How To Use A Concrete Mixer For Your Home Projects

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A concrete mixer is a machine used to combine cement, water and aggregates such as sand, gravel or stone to make concrete. They are versatile machines used to make different kinds of cement mixtures. Concrete has become wildly popular in construction and home projects. They save time, and labour and produce consistent results.


You get different kinds of mixers, but in this article, we will focus on portable models and how they can be used for projects in your home. We first explain how to use a concrete mixer and then discuss how to incorporate concrete into your home.


How To Use A Portable Mixer


Sometimes new machinery can be intimidating to use, but when it comes to a modern mixer from BS Power, this couldn’t be further from the truth as our machines are easy to use and simple to understand. While the machine is designed to produce consistent results, the quality of the concrete you make will depend on how well you understand the principles behind concrete mixing. Following, we outline some simple steps for you to follow.


Step 1: Decide On The Kind Of Concrete You Want To Make


Before you begin measuring materials, you need to do your research on the type of consistency you may need for your project. This is because concrete is a flexible material that can take on many different consistencies which will impact its strength and ability.


If you want hard and smooth concrete your ratio of cement to water will be higher. If you want rougher, textured concrete, you will need to add extra sand to your mixture. If you want concrete with exposed stone, you need to add enough stone and aggregate to your mixture. Once you have decided what works for your project you can begin measuring your materials.


Step 2: Measuring Materials


Once you know what sort of concrete you need, you can begin to measure out the components. Lay down a large plastic sheet on the ground. It is important to lay something down so as to not contaminate your materials. Measure each dry material – the cement and any aggregates – on the plastic sheet forming separate piles. Water should be measured in a large container and be readily available.


Step 3: Position Your Mixer


At BS Power, the portable cement mixers we supply are towable and on wheels. You can easily move the concrete mixer in place and lock the position with sturdy breaks. Position the mixer in a clear area with sufficient space and not too far from your measured materials. Although the mixer will stay in place because of the breaks, you still need to ensure it is on a level surface and firm ground to prevent it from falling over while in use.


Step 4: Turning The Machine On


Set the mixer up according to the instructions in the manual. Each mixer has a unique manual, so it is important you read the manual before you use it. The drum needs to be facing upwards and at an angle before you power it on. Navigate the on switch and power the machine.


Step 5: Adding The Materials


Now that the machine is turned on, you begin by adding water to the drum. Add small amounts of cement into the mixer to keep the powder from sticking to the sides of the drum. You can also add a small amount of aggregate to help keep the cement from sticking to the drum. Continue to add your measured-out materials and wait 3-4 minutes before adding the rest of the aggregate.


Step 6: Let The Machine Do Its Magic


Once all the materials have been added to the drum, you need to watch it as it mixes. The machine will do the magic of combining the materials until it reaches the desired consistency. The reason you need to keep an eye on the machine is to make sure it doesn’t topple over and that it is reaching the consistency you were looking for.


Step 7: Turning The Mixer Off And Preparing To Pour


When you have reached the desired consistency of your cement mixture, you can turn the machine off and pour the concrete. The drum is tiltable and designed to pour concrete out. You should avoid sticking a shovel in the mixer as the rotating bowl found in the drum may swing the shovel back at you. It is important that the machine is off before you pour as this can also lead to spilled cement and significant waste.


Step 8: Pouring The Cement


Position a wheelbarrow at the catchment area where the cement will be poured from the mixer. Carefully tilt the drum towards the wheelbarrow and watch your perfect cement pour.


Step 9: Cleaning The Mixer


Once you have made all the concrete you need for the project you can easily clean out the drum with water and sand. Put water and sand in the drum and turn the concrete mixer on. The sand will help loosen the left over concrete stuck on the bowl. Repeat as necessary. Ensure that no water reaches the engine or any electrical fittings on the mixer as this can lead to the machine malfunctioning.


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Incorporating Concrete In Your Home


As you can see it is super easy to make cement using a concrete mixer. There are many benefits to using a mixer; it speeds up the construction process significantly which means it will save you time. Mixers produce quality concrete which means your structures will have a high structural integrity.


