How to Mix Fast-Setting Concrete
Whether you’re working making a patio in your back yard or pouring the foundation for a house you’re going to be using concrete. There are two basic types of concrete known as fast-setting and slow-setting. Slow-setting concrete is the type of concrete that can be worked for a longer period of time and takes a longer time to set. Fast-setting concrete is used generally for small DIY applications, patches and small jobs. It also begins to set very quickly so it is ideal for quick jobs. Since Fast-Setting concrete has some learning curves to working with it, you should also check out this article: 10 Tips for Working With Fast-Setting Concrete.
So how do you mix fast setting concrete? Follow our step-by-step guide to find out everything you need to know to mix and use fast-setting concrete.
Step One: Gathering Your Materials
When working with fast-setting concrete, it is crucial to have everything set up and ready to go beforehand. Due to the nature of fast-setting concrete, as soon as you finish mixing it, you’ll want to get it into place quickly.
In order to prepare you will need the following things:
- A prepared location for the concrete
- A bag of fast-setting concrete mix
- The bucket for the concrete to be mixed in
- Either an electric drill with concrete mixing bit or a masonry trowel for mixing the concrete
- A second bucket filled with cold water
- Protective Safety Gear
- Protective Glasses
- Protective Gloves
- Long Sleeve Shirt
- A garbage bag
- A hose
- A location for dumping unused mix and cleaning (*Outside)
When working with fast setting concrete, it is crucial to have everything prepared from the start. Since it sets so quickly, you’ll want to have the area you plan on putting the concrete prepared and have all of your tools laid out and ready to use.
Step 2: Mix the Concrete
Now that you have all of your materials together, its time to make the concrete! First things first, put on your protective gear. We know this step can be annoying especially when you are in a rush but concrete dust can get into your lungs and eyes when pouring and the lime in the pre-mix can damage your skin. So when working with concrete wear at least safety glasses, a mask and a long-sleeve shirt.
Take the bag of concrete mix and pour it into a bucket. Then, using your mixing tool, stir the concrete pre-mix until it it all very loose and fine. There may be some small chunks which are ok. If there are big chunks, bring the bag back to your local store and get a replacement bag.
Take a step back and look around. Is everything ready to go? Are you going to be able to work straight through until the job is done? Once you answer yes to those questions, it’s time to pour the cold water into the bucket. Note: Do Not use hot water in the mix. It will set much faster making it harder to work with.
Add just a bit of water at a time and use the mixing tool to mix it. The less water you add to concrete the stronger it will be and the faster it will set. Aim for a thick sludgy consistency. During this stage it is important to remember you can always add more water. Don’t go crazy and continue mixing until there are no dry spots left in the bucket.
Step 3: Pour the Concrete
The next step is simple. Pour out or shovel the concrete from the bucket into the area. Then spread the concrete so it sets evenly and smoothly.
Step 4: Cleanup
Once your concrete is poured and setting up, you’ll want to clean your bucket and tools. To do this easily, do not wait for the concrete to dry. Go to the area you’ve decided is the dumping location. Then take your hose and wash all of the excess out of the bucket and off the tools. You will want to keep any animals away from it until it dries. DO NOT rinse your tools inside or down a drain. The concrete will catch in the plumbing and cause very costly issues.
Step 5: Put Things Away
Putting your tools back is the easy part. Simply put them back in the location they came from. Next, roll up the bag (if there is any left) of concrete pre-mix making sure as much air is out as possible. Then take the bag and place it inside of the garbage bag from earlier. Do the same thing to remove as much air as possible and tie the bag shut. Then store it in a dry location. This is important because concrete left out too long in the humidity or exposed to the elements will absorb moisture and harden, resulting in the leftover pre-mix being useless.
That’s it. You did it! Now you’re ready to get out there and start building something amazing.
Now that you’ve learned all the tips and poured your concrete, you’re going to need fasteners to attach something to it. Check them out here: Masonry Anchors and Concrete Screws
How to Mix Fast Setting Concrete
How to Mix Fast Setting Concrete Transcript
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Bob:Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners – Fasteners 101. I’m Bob and today I’m going to show you how to mix some concrete. Let’s get started.
This is a bag of concrete – 50 pounds. It’s quick-setting concrete. This is what I selected. They have quick-setting, they have slow setting, you know, many different mixtures. You can find it at your home improvement store. This is by Quikrete. I did many years of concrete work and many would think that, you know, “it’s a bag of concrete; it’s pre-mixed.” Well there are some important things that you need to know. Especially with fast setting concrete.
Fast-setting concrete sets very quickly, so you have to have your materials ready before you mix the concrete. I’m going to show you how to properly mix the concrete.
