The Homeowners Guide To Cement Mixers & DIY Projects



Contrary to what some may believe, cement mixers aren’t only for large construction sites. With portable cement mixers, it’s easy for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts to take on several home projects – without wasting time mixing concrete by hand, which can be quite a job. Our cement mixers come in many different sizes and mixing capacities to suit smaller projects, whether for landscaping or small home construction projects.


In this article, we offer advice for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts wanting to invest in a cement mixer and share the benefits of using cement mixers in home improvement projects. We will then get creative with a step-by-step guide for a DIY outdoor firepit for you and your loved ones to enjoy this winter.


Benefits Of Using Cement Mixers For Home Improvement Projects


Concrete is such a versatile material; It is incredibly strong and can withstand significant weight and pressure. As far as materials go, it’s also extremely cost-effective to mix and maintain. When mixed effectively using cement mixers, it can last for decades with very little maintenance or need for protection against the elements or chemical coatings.


Concrete also allows for a wide range of applications, from building foundations and creating the perfect patio for those long summer evenings to unique kitchen or outdoor dining countertops, walkways, and even decorative features for the garden. There are so many ways to customise your cement by adding different aggregates, pigments, and finishing techniques to create unique styles that suit your tastes.


If you’re a homeowner then you probably feel that there are always things around the garden and house that can be upgraded, fixed, or replaced to improve the value of your property. One of the main things that tends to stand between a good idea and completion is having the right tools for the job. High-quality equipment for your home improvement projects can mean the difference between a smooth, successful renovation and a frustrating struggle.


Imagine creating your dream patio for those late summer afternoon braais with family and friends. Without a cement mixer, you will be hand-mixing large quantities of concrete, which takes a lot of time and energy. You might also struggle to create the ideal consistency, which weakens the strength of the concrete, often leading to a less stable and durable structure. Using cement mixers will ensure a much quicker process and result in a stronger, more reliable concrete mix. Having the right tools will empower you to:


Work Efficiently: The right tools will help you get the job done faster. Mixing cement can be a challenging and time-consuming process and may require additional hands to get the job done. Cement mixers help to automate and speed up this process, eliminating the need for additional labour.


Achieve Professional Results: Creating the perfect concrete mix is not as easy as one may think, apart from being laborious and time-consuming, it requires mindful and consistent turning and mixing to create a workable consistency that has an equal distribution of cement, water, and aggregate – on top of being free from dry pockets. Not achieving the correct consistency means a weaker cement mixture, which can be harder to work with and less durable. Using a cement mixer will ensure all the ingredients are mixed effectively, resulting in the perfect concrete mixture, and allowing you the opportunity to achieve professional results on all your home DIY projects.


Save Money In The Long Run: Purchasing a cement mixer can be a costly investment initially. However, it is an investment that will save you time and labour costs and ensure that you reduce mistakes, like creating an inconsistent mix or spilling and damaging surrounding surfaces. Additionally, wastage of ingredients often occurs when creating the mixture yourself and finishing the build, only to realise later down the line that the concrete was not effectively mixed – resulting in cracks and other issues. If you look after your cement mixers, you are guaranteed to have a perfectly functioning tool to last many years. As opposed to buying disposable tools that you will need to keep replacing for each project.


Protect Your Body: Hand-mixing concrete can make even small projects feel like a marathon. It is a physically challenging task requiring the consistent stirring and turning of heavy materials, which is likely to lead to fatigue and muscle strain. Portable cement mixers allow this process to be automated so you can save your energy for all the big and often strenuous tasks involved in home improvement projects.




Basic Steps For Using Cement Mixers


Cement mixers are relatively easy to use due to their simple design, however, there are a few important pointers to consider; to help you create the perfect concrete consistency for the job and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience throughout your DIY project.


Wear protective gear: Avoid common hazards like dust inhalation and eye injury whilst using your cement mixer. Must-have gear includes safety goggles, respirators, work gloves, and sturdy shoes or boots.


Position Your Mixer: Make sure your mixer is close to you so that you don’t have far to transport your concrete, either that or it is easily accessible by wheelbarrow. You also want to make sure it’s on solid, flat ground – you can place a board underneath the mixer to level it and catch any spillages.


