chutes – any leftover concrete in his truck, he can just bring back to the concrete plant and dump out. (unless you want it)

Step 5. What To Do When The Concrete Truck Arrives

How to pour a garage slabGet the chutes connected and mix the concrete to a workable slump

When the concrete truck arrives, you’ll want to motion to him/her to either drive in or back in. (depending on if it’s a front dump or rear dump truck)

When the truck is in place, the chutes go on (they usually have 2 or 3 to put on) and the driver starts to mix the concrete.


He or She will ask what “slump” you want. (how stiff or loose) you want the concrete mix.

I usually tell them I want between a 5 and 6 inch slump. This is a good workable mix that isn’t too loose (wet). If the slump is too loose it will weaken the mix.

As soon as the concrete is mixed, you ready to start pouring.

TIP: Have the driver run a little concrete down the chute and onto the ground, if it seems a little too stiff for you, ask him to add a little more water. (watch my video to see the slump we pour it at)

Step 6. Where To Start Pouring The Concrete First

How to pour a concrete slabStart pouring the concrete at the back of the slab

In most cases you’ll want to start pouring the concrete at the back of the slab and work you way towards the front.

If you can’t reach the back of the slab with the truck’s chutes, either use a chute extension, or wheel barrow as much of the concrete as you need to until the truck’s chutes will reach.

The truck’s chutes will usually reach about 20′ if you can get the truck right up to the front edge of the slab. From there you can pull the concrete with the kumalongs another 4 – 6 feet pretty easily.

So anything you need to reach that’s 28′ or more usually requires a chute extension or wheelbarrow to make it easier to place the concrete.

Step 7. How Much Concrete To Pour Out At One Time

Concrete slab foundationOn a slab like this, only pour out as much as you can handle. Maybe a 14′ x 14′ section to start

This is going to vary depending on your skill level and how large or small your slab is.

If you’ve never poured a slab before here’s what I recommend.

FIRST, I recommend you take my concrete slab course – it will show you and explain to you in detail how to pour the concrete slab.

It will also show you how to set the forms and prepare for the pour if you need that information also.

If it’s a small slab, say 10′ x 10′, pour out 90% of it, then mag your edges and screed it.

If it’s larger, say 24′ x 24′ or 30′ x 30′, just pour out a section a little larger than your screed, then make your wet pad and screed that section off, bull float it, and pour out another section.

If you have some experience pouring concrete or have done a slab or two, then you might feel more confident to pour out more before screeding it. 

Don’t let the concrete truck driver tell you that you have to pour it all out at once and he needs to wash down and get back. You should get about 7 minutes per yard to empty the load, after that they can charge you for extra wait time. 

Check on the concrete ticket when the driver shows up, it should say how much time you have to empty the truck.

Step 8. What To Do First, After The Concrete Is Poured Out

How to pour concretePour out at least one section as big as your screed. We like to pour out the whole truck.

Once you have a section poured out this is what you do:

  1. Mag float your edges – if you set the top of your forms to grade, mag the concrete smooth, even with the top of your forms.
  2. Use the laser level and grade stick to make your wet pad(s). This is what you’ll use to screed from in the middle of the slab.
  3. Make your screed pad by screeding a section of the concrete from your “wet pad” to the top of your forms. This is usually about a 2′ wide section.
How to pour a concrete slabMag the edges smooth and use the laser to make your wet pad.

Step 9. How To Screed The Concrete And Get It Level

diy concrete slab“Strike” your wet pad so you have something to go by when you screed the concrete

I have some videos I’ll link to below that will show you our technique on how to do this.

You’ll see how we “kick screed” the concrete level and also how we use a vibratory screed. Both ways work very good, choose the one you feel more comfortable with.

You can rent a vibratory screed, or buy one if you plan on pouring more concrete slabs. This is the one I recommend.

If you decide to purchase the Marshalltown Shockwave Screed, use coupon code EAC to get 10% off and free shipping.

