Today cement mixers can be found in many different settings, from construction to personal use and everything in between. Cement is a crucial building block of almost all construction projects these days. With its long 12 000-year history, the benefits of cement have become so varied that it would take an article much longer than this to list all its applications.
It used to be the case that cement mixers were expensive pieces of equipment that only construction companies could afford. However, today we see the rise of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) trend. At BS Power, working with cement can be a DIY project too, and we want to supply you with the tools to do just that with our top-quality and affordable cement mixers. To show you just how effective owning a mixer can be, let’s have a look at three different DIY cement projects, what you will need to complete them, and how to get started.
Build A Swimming Pool
With a concrete/cement pool, you can make it as large or small as you want and design it to meet your requirements and your backyard. Now, a pool is a big project; could you do it yourself? With one of our cement mixers and following the steps below, this project can be done without a whole building team in your backyard. Even though you can do it yourself, it is always advisable to discuss the plans for the pool with someone with experience for advice and to make clear the things listed in these instructions.
What You Will Need:
- Pool plans – filed with the necessary authorities or municipality.
- Wooden stakes and fish gut string to measure out the pool.
- A backhoe, spade, and pickaxe to remove earth within the perimeter.
- A compactor, either manual or electrical. With larger pools, it is suggested that you utilise an industry-standard electrical compactor, which can be rented from a tool hire merchant near you.
- Steel wire for a steel mesh; you may also consider rebar for more stability.
- Plumbing and drainage linesPump and filter system
- A cement mixer
- Tiles, glass, ceramics, or an epoxy-cement system
- Coping materials (Material that goes around the pool edge, either tiles, stone or concrete)
How To Do It:
Step 1: Selecting The Location And Design
The design will generally be dictated by location; you should choose the size and shape based on the land you must build it in; the pool plans should include shape, depth, and filtration systems.
Step 2: Excavation
Use the wooden stakes and fish gut string to lay out the pool’s perimeter. After utilising the excavation tools listed above, you will start with the digging process, making sure to dig to an accurate depth as listed in your pool plans. Make sure that the pool floor is at a uniform depth across the entire area.
Step 3: The Pool Base
This is one of the most critical steps. Utilising the compactor, you must compact the earth at the pool’s base as uniformly and firmly as possible. At the same time, you must work into the ground a slight gradient (A deep and a shallow end) which will help with drainage. Finally, the floor must be level so that the later construction has a stable base, leading to a longer life for your pool.
Step 4: Steel Mesh
The next step is to reinforce the walls and base of the pool. This is done by creating a steel mesh around the entire interior area of the pool, including walls and floor.
Step 5: Plumbing
Step five is to place the intake and drainage lines, attaching them to the filtration system that sits outside the designated pool area. The plumbing lines are generally put underneath the steel mesh discussed above in order to protect the pipes.
Step 6: Concreting The Pool
Next comes the cement! Now that all the preparation is done and the base is laid, it is time to use your mixer. Following the instructions on the back of your cement bags, you will mix cement in loads, which will then be packed on top of the steel mesh. Between loads, you will start to shape and smooth the walls and floor, as dictated by the shape dug out in step 2. It is also essential to make sure that the thickness of the walls and the bottom is uniform. The thickness of the wall will generally dictate the durability of the pool.
Step 7: Waterproofing The Pool
Once the cement has dried, you will waterproof the pool walls and floor. Again, this will be dictated by the material you chose above: tiles, ceramic, or an epoxy solution. The material should be selected according to environmental circumstances, including; humidity, moisture, and rainfall. These materials must be laid on top of the cement to protect the cement base from moisture.
Step 8: Coping
The final step is to apply the coping or edging around the pool’s edge, above the water line, if the pool is filled. Again, the material used will be as chosen above. Coping is essential to protect and prolong the life of the pool. It is necessary to wait two or three days after the coping is completed to fill the pool finally.
Outdoor Furniture – Garden Bench
The garden is a beautiful place to make use of your cement mixture. Why? Because in the garden, there is always space to spice things up with outdoor furniture. It fills the garden and encourages you or your guests to enjoy the area outside your home. The joy of making the furniture yourself is that you can decide on its size, shape, and design. Concrete is a flexible material and is there to meet your most creative designs. In this next section, we will make a concrete garden bench, one of the most popular furniture pieces.
What You Will Need:
- Some sort of water-resistant plywood. We recommend shuttering plywood if you’re looking to use the wood again; if not, melamine board is a cheap alternative.