They are also incredibly diverse; you can make different kinds of concrete in the mixer with minimal effort. Using a mixer reduces construction mistakes, which saves you money in the long run and reduces waste. Anyone can use a mixer; there are many projects you can attempt to tackle.


You can use the machine for both small and large projects. It will certainly save you both time and effort to incorporate the machine into your construction routine. There are plenty of ways you can add concrete elements to your home to help elevate your aesthetic. Following we highlight some projects that you can easily try out.


Concrete Coasters


You can make unique coasters from smooth and hard cement. If you have old coasters at home that are starting to fade, you can cover them with cement to upcycle them. Once they have dried you can decorate with paint or smooth them out easily with sandpaper. Alternatively, you can make a mould out of cardboard, plastic and duct tape into a desired shape and pour cement into the mould.


The concrete will harden into the mould and you can smooth it out once it’s hardened. Concrete is naturally water resistant so it is the perfect material to make unique coasters. The material also has plenty of traction making it slip-resistant to avoid drinks from spilling off the table.


Concrete Planters


Concrete planters are long-lasting and perfect to hold your house and outdoor plants. It is quite simple to make a concrete planter and you can make a variety of sizes by repurposing other materials. You will need a container to make a mould. For example, you could use an old ice cream container as a mould.


You would fill the container with your concrete mixture, next you would take a smaller cup and place it in the concrete; this is where your plant would eventually sit. You can place stones in the smaller cup to keep it in place. Once the concrete has set and cured, you can cut away the ice cream container and pull out the smaller cup. You can smooth out the edges with sandpaper and you can decorate the planter as you wish.


Concrete Counters


When done correctly, concrete countertops can be incredibly sleek and sophisticated. There are many benefits to having a concrete countertop; the material is damp resistant, and durable, it can shape anything you desire and the material is far more affordable than other countertop options such as marble or granite.


For a more advanced home project, you can make a concrete countertop with the use of a concrete mixer. The mixer will ensure that the concrete is combined well to avoid cracking an even pour. Having a smooth mixture will result in a smooth countertop.


To make a countertop from scratch, you will need a well-built mould. You can make one to fit the top areas of your cabinets using a melamine particle board. Once you have made the mould, you need to make a supportive frame for the mould. Concrete can be heavy so the support frame will help prevent the mould from breaking as the concrete hardens.


Once your structure is prepared you can begin to mix your concrete. For countertops, you would need a thick and well-made mixture; it should almost be the texture of peanut butter. You can begin to fill the mould by using a spade or bucket. The concrete should be packed quite compactly and there should be minimal air bubbles.


You can minimise air pockets by tapping the surface with a trowel as you pack the concrete. When the concrete reaches the top of the mould, you can begin to smooth out the surface with the trowel you have been using. Remember the bottom of the mould will be the top part of your countertop, so don’t worry too much if it isn’t perfectly smooth. Carefully place a sheet of plastic over the mould to prevent dust from settling on the surface as the concrete hardens.


As the concrete hardens, the level of the concrete will drop slightly. Once it is completely dry, this should be after about a week, you can break away the mould. The longer concrete cures in the mould, the stronger it will be. There may be imperfections in the slab once the mould is removed, this is why you would use a powered sander to smooth out the surface. Once you are happy with the smoothness, you will use a sealant on the slab. Just like that, you have your own custom concrete countertop.


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About BS Power


BS Power is a leading provider of construction, agricultural and forestry equipment. We have over 20 years of experience to share with you. We are based in Cape Town and manufacture and import a range of reliable equipment for both professional and personal use.


Our team is skilled, friendly and professional. We can help you understand your construction needs and source the relevant equipment for you. We stock concrete mixers, ride-on-lawn mowers, chainsaws and so much more. Head over to our product section to find out more.


Although we are based in Cape Town, we provide for clients all over South Africa and even some neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini and Namibia. Visit our website today to find out how we can help you!