If you choose to “kick screed”, you don’t have to kick the concrete like we do, you can just pull the screed 2 or 3 times towards you, stop, step back, and repeat this method.

Kicking and pulling the screed at the same time takes a little practice to get it right.

How to screed concreteScreed the concrete using your wet pad and the top of the form

Step 10. How To Bull Float The Concrete

Pouring a concrete slabTip the front edge UP when you push it out, LIFT up the back edge when you pull it back

In the videos you’ll see how we bull float the concrete after we screed it.

But basically, you set the bull float on the concrete where you first started screeding it.

Make sure the front edge of the bull float tips “up” a little bit (you don’t want it to dig in) and push the bull float over the surface of the concrete slowly until you reach the other end of the screeded concrete.

Then “tip up” the back edge of the bull float and pull it back towards you. If the surface looks smooth, you’re good, set over and bull float another section.

If the surface still looks a little rough (some aggregate is still showing) just repeat. Push and pull the bull float over it as many times as it takes to bring up the “cream or paste” and get the surface smooth.

This usually takes one or two passes to accomplish this.

Pour concrete slab foundationIt may take a couple passes to make the concrete smooth

Step 11. Do You Need To Trowel The Concrete?

How to pour a concrete slabBull Floated Smooth

After you’ve bull floated the concrete smooth, you can just leave the surface like that. It’s pretty smooth, maybe it has some lines from the bull float, but it’ll be easy enough to keep clean.


You could trowel the surface, either by hand or by using a power trowel.

Learn how to bull float and trowel concrete HERE.

I’ll have a video of each method below for you to take a look at. Both methods require some skill and there is a learning curve to each one.

One other method for getting the surface a little smoother than a bull float is to use a FRESNO. This tool is similar to a bull float but it’s more like a trowel and leaves the surface smoother after using it.

The Fresno would be used a short period of time after the bull float. Depends on the temperature and how fast the concrete is setting.

It might be 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour. Generally, it’s as soon as any surface water dries up but the concrete is still quite soft.

TIP: If you do purchase a Fresno from MarshallTown, use coupon code EAC to get an extra 10% off and free shipping. Also, pick one with rounded edges and one you can use the same bull float handles with.

You can watch us pour this concrete slab on YouTube HERE!

Don’t forget to “Like”, Share, and Subscribe to my Channel!

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Why Does Concrete Crack?

One of the biggest hesitations people have when it comes to choosing concrete for their projects is that it cracks over time. While this practical, durable material is one of the strongest goods on the market, the forces of time and nature will eventually cause it to crack–especially if it’s been installed by a non-reputable
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The post Why Does Concrete Crack? appeared first on Port Aggregates.

Republished by Plato



One of the biggest hesitations people have when it comes to choosing concrete for their projects is that it cracks over time.

While this practical, durable material is one of the strongest goods on the market, the forces of time and nature will eventually cause it to crack–especially if it’s been installed by a non-reputable company.

But why does concrete crack, and is there anything that will prevent this from happening?

These 5 mistakes are some of the most common causes of concrete cracks.

1. The concrete dried too fast

Faster is not always better. If your concrete mix doesn’t have enough water in it, it will dry too quickly and crack prematurely. Depending on the project, it should take at least a few weeks, maybe even a month, to dry completely.

2. Your contractor put too much water in the mix

Poorly mixed concrete can create a range of problems. Just like having too little water in the mix can cause it to crack, so can having too much water. Water must combine with the concrete at just the right pace so that it can cure and set properly. 

3. Control joints weren’t used

Your concrete must be able to properly expand and contract in different temperatures, otherwise it’ll crack. Control joints are made specifically to help your concrete move about without breaking. 

If your contractor doesn’t use these joints, there won’t be extra room for the slab to adjust its size with the changing temperatures, and it will end up cracking due to its internalized pressure.

4. It was too cold when your concrete was poured

Just like the amount of water affects concrete’s hydration process, so does cold weather. When the temperature drops too low, concrete won’t be able to cure correctly. In these situations, the pour will either need to be postponed, or the subsurface will need to be warmed before pouring. 