Measuring your materials: Most projects will require different ratios of cement, sand, and aggregates depending on the application. Before adding them to the mixer, separate each ingredient into a pile on a sheet or board to prevent contamination. For critical projects or if precise strength is needed, use a scale for enhanced accuracy.


Watch The Mixture: Although cement mixers allow you to autonomously mix the ingredients, it is important to keep a watchful eye inside the drum to ensure you are achieving a workable consistency, often described as thick oatmeal. By watching the mix, you can identify any issues and adjust your process.


Clean It Properly: Cement is alkaline and can cause rust over time, it also dries very quickly so any buildup in the drum can prevent the blades from working properly if left unattended. Try to make a habit of cleaning your cement mixer with clean water and a brush after each use, this will ensure that you keep your mixer in top shape for years to come.




DIY Concrete Fire Pit


Why buy the same ordinary fire pit your neighbour has when you can create something extraordinary, customised to your unique ideas? Imagine sitting with friends and family around the crackling of flames, admiring your hand-built outdoor fire pit this winter.


Materials Needed:


  • Fire-resistant cement: Purchase high-temperature cement capable of withstanding a fire – available at most local building stores.
  • Sand: For mixing the concrete.
  • Gravel: (optional) ¾ crushed stone to assist with drainage and stability in the base of the firepit.
  • Cement Mixer: To mix all your ingredients.
  • Shovel: For digging and removing materials.
  • Wheelbarrow: For transporting materials.
  • Tamper: To compact the base.
  • Rubber Mallet.
  • Framework lumber: Cuts of wood that will be used to create the mould for your fire pit.
  • Stakes: To secure the formwork in place.
  • Masonry Trowel: For smoothing and shaping the concrete.
  • Safety gear: Dust mask, eye protection, gloves, and sturdy shoes.




1.Plan And Design: Step 1 involves deciding on the shape and overall design of your fire pit. Think about how many people you want to be able to sit around the fire pit, whether for braais or bonfires and consider the area you are working with. Once you know what you want, draw up a simple design plan, which you can keep referring to throughout the build. Use this plan to dictate the amount of concrete mix needed.


2.Choose Your Location: Now it’s time to find the perfect level spot for your braai/fire pit. Make sure there is enough space around the pit for friends and family to enjoy, ensuring that the pit isn’t too close to other outdoor structures, trees, or flammable materials around or above the fire pit.


3.Excavate The Pit: It’s time to mark out the perimeter of your fire pit (you can use sand, string, or a range of other methods). Then, use your spade to start digging out the soil to the desired depth. A standard braai pit has a depth of about 30-40cm, feel free to adjust this to your preference.


4.Prepare The Base: If your soil has good drainage, you can skip this step. However, for better drainage and stability, consider making a layer of about 19mm of crushed stone on the bottom of the pit.


5.Build The Formwork: Next, we will be making the mould for your concrete pit. Take wooden boards and cut them to the length and height of your desired concrete pit. Use stakes to keep the wooden boards in place.


6.Mix The Concrete: Follow the instructions on the packaging of your fire-resistant concrete, and measure and combine the cement and sand into your cement mixer. Gradually add water to achieve a workable consistency.


7.Pour The Concrete: Carefully pour the mixed concrete from your mixer into the formwork, starting from one corner and working your way outwards. Use your shovel or trowel to distribute the concrete evenly and smooth the top rim. Use a rubber mallet to release any trapped air bubbles.


8.Curing Time: Cover the exposed concrete with plastic sheeting to retain moisture and encourage hardening. Let the concrete set for several days or the length of time recommended on the packaging.


9.Remove the formwork: Once the concrete has fully hardened, gently tap on the wood with a hammer to carefully remove the wooden formwork. Allow the exposed concrete to dry completely before enjoying your first fire.




Home Improvement Equipment At BS Power


At BS Power, we have a wide selection of high-performance equipment to serve our clients across Southern Africa, whether for big commercial applications or smaller residential home improvement projects. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our team is here to provide you with a total solution. Starting by helping you find the best product for the job, from hedge trimmers and lawnmowers to brick saws and power trowels, as well as support from our highly skilled technical team – we’ve got you covered Head to our website to browse or shop, alternatively, feel free to send us an email at or give us a call at +27219816040 for further support.