Fixes to four pitfalls of concrete mixing

Cement is known as a versatile construction material, and one of the main construction components used in the development of infrastructure and buildings. The material is ultimately the glue that holds concrete together and ensures the durability, workability, compressive strength and dimensional stability of the structures it is used in.

As an important tool used in the construction world, cement, as a component of concrete, needs to be prepared and mixed in the correct way and it is therefore vital to highlight the four most common concrete mixing mistakes that are made in this process, in order to ensure your construction project runs smoothly.

Order the right strength class of cement

One key oversight that can be made in the planning phase of a construction project is ordering the wrong strength class of cement. It is critical to understand that not all cement is the same and with various types of cement to choose from, this can often be a challenge.

With different strength classes and different strength gains, there is a lot to take into consideration.

For instance, if your project is a building structure like a home, general purpose cement that reaches strength at a normal age will be suitable. However, if you are working on a larger civil engineering project that requires day one strength, high performance cement may be required.

By taking the time to find the right cement for your project, you will ensure the desired result and long-term durability of the structures you build. 

Keep your calculations in check

Another miscalculation that can affect the preparation phase of a construction project can be made when calculating the amount of concrete required for a project. Concrete is made up of cement, water, and aggregates like sand and gravel. By calculating the required amount of concrete necessary for the project, this will in turn ensure that you have the right amount of cement, water and aggregates for your project. 

This can be achieved by applying a concrete calculator formula. The first step is to identify how thick the concrete needs to be and then measure the length and width of the area that needs to be covered. Once you have all the above required information, there are a variety of concrete calculators out there to help you figure out the exact amount necessary for your project.

Get water-to-cement ratios (W/C) right

Water is one of the ingredients used in the mixing of concrete and the water-to-cement ratio (W/C) is critical to the formulation of your concrete and needs to be meticulously worked out. Information on W/C ratios can be obtained from cement manufacturers for all types of their cement.

Using the wrong water-cement ratio (W/C) is one of the mistakes often made in the mixing of concrete. If concrete is mixed with too much water, it can lead to segregation of materials that causes excessive bleeding (water migrating to the top). This often leads to voids in the concrete matrix that negatively affects strength and durability.

Too much water in the mix will further impact the hydration process and ultimately, the cement’s ability to achieve strength, negatively. “Wet mixes” may experience a greater amount of shrinkage during the curing process which can result in cracks and other issues.

On the other hand, if you do not add enough water to your concrete mixture, this too builds in its own issues. Cement requires sufficient water for it to be workable (placed and compacted) and you therefore need to ensure that the of water-cement ratio (W/C) is just right. Too little water will result in dry, unworkable concrete mixes which again can impact the hydration process negatively, causing the cement not to achieve the required strength.

Critical consistency in concrete mixing

Once you have worked out the type of cement you would need to use, calculated the amount of concrete that is required, and ensured you are using the right amount of water in your mixture, it is time to start mixing.

Remember that mixing concrete may require more than one load. This means that each batch of concrete needs to be mixed the same way. This is another oversight that is often made in the process of mixing concrete and is important because it may affect the finished product.

Don’t forget that there are tried and tested solutions to avoid these few common pitfalls and fix any mistake when you are mixing your Sephaku Cement into your concrete.

Overall, be sure to apply the recommended concrete mixing guidelines provided on the cement bag and ensure an even amount of cement, water and aggregates is used in each batch of concrete mix, as this will deliver a result with which you are sure to be satisfied. One that will last a lifetime.

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