5. Your concrete is too thin

Concrete that’s too thin is extremely susceptible to cracking. The proper thickness of your concrete will vary based on its purpose. For example, a driveway that’s meant to support vehicles needs to be thicker than a sidewalk that is not.

Improper concrete thickness is one of the top reasons why DIY concrete projects fail. When taking on a massive project like this on your own, it’s easy to miscalculate the weight your concrete will be expected to bear and the subsequent thickness necessary. Unfortunately, this will result in severe premature cracking.

At Port Aggregates, our contractors have 40 years’ worth of experience built into their pours. Our beautiful concrete has been trusted for decades with good reason. When you hire our professionals, you can say goodbye to premature cracking and rest assured that your slab has been installed properly. Contact us today to request a quote!


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Jan 2, How To Form and Pour A Concrete Slab – The #1 Resource on The Web

Learn how to form and pour a concrete slab. My step by step guide will teach you everything you need to know from forming to pouring to finishing.

Republished by Plato



how to pour concrete
how to pour a concrete slab

The tools and materials you need to form and pour a concrete slab


  • Ready-mix concrete (yardage will depend on size of slab)
  • Wire mesh or Rebar reinforcement
  • Anchor bolts

If your concrete slab is smaller, you can use bags of concrete instead or ready-mix.

Find out how many bags of concrete it takes to make a yard. I did all the calculations for you.

On my Tools Page you can find all the tools required to form and pour concrete.

I also have a concrete yardage calculator that shows you how many yards you need and how many bags of concrete you’ll need.

tools used to form and pour a concrete slab

step by step: how to pour a concrete pad

These are the basic steps I use form and pour concrete slabs. 

I also have a step by step video course with multiple training videos that teaches you all you need to know about how to install your own concrete slab: My Concrete Slab Course

step 1. prepare the area for concrete

how to pour concrete slab prep

Under your concrete slab there should be a compacted base of gravel. You can also use road base, crushed rock, or sand, as long as it’s well compacted.

You’ll probably have to remove some of the existing soil like in the picture above. We removed about 12 inches of the existing sod & loam and replaced it with 8″ of 3/4″ crushed gravel.

This area had a slight slope, so we had to remove more soil on one side than the other to get a level pad.

After installing the gravel, we raked it level (using my laser level) and ran a vibratory compactor over it to settle it and pack it very hard.

NOTE: You may need a permit to install a slab. Contact your local building code officer to see what they require for building a slab. You may also have to keep it a certain distance away from your property line.

PRO TIP: If you have a lot of soil to remove, you can rent a skid steer to do it much easier or hire an excavation contractor to prep the area for you.

BE SAFE: Some states require you to call Dig Safe (811) to check for any underground wires or utilities before you start digging. It’s state law. It’s a free service so be safe.

step 2. building the forms for a concrete slab

Lay out your forms. It’s better to have forms that are a little longer than the size of your slab.

Set up your leveling device. I’m using a self-leveling laser. You can use a 4′ level or a transit level. All 3 will get the job done.

My slab size is 14′ x 10′.

Starting on one side, measure the length of your slab and mark it on the form. (my mark was at 14′ on this side)

Mark each side the same way. (my next side was 10′)

You’ll use these marks to screw the forms together in the next step.

how to pour concrete slab
how to form a concrete slab

step 3. screw the forms together and square the slab

Use your marks to screw the forms together.

Align the inside of the form with your pencil mark. 

You can use a drill driver and deck screws like we do or you can use a hammer and nails to fasten the forms together.

I personally like to use screws, there’s less movement to the forms because you’re not banging on them with a hammer.

Screws are also easier to take out when you go to remove the forms.

After the forms are fastened together it’s time to square the slab.

I measure diagonally each way and slide the forms a little one way or the other until I get the exact same measurement for both diagonal measurements.

It usually takes a few times going back and forth checking until you get it exact.

When you have the slab square, you’re ready to stake it in place.

step 4. stake the forms and set them to grade

Use wooden stakes (or metal pins like me) to secure the forms in place. 

