DIY Concrete Guide

A DIY job well done is immensely satisfying. Using concrete need not be difficult if a few simple guidelines are followed. Following ‘best practice’ will also reduce the risk of subsequent problems.

  1. Measure carefully. You can use this website to calculate the concrete volume or call us and we will be pleased to help but calculations are only as good as the measurements you provide. Always measure again after the footings have been dug or the forms fixed in place. 
  2. Make sure you have everything ready before the concrete arrives. If you need to barrow the concrete because of difficult access we will discuss the length of time the mixer truck needs to be on site with you. 
  3. Take extra care in extreme weather conditions, including very hot weather. Download the DIY Guide, Hot Weather Guide and Cold Weather Guide for further details
  4. The secret of laying long lasting slabs of concrete is often in the quality of the base. Our guide explains how to prepare a suitable base for different applications. By using modern CEMEX materials there are additional ways of constructing highly durable concrete at minimal extra cost - ask us about fibres or visit our dedicated page on fibre concrete.

Tips on pouring concrete for DIY projects

By far the easiest way to move wet concrete is the ‘straight pour’; tipping the concrete from the mixer truck directly into the trench or slab.  A traditional 6 m3 mixer truck can discharge its load in just six minutes but the driver normally expects to take 20 - 30 minutes on site.

  1. A truck is 2.48m  wide and weighs 24t with a full load. If access is difficult the following methods of moving the concrete are commonly used on smaller sites:
  2. If there is sufficient fall, a temporary chute can be constructed from timber. It will need to be well supported
  3. Plant hire centres stock a wide range of small dumper trucks. These are ideal if the concrete needs to be transferred over a relatively long distance
  4. Concrete can be pumped and pumps are quick and overcome most access problems.
  5. Builders often use an excavator with a large bucket to place the concrete but this is seldom suitable in confined space
  6. The traditional wheelbarrow is still widely used for concrete on many sites. However, a standard 6 m3 load is equal to 240 barrow trips and it will take four people about one hour to move the full load.

More tips on laying ready mixed concrete can be found in our practical concrete guides.

Concrete FAQs

Have a question about concrete? Check out our list of FAQs.

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