- Keep the offcuts as scrap wood which will also be used in this project.
- Silicon sealant
- Masking tape
- Wire mesh
- A caulking gun – a material used to seal joints between similar sorts of material.
- Orbital sander
- Mixing bucket
- Shovel and hammer
How To Do It:
Step 1: Moulding
Here, you can let your creativity go wild; making the mould dictates the design and size of the bench you will make. After coming up with a plan of how you want the mould to look, you can cut the plywood to meet your specifications. For a more accurate cutting of your design, there is no harm in taking the wood to your local hardware store. A more precise cut will make screwing the mould together much simpler. Make sure your mould is well joined together, as it will have to withstand the weight of the concrete later.
Step 2: Sealing the Joints
After your mould is tightly screwed together, it is time to seal the joints using either a silicone sealant or the caulking gun. This is an important step, making the entire mould water-resistant. This is important as once the concrete is thrown, it is essential to stay dry within the mould.
Step 3: Adding The Mesh
You do not necessarily want to use chicken wire here. Instead, choose steel for your mesh that is flexible enough to fit your mould but strong enough to support the cement structure afterwards. The mesh should be placed around the mould so that it sits further to the centre. Use the offcuts of the plywood used in step 1 to help space out the mesh correctly. Then, using rope, attach the mesh to the mould so that it will come out quickly when it is taken off but will hold it firmly, throwing the concrete.
Step 4: Cement It
Before throwing cement, make sure that you have placed the mould on a stable and even surface. Then, you can mix the concrete with your new cement mixer from BS Power. Remember, it is better to make batches of cement when mixing rather than making one big load. This is because once you start adding the concrete to the mould, you must do it in layers, pressing the cement into every nook and cranny of the mould and compressing it as much as possible to get rid of any air bubbles that would weaken the structure later. Once the mould is filled, you will use the last few pieces of plywood to seal it completely, blocking it from moisture. After closing the mould, you will leave it for five days to dry and set.
Step 5: Remove The Mould
This is the easy part, carefully remove the mould making sure not to crack the cement. You now have your very own garden bench and a lovely concrete fixture for your garden.
Build Cement Planters
The last two DIY projects have been large-scale. These take time and money to complete. A cement mixer was evident in both cases, as large amounts of concrete were needed. However, if you’re only ever going to use your mixer for large projects that happen few and far between, you may question the need for one. But here at BS Power, we encourage using our mixers for any project, large or small. In this last venture, we will learn to make cement flower pots, also called cement planters!
What You Will Need:
- Concrete mixer
- Cardboard or plastic containers, like milk cartons, yoghurt containers or old food containers.
- Plastic cups
- Small weights – like rocks, pebbles, or small fish sinkers
- Petroleum jelly
How To Do It:
Step 1: Mix The Cement
Although the finished project may seem small and a mixer sounds like overkill, if you truly have a green thumb, you won’t need just one flowerpot but many, so why not make them all at once? Mixing one bag of cement (25kg), as shown on the bag, will allow you to make a decent number of planters, depending on your chosen size.
Step 2: Mould And Fill
Now it’s time to make the mould. With the containers you’ve collected, you want to cut the tops off, making it easy to pour the cement into. Although the above-mentioned containers seem small, you can always use larger plastic containers like ice cream tubs to plant larger plants. With the cement already mixed, you will fill the containers halfway.
Step 3: Set A Placeholder
Now that the cement is in the mould, you will need to form the cement around something so that once the planter is done, you will have a hollow centre into which you can plant. Using the plastic cups mentioned above, you will push them into the centre of the container. Make sure to use some lubricant agent like petroleum jelly to make it easier to remove later. It is important to remember that the placeholder’s size will dictate the thickness of the planter’s walls. Fill the placeholder with small weights to keep it in place.
Step 4: Let It Dry
Everything is now set, and all you need to do now is wait. If your mould does not already have a lid, cover the top with glad wrap and puncture holes to allow for airflow. Because of the size, you only need to leave it for one or two evenings at max.
Step 5: Peel And Enjoy
All that is left to do is the act of peeling the mould from the cement and removing the placeholder. You are now left with fantastic homemade pots to grow your next batch of flowers.
Cement Mixers And You
Concerning cement mixers today, there is a misconception that they are only for people in the construction industry. But here at BS Power, we want to put the power back in your hands. So, visit our online page to see the great cement mixers we have in stock so you can start your next DIY project today!