The overall successfulness of any project that uses concrete depends more on the research you do before that first pour than anything you can do after your concrete has entered the mold. Buying the right type of concrete for your project is an essential skill for any concrete home improvement project.
Buying concrete is not as simple as it sounds. There are four different types of concrete, each of which are used for specific types of projects. Some types are seldom used by the do it yourselfer, while others are formulated specifically with the weekend contractor in mind.
Dry Ready mix
This is the type of mix typically found in many home improvement stores. It comes in a bag and contains all the necessary components for concrete with the exception of the water. It clearly states home much concrete the dry ready mix will produce when water is added, making it easy to calculate how much you’ll need for a project. Some manufacturer’s offer several types for different types of projects.
To use all you need is the proper amount of water and a place and tools to mix the concrete. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, this type of concrete is nearly foolproof. However, you will pay much more for dry ready mix than other types of mix. For small jobs a dry ready mix can actually be more cost effective than other options, so don’t automatically rule this option out if economy is a priority. However, for large projects another option is almost always cheaper.
Ready mix is another product that is geared to the casual do it yourselfer, although it is more difficult to find than dry ready mix. This option comes with water added, ready to be immediately used. It comes in a small trailer that can be brought to your home, and the concrete should immediately be used. Sometimes that trailer contains a rotating drum that mixes the concrete as you go, other times the trailer contains just a large box with it in it.
There are several drawbacks to ready mix concrete. First, it can be both difficult to find as well as expensive. Second, you must have a car that can successfully haul the concrete, which can be very heavy. Third, you must schedule buying ready mix so it does not sit too long before use and you must limit travel time. All of these drawbacks can become significant problems, so be sure to carefully consider your project’s needs before buying ready mix.
Bulk dry materials
If you have a large project, buying your own bulk dry materials and mixing them yourself is often the most cost effective option. In addition to the economy bulk dry materials offer, you can also customize the mix to your specific strength and aesthetic needs.
Keep in mind if you choose this option that you will probably have to pay to have the bulk materials delivered. On a small project, the delivery charges may make this method impractical. You should also know something about mixing concrete and the exact materials you’ll need to do the job before beginning.
This is the method that most contractors use. A transit mix comes in a concrete truck, premixed and ready to work with. This has several advantages, including the ability to do one large pour at once and cost savings when compared to ready mix options. However, there are minimum orders and other charges that may make this beyond the budget of many homeowners. Also, you should have a project that is large enough to justify the need for a truck full of concrete, a stipulation that most home improvement projects don’t meet.
Rating: 4 out of 5