Generally speaking, our business isn’t very useful to homeowners or individual businesses looking to make concrete for a driveway, sidewalk or patio unless that business spends in excess of $10,000 per month on concrete. We do however get asked “Can I make concrete at home?” The answer is yes, but why would you want to? Unless you just can’t get concrete delivered or you are only looking for a wheelbarrow full, you will find the value of purchasing concrete from your local ready mix supplier is the best investment you can make.
Concrete is basically the combination of sand, stone, water and cement. Concrete available commercially however may contain multiple cements, admixtures and even use temperature controlled water. Concrete mix designs are tailored not only for the break strength, but also their specific use, the weather it is being poured in and many other variables. Commercial concrete suppliers normally know as Ready Mix companies, use special equipment called concrete batch plants to weigh out the specific amounts of each ingredient and put them all in a truck. This truck then mixes all the materials together on the way to your project.
Making concrete at home is the same process on a smaller scale. If you are only making a small amount of concrete your local home improvement store will have bags or kits available that you will only have to add the required amount of water too and mix. In most cases a wheel barrow and shovel are sufficient for mixing the materials together and transporting to the point of application.
The most economical way of making concrete at home is to purchase and transport the raw materials (sand, stone, cement) to the jobsite and mixing them together in a jobsite concrete mixer. These mixer are available for rental from most equipment rental companies or can be purchase from most home improvement stores. Additional tools that will be needed will be several buckets, scale, shovel and wheel barrow. You will have to add the proper weights of each material to the mixer, then allow the material to mix until it is thoroughly mixed together. Once mixed the material can be discharged into a wheel barrow and moved to the point of application.
Determining the proper amount of materials to add will be dependent on the type of concrete you want to make. An online search of “concrete mix design” will yield forums, discussion and other information on mixtures of concrete. Once you settle on the mix you want, it should give you a weight of each material used per yard of concrete produced. Assuming you have a smaller mixer you may have to make 1/8 yd or smaller batches. You will have to appropriately divide your mix design to the amount of concrete you will make in your mixer at one time. If your mix design calls for water in gallons, it is easiest to convert the gallons to weight so you can weigh your water on the same scale you are using for your sand and rock. One gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs.
That’s about it. The process of making concrete at home isn’t impossible, but it is hard and messy.
Having trouble buying concrete in your area? Would a small concrete plant in your community would be a good business investment? Consolidation of concrete companies in recent years has made getting commercial concrete in some areas very difficult; and created profitable business opportunities. Call us to discuss how we can help you monetize the concrete opportunity you have.