I like to stake each corner, about 8 – 12 inches from the corner, on both sides.

After my 4 corners are staked, I hammer in a stake about every 4′ on all the sides.

To make sure the forms are straight, I use a string line on top of the forms to check them as I stake the forms in place.

After pounding in all the stakes, I use my laser level to set all the forms perfectly level.

The receiver on my grade stick has a solid sounding “beep” when the form is at the pre-determined height. (5″ above my dirt grade)

Screw the form to the stake when it’s at the level you want.

Repeat for all 4 corners, then do the rest of the stakes and your forms will be level.

step 5. add the reinforcement 

wire mesh for a concrete slab

It’s time to install the reinforcement, I’m using wire mesh for this slab. The best way to cut wire mesh is with a pair of bolt cutters.

I buy the flat sheets of mesh, they measure 5′ x 10′. Some local lumber companies stock the flat wire. If not, they usually have the rolls of mesh (5′ x 150′ get these at HD and Lowe’s also)

Another good reinforcement to use for concrete slabs is 3/8 (#3) rebar or 1/2″ (#4) rebar. Rebar comes in 10′ or 20′ lengths and you cut it to the length you need.

Install rebar in 2′ or 3′ grids and tie it together using zip ties or a wire twister tool and wire ties.

If you use rebar and have to cut it, you can rent a rebar cutter at HD or a local tool rental store. Or you can buy a good rebar cutter / bender on Amazon.

10 x 10 concrete slab

After the wire mesh goes in, you’re ready to pour the concrete. If you’re using ready-mix concrete, choose a nice, dry day and call your local concrete supplier to schedule the pour.

Most likely you’ll have to give them about a weeks notice so don’t wait till the last minute to call.

If you’re using bags of concrete, use my concrete yardage calculator to see how many bags you’ll need.

Learn how to mix concrete by hand here.

step 6. how to pour the concrete

how to pour concrete for a slab

When the concrete arrives, ask the mixer driver for for a 6 inch slump. Slump is how dry or wet the concrete is mixed. A 6 slump is a good workable mix to pour with.

Start pulling the concrete around and filling in the forms. Pull up the wire mesh or rebar into the concrete as you pour. (or you can put small pieces of brick under it to hold it up)

Pour out as much as you’re comfortable with (maybe about half on something like this if you’re a beginner) before you screed it level.

how to pour concrete

If you’re mixing bagged concrete for your slab, it’s the same process. Just slower.

Mix enough concrete until you have enough of the forms filled to screed the concrete.

I like to use ready mix myself. It’s just faster and more convenient for me since we do multiple pours like this in a day. Either way is good. Ready mix will be more expensive on a smaller slab vs bag mix.

See how many bags of concrete come on a pallet and what they cost.

how to pour concrete

Screed the concrete level using a magnesium screed board like us or a straight 2 x 4. Use short pulling strokes and tip the screed slightly on the back edge.

Put pressure down on the screed as you pull it to make sure it rides on top of the forms. Let your helpers push concrete (to fill low spots) and pull concrete back (if it’s high) as you screed.

The concrete rakes (kumalongs) we use make moving the concrete around a lot easier.

how to bull float concrete

After you screed the concrete, use a bull float to smooth the surface.

A bull float pushes down the aggregate on the surface and brings up some cement paste (creme).

Tip up the front edge and slowly push it from one side to the other. When you reach the opposite side, stop, tip up the back edge and slowly pull it back to you.

It might take multiple passes in the same spot to get it nice and smooth (usually 1 – 3 times).

After you’ve done the entire slab this way, you’re almost done with the pour.

step 7. installing anchor bolts in concrete (optional)

how to install anchor bolts in a slab

If you’re using anchor bolts, now is the time to put them in the concrete. Measure out where you want them and make a mark in the concrete.

Push the anchor bolt into the concrete to the desired level you want. I usually leave about 2 inches sticking up out of the concrete.

