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4. How To Mix Concrete & Mortar

Different jobs require different mixes. Depending on the job you are undertaking you may need to include additional materials to give the mix a specific characteristic. These materials are lime, plasticiser, cement pigment, waterproofer and frost proofer. 

Mixing By Hand

Position the spot board on the ground not too far from where you will be using the mix. Use a shovel to heap the ingredients onto the spot board in the ratio required for the mix; care must be taken so as not to overload the board.

Use a shovel to turn the heaped ingredients over until they are mixed thoroughly. When you are satisfied that the ingredients are well mixed, create a hollow in the centre of the pile. Gradually pour enough water into the hollowed out centre to produce the correct consistency. It is best to add the water gradually to avoid pouring in too much and making the mix too wet. This is not an exact science as, if the sand is wet from being stored outside, you will not need as much water as if it was dry.

With the water in the hollowed out centre, carefully push the sides into the centre with the shovel, turning the mix over until you have the correct consistency.

Concrete & Mortar Mixes

The following mixes give the ratio of cement, lime, sand and coarse aggregate for different types of concrete and mortar mixes used in DIY. The proportion indicates the ratio by volume, usually a shovel-load. If greater accuracy is required in the mixing to maintain the strength or colour throughout, use a bucket to measure out the quantities.

In some of the mixes below, lime has been included. however this can be replace with a plasticiser if you prefer. 

4. How To Mix Concrete & Mortar : Steps
Step 01:
General Purpose Mortar

For laying bricks, blocks and pointing

•1 Cement

•1 Lime

•5 Builder's Sand

Mix with water to produce a consistency that allows the mortar to stick to a trowel when turned upside down.

Step 02:
Landscaping Mortar Mix

For laying paving stones and patio slabs

•1 Cement

•4 Sharp Sand

Mix with water to produce a consistency that is stiffer than the general-purpose mortar above.

Step 03:
Concrete For Foundations

Foundations for an extension

•1 Cement

•2.5 Sharp Sand

•3.5 Coarse Aggregate

Mix with water to produce a consistency that pours easily.



Foundations for garden walls

•1 Cement

•5 Ballast

Mix with water to produce a consistency that pours easily.

Step 04:
General Purpose Concrete

Concrete base for slabs or a garden shed

•1 Cement

•2 Sharp Sand

•3 Coarse Aggregate

Mix with water to produce a consistency that should pour easily



Alternatively, another general-purpose concrete mix is

•1 Cement

•4 Ballast

Mix with water to produce a consistency that should pour easily

Step 05:
Render Mix

Undercoat for plaster or an exterior coating

•1 Cement

•1 Lime

•6 Plasterer's Sand

Mix with water to produce a consistency that allows the mortar to stick to a trowel when turned upside down

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