How to Mix a 50 lb Bag of Concrete

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Concrete mix hardens to its permanent strength and finish after a period of around 18 days.
Concrete mix hardens to its permanent strength and finish after a period of around 18 days. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Concrete is available from several manufacturers in bagged ready-mix form. Ready-mix concrete consists of Portland cement and aggregates like small pebbles and sand, and you must mix it with water before application. Mixing a 50 lb. bag of concrete requires only a few basic materials. A wheelbarrow is the ideal spot for concrete mixing on a small scale, as it contains all the materials and mess in one spot and makes your mixed concrete mobile around the job site.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Water
  • Concrete mix
  • Shovel
  • Work gloves
  • Eye protection

Put on gloves and eye protection. Pour the bag of ready-mix concrete into the wheelbarrow or onto an alternative mixing surface.

Add the appropriate amount of water to the concrete ready-mix. The amount of water required can vary greatly from one brand and type of ready-mix concrete to the next. Follow the instructions on your ready-mix packaging and add the recommended amount of water. Turn the concrete and water over with your shovel until they blend together. Continue mixing until you achieve a thick and pliable consistency.

Add more water if the concrete is too dry to be workable. Blend the water and ready-mix thoroughly before adding additional water to avoid over-saturating, which can result in a runny and unworkable consistency.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have access to a wheelbarrow, use a piece of plywood as the base on which to mix your concrete.
  • The water to concrete ratio is key to a proper concrete mix. Add water slowly and keep checking the consistency to avoid over-saturating the mix.
  • Cement dust can be hazardous to your health if inhaled. Wear a protective mask whenever working with dry cement mix.
  • Unmixed concrete and wet concrete contains lime. Lime is a corrosive element that will burn your skin with extensive contact. Wear gloves whenever working with cement. Once the concrete has dried, it is no longer hazardous.

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