In construction projects, it is possible to mix concrete using just a shovel. However, this only works for minor projects where you only need to mix small amounts of concrete. For bigger construction projects such as pavements, floors, or wall castings, you’ll need to use a mixer. This piece of machinery mixes your concrete material thoroughly, reducing the chances of weak spots in the final mix.
Fortunately, it is possible to find small concrete mixer hire at affordable costs. Of course, the quality of results you get when using a mixer depends on how well you use it. The following are the essential steps to follow when you get a cement mixer hire for your projects.
Step 1: Measure out materials
To get started, you need to measure out your concrete material which includes stones or aggregate, sand, and cement. You should measure each one into a separate pile on the ground. You can place a plastic sheet or wooden board on the floor to prevent contamination.
The correct mix ratio of the material will vary from one project to the other. If you’re mixing harder concrete, then the ratio of cement will be higher. Conversely, if you’re mixing concrete for rough applications such as surfaces that require more grip, then you’ll have to add more aggregate materials.
You should also have water ready on the side in large containers. This is particularly important if you’re doing large mixes that’ll require multiple buckets of water.
Step 2: Position your mixer
With your materials, the next step is to position your mixer. Clear an area near your concrete materials and water source. Ensure that you have sufficient space around the mixer. You should also make sure the mixer is positioned on a firm and level surface so it doesn’t fall over while in use.
Step 3: Turn the Mixer on
Once the mixer is set up, set the mixer drum so it is tilted slightly. The mouth of the drum should be facing upwards at an angle of about 45-degree. You can now proceed to plug the machine into the power source and turn it on.
Step 4: Add materials to the mixer drum
To start, add about 7 liters (1.5 gallons) of water into the mixer drum. More or less water can be added depending on the ratio of the mixture. To keep the cement from sticking to the drum, you can add a small amount of aggregate to the mix first. Continue the mix accordingly working with the ratio needed for your project. After adding the cement, wait for 3-4 minutes before adding the rest of the sand-aggregate mixture.
Step 5: Watch the mixture as it mixes
Although the mixer works autonomously, you still have to watch as the mixture is agitated in the drum. Observe to see the level the mixture reaches during the 360-degree cycle before it falls. Generally, if the mixture reaches the top of the drum before falling, then it is too dry and you should add more water. Similarly, if the mixture does not reach the rise to the side at all, then it is too wet. At the right consistency, the mix should go halfway up the side of the drum before falling.
Step 6: Turn the mixer off
When the mix reaches the desired consistency, turn the mixer off to pour out the content. Do not put a shovel into a rotating mixer. The rotating bowl can catch the shovel and swing it around to hit your face. This is why you should turn it off first before attempting to pour the mixture
Step 7: Pour the concrete mixture
With the mixture ready, position your wheelbarrow or any other container you intend to use to collect the concrete mix at the front of the mixer bowl. Tilt the drum slowly to pour the mix into the wheelbarrow. Do this carefully so you don’t overtip the mixer.
Step 8: Repeat the steps
To continue mixing, you can switch the machine on again and repeat the step highlighted above until you have enough concrete to finish the job. You may add some water first to rinse off any concrete stuck on the drum. The resulting slush can be added to the next mix.
Step 9: Switch the mixer off
When you have enough concrete, you can proceed to switch the mixer off. Never leave your mixer unattended. Switch it off when you’re done with it.
Step 10: Clean the drum
Start by adding a small amount of sand and plenty of water to the drum and leave it on for several minutes. This will help clean off any concrete stuck on the bowl. You can repeat this as many times as you need till the mixer drum is completely clean. To clean the exterior, you can hose it down with water. When doing this, make sure the water does not get into the mixer engine. For an electric concrete mixer hire, unplug the unit first and relocate the extension to avoid getting water on it.
As you can see, using a concrete mixer is relatively straightforward. Even for small-scale projects, using a mixer is a more effective way to mix your concrete. You don’t have to get a full-size unit if a mini concrete mixer hire will serve you just fine. You will discover the concrete mixer hire cost to be well-worth it at the end of the day.