Essential Tips for Working with Concrete

Concrete is one of the most widely used construction materials today and has been for a long while. They make up a lot of our infrastructure, from the roads and pavements we walk on to the skyscrapers that graze our skies. Concrete is also used widely in the construction of contemporary houses and many people now work with it to add certain aesthetic design elements to their interiors.

Working with concrete might seem like a hassle and something that’s best left to the experts. This is not true at all. Provided you take the right steps and adhere to the best practices, there’s no reason that you can’t use concrete for your own DIY projects. For this reason, we’ve compiled these essential tips that will help you get started:

Have the Right Tools

Before you start your project make sure you have all the tools that are required for your project. Typical concrete projects usually require:

  • Hammer
  • Saws
  • Measuring tape
  • Levels
  • Formwork
  • Pry bar
  • Shovels
  • Rubber boots
  • Wheelbarrow or a power mixer, depending on your budget
  • Screeding board

What to Remember When Mixing the Concrete

If you’re working on a pretty simple project, then a regular mix of concrete is all you need. There’s no need to add extra substances to it. However, if you’re taking on a larger project like constructing a set of stairs for instance, you should consider adding plasticizer. This helps the concrete set better into the mould, thereby ensuring the desired shape is achieved.

A lot of experts, including the best concreters Sydney West has to offer, caution against adding anything that makes the concrete drying process quicker. Concrete should be allowed to set at its own pace to ensure that there are no imperfections.

Take Care When You Pour

Your project is going to be doomed from the start if the concrete is ruined with cracks and holes. Therefore, it is mandatory that the texture of the concrete comes out right by employing proper pouring technique. The consistency you need to aim for is one that’s neither too runny nor dry; aim for somewhere in between.

Use Melanin Moulds

There are many types of moulds available to choose from, including ones made out of recyclable plastics. However, we strongly recommend that you use melanin moulds for your project. When these moulds are used, you can expect a smoother finish to be present on your concrete structure due to the water retention.

In contrast, cardboard moulds have pores through which water can exit. This results in rougher concrete surfaces.

Decorate While It’s Still Soft

If you’re setting out to make a decorative piece which involves the integration of materials such as stones or sea shells, you should press it into the concrete before it starts to set. The same applies if you want to imprint a shape onto the concrete, such as a foot or handprint.

There are so many decorative possibilities available to you when you choose to work with concrete. Your imagination is your limit.

As long as you adhere to these tips, you should have no trouble completing your own project with relative ease.