So I poured some of this fast setting concrete into this bucket. It’s a 5-gallon bucket I guess. You get these at Lowe’s or Home Depot, any of those. One good thing to do before you put any water in is to make sure you mix the materials around after you pour it out of the bag. That makes sure that all the materials are nice and loose. Now a couple of tips: If you go to your box store and you buy a bag of this product and you come back, and you have chunks or it’s not fine, bring it back, get a new bag. Sometimes when they ship these products they’re out exposed to the elements; they could get hit with water, and then the product starts to set up which is no good. So I would highly recommend that you make sure that you have fine product.
Now I’m gonna go get some water and we’re gonna start to mix the product. So, I went and got my water. This is cold clean tap water. Do not use hot water. Hot water will set the concrete faster, so you want to avoid doing that. It’s a good thing to just pull out of the center here, and pull to the side some of the concrete and basically just dig a little hole there to pour the water in. I’m going to start to pour this in then I’m gonna mix it. You want to go a little bit at a time, not too much, because then it’ll become too soupy and then you’ll have to put some more concrete in, which I might have to do here but I’m just gonna keep mixing it.
I’ll probably need more than what I have here anyway. To do this little project I’m doing. You just keep mixing it. Make sure you get the bottoms and the sides. Because otherwise you’re gonna have dry pockets with dry concrete. You got to make sure you mix it well. Now I’m using this ladle, you can also get a battery drill and put a concrete auger on it and mix it that way. For this I’m just doing it by hand.
Make sure you get down to the bottom. You get everything mixed well. I’m almost down there now. Now you don’t want it soupy like it is here. So I’m going to add some more concrete to this but you want to make sure that it’s well mixed. You’re better off when you have fast-setting concrete that it’s a little more wet because the drier the faster it’s going to set up on you. I’m all the way down to the bottom now. Now it’s coming together well. Okay I’m going to add some more concrete. I like to start off more soupy than dry because it makes it easy to get everything that’s on the bottom.
If you’re working on your project and as you get to the bottom and find the concrete is setting up, because this is fast set, do not add water to loosen up the product. Throw it out. Start off with a new batch, even if it’s a little bit. Just make sure you put a little bit in there with very little water, sometimes with cups of your hand or a little cup. Pour the water in as you mix it so you can finish your project off. It’s a little tip. Always a little bit at a time. Don’t go too fast because if you put too much in then it’s going to get very dry very quickly and then you have to put more water in.
This is getting perfect now. Now this is a small batch. You can get a big tub with a hoe and you can mix it. Break your bags open and put it into a big bin. We’re almost there. This is getting to the perfect consistency that I want. This is also fast setting. So fast setting, once it starts to get to that consistency, will start to set up pretty quickly. Just a little bit more. Not much…I think this is gonna do it. Yep. Now you can see it. That’s what I’m looking for. Okay. I don’t see any dry material. You want to make sure you have nothing dry.
You want to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed and always wear protection. You need gloves. You should have a mask on, so you don’t inhale this stuff. It’s not the greatest stuff for you. Concrete has lime in it. You need to protect your skin from it because if you use it many, many times, it also can do some damage to your skin. They don’t tell you that typically but you learn that over the years.
So here we are. Looks good. Just found a dry spot there. But I think I’m good for my little project. That’s the perfect consistency that I want. It’s not too watery but it is nice and chunky and thick. This will set up pretty quickly once I put it into the product that I’m trying to develop here for my next video. A piece of concrete that is already setting up and then you pour a fresh batch on top of that, they call that a cold joint. That’s where you’re going to have a possible break and you will see a joint in the concrete. So you kinda wanna-when you’re working with concrete-you want to move fairly quickly. Especially fast setting. Slow setting, normal setting, you know it’s much easier to work with. I would highly recommend that, if you haven’t worked with concrete before.
If you have a bag and you have extra material, it’s good to roll this up, take it, put it in a plastic bag like so. Seal it up tight. Make sure you don’t have any holes in the bag because once you break that paper bag open moisture in your garage or your basement will start to penetrate the concrete and then when you go to use it let’s just say two months three months, this will prolong the life. If it’s over a year old chances are that you’ll come back to this and it will be chunky. You just need to throw it out at that point.
A final tip: cleaning. Do not clean concrete buckets out in your slop sink, your toilet, your regular sink in your house, your bathtub, don’t do it. Clean it outside. Get a hose, clean the concrete out in your grass somewhere that you just don’t want to see it. Though it will leave a residue around. If you clean it out in your sink, slop sink, toilet, or your bathtub, the trap in the plumbing will collect the concrete sand and it will set up in there and the end result is it will reduce the amount of flow of water and whatever else is in there by a substantial amount. Thus clogging your sink eventually. Hair will cling to it. A lot of people do this. It’s a big mistake. Don’t do it. That’s how you mix a bag of concrete. I probably used about 75% of this bag. Thanks for watching.