PRO TIP: Once you push it into the concrete a few inches, slightly jiggle it up and down to consolidate the concrete around the bolt as you set it to your finished level.

Now you’re done pouring the concrete.

Learn how to pour and finish concrete in my private training academy The Concrete Underground.

watch and i’ll show you how to pour a concrete slab

If you’re thinking of doing a broom finish, smooth trowel finish, or a textured finish on the concrete, I can show you how to finish the concrete HERE.

Another very important step is to “cure” the concrete. Click on CONCRETE SEALER to learn about this.

You can remove the forms the next day. 

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Jan 2, How To Mix Concrete – The Most In Depth Guide On The Internet

Learn how to mix concrete by hand using a wheelbarrow, concrete mixing machine, bucket or a tub. Detailed instructions and a video shows you how mix concrete.

Republished by Plato



diy how to mix concrete at home

I’ll teach you my method of how to mix concrete: to get the proper firmness, texture, and strength.

tools you need for mixing concrete

Warning: Always wear safety gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask when working with concrete.

Materials used for mixing concrete

  1. Concrete bag mix
  2. Water
  3. Portland cement – sand – gravel – optional if you’re mixing concrete from scratch.

Video: shows you how mix concrete by hand using quikrete

Owner Mike Day of Day’s Concrete Floors shows you how to properly mix concrete to repair a broken section of pool deck.

step by step: how to mix concrete

step 1. set up your mixing area

If you’re mixing multiple bags of concrete it’s a lot easier and faster if you have your mixing area organized.

If you’re only mixing one or two bags (like in the video) then all you need is your bag(s) of concrete, wheelbarrow, water, hoe.

On bigger projects it’s important to get all your bags in order and have plenty of water on hand. Having 2 people mixing and one spreading and smoothing the concrete makes the work go a lot faster.

How to mix concrete

step 2. measure the proper amount of water

I like to pre-measure the amount of water needed per bag and add it to the wheelbarrow first. 

I feel putting the water in first, then adding the dry concrete ingredients, makes the mixing process easier and faster.

how much mixing water to mix concrete

The water table below shows you how much water to use per bag. 

Depending on the bag size, there’s a range of water you can add for mixing.

For and 80 lb. bag of Quikrete, you can use 6 pints to 9 pints (3 – 4.5 quarts) of water to mix each bag.

I like to add the minimum amount to the wheelbarrow first, then add more water up to the maximum if I feel it needs it to get a good workable mixture.

If you use more water than the maximum amount recommended, then your concrete mix will not be as strong as advertised on the bag. 

mixing water for Quikrete

step 3. add the bag mix to your wheelbarrow (tub, bucket, or mixer)

how to mix Quikrete

Add about 1/2 to 2/3’s of the bag mix into the wheelbarrow. Mix that amount with the water until all the dry ingredients are saturated. 

Add the rest of the bag and keep mixing. Use this same technique if you’re mixing in a bucket or a tub.

If you’re mixing in an electric concrete mixer machine, then you can add the whole bag at one time.

how to mix bags of concreteMix half to two-thirds of the bag first then add the rest

step 4. mix the concrete to a workable consistency

Add the remainder of the bag and continue to mix the concrete. Move the hoe back and forth completely mixing the dry concrete mix with the water.

how to mix concrete by handToo dry – add more water and keep mixing

Add more water (up to the maximum amount) until you get your desired consistency.

Your concrete mix should look similar to the concrete below when it’s mixed properly.

It took me about 3 minutes to measure and add the water, then mix the 1 bag of concrete to this texture. 

Be careful not to get the mix too wet or it’s more likely to crack and won’t be as strong.

If you feel the concrete mix is too runny (wet) just add some more concrete mix from another bag until you feel it looks like the picture below.

PRO TIP: Always have an extra bag of concrete on hand just in case your project takes more concrete than you expected it to.

how to mix concrete in a wheelbarrowThis is what a good workable consistency looks like

step 5. place the mixed concrete where you need it

A good thing about mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow is you can wheel the concrete right where you need it.

Dump the concrete out of the wheelbarrow or shovel it out, like I’m doing on this job.

how to mix concrete

One way you can tell if you mixed the concrete properly is if you can move the concrete in place using a mag float and float it smooth going back and forth over it a few times.

how to mix concrete by hand

step 6. clean the concrete off your tools as soon as possible

Clean the wheelbarrow, hoe, and shovel with water as soon as you finish. The concrete mix will dry on them very quickly. 

PRO TIP: If the concrete mixture dries on your tools, use a margin trowel to scrape it off first, then rinse and scrub with water.

If you have a water hose and a stiff bristle brush nearby, rinse off the bulk of the concrete first, scrub the remaining cement paste, and rinse clean.

Do this in an area you don’t have to clean up the washed off concrete afterwards. Never wash off concrete onto your driveway or garage floor, it could permanently stain it.

how to mix concrete in a bucket

how to mix concrete with a drill

When I mix concrete in a  bucket, I like to have an over-sized bucket like this 18 gallon bucket in the picture. (best place to buy this is on Amazon)

I also like to use a mixing drill to mix my bags of concrete. A mixing drill like this one makes the mixing process very fast and is really the only way to mix concrete using a bucket.

The mixing process is the same as above: Add your water first, add 1/2 bag and mix, add remainder of bag and mix, add water up to the max. amount if needed. 

how to mix concrete in a mixer

If you’re using an electric concrete mixer machine it’ll speed up the mixing process because you can mix 2 – 3 bags of concrete at one time. (depending on the size of your mixer)

How to mix concrete in a mixer

The Mixing Process Goes Like This:

  1. Pre-measure your water and add it to the mixer first.
  2. Turn on the mixer before you add the first bag of concrete
  3. Add the first bag and let it mix for a minute (2 minutes if you’re only mixing one bag)
  4. Add the second bag and continue to mix for 2 – 3 minutes
  5. If the mix looks too dry add a little water as it’s mixing (only add water up to the max. amount)
how to mix concrete in an electric mixer

When the concrete looks mixed to the right consistency, dump it out of the mixer and into a wheelbarrow.

You can buy a really good portable electric concrete mixer machine on Amazon for $200 to $300 dollars.

what is the ratio for mixing concrete?

How do you mix your own concrete? 

If you’re using Portland cement, sand, and gravel to make your own concrete, you can use the 1-2-3 mixing ratio.

This concrete mixing ratio is done by mixing 1 shovel of cement with 2 shovels of sand and 3 shovels of gravel. (or some other accurate way to measure your ingredients)

Add the dry ingredients into a wheelbarrow or the electric mixer before you start adding water.

When you add more dry material to the mix, keep the 1:2:3 ratio of cement to sand to gravel the same for consistency and strength.

The amount of water you add to the mix will be based on how the mix feels while you’re mixing it. Use the wheelbarrow method above to judge how the final mix should look.

For more examples of proper concrete mix proportions check out my concrete mixing ratios for mixing concrete from cement, sand, gravel, and water. 

Learn how many bags of concrete it takes to make a cubic yard.

what’s the best type of concrete mix to use for:

1. Best concrete mix for a driveway is:

2. Best concrete mix for concrete countertops

3. Best concrete mix for fence posts

4. Best concrete mix for a patio

5. Best concrete mix for sidewalks

6. Best concrete mix for footings

7. Best concrete mix for slabs

Quikrete 5000 or Quikrete Crack Resistant Mix

Quikrete 5000 (add 2 cups cement)

Quikrete Regular or Fast Setting Mix

Quikrete Crack Resistant Mix

Quikrete Crack Resistant Mix

Quikrete Regular Mix

Quikrete 5000, Crack Resistant, or Regular

This list is my opinion only based off my experience using Quikrete Concrete mixes for my jobs.

Sometimes I’ll mix 1/2 a bag of Quikrete 5000 with one of the other bag mixes because it has a higher ratio of cement in it. This makes the overall mixture a little easier to finish.

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