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how to pour concrete, trowelBrian Kelsey

Let's face it: concrete takes a beating. Between weather, oil leaks from the car, kids, garbage trucks and the like, eventually you will need to make a repair.

Concrete is made of cement (usually Portland cement) and other forms of crushed rock, gravel and sand. Mixed with water, concrete can be easily spread and molded to fit any area. When it dries, it becomes a rock-hard, durable, fire-resistant surface. But it's not indestructible. Eventually, concrete will succumb to heavy weight and the elements, causing unsightly cracks and erosion.

Luckily, concrete repair inexpensive and it's relatively easy if you know how to mix, pour, and spread concrete properly. I recently patched a damaged area of concrete at the entrance to my garage. Here's how I did it!

Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Time: 1 hour

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How to Mix and Pour Concrete

Concrete mix: I used a sand mix by Sakrete, which is specifically designed for covering damaged concrete.
- Bonding agent: This is great for repairs, because it helps the new concrete adhere to the old.
- Wheel barrow: Opt for a heavy-duty one for this job instead of a lightweight garden cart. Concrete is heavy.
- Shovel: I used a pointy spade shovel, which is best for digging, breaking up chunks of material -- and opening the bag of concrete!
- Trowel: I used one just over a foot wide. The more surface area you can cover at once, the easier the job.
- Metal rake: Make sure to use a flat, wide landscaping rake -- not a leaf rake.
- Pressure washer: You can rent a pressure washer from The Home Depot or your local home improvement center. Learn how to use your pressure washer safely here.
- Bucket

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

Here, it's apparent that the entrance to my garage has suffered from years of wear and tear -- parts of the garage's concrete apron have eroded away. But that's to be expected. Considering the weight it bears daily, the garage is a popular spot for concrete repairs.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

Upon closer inspection, I can see that the erosion has left a gap of a couple of inches (enough for my hand to fit through) at the bottom of the garage door. It's a perfect entrance for small critters -- and cold air in the winter. To create a tight seal between the bottom of the garage and driveway, I am going to have to create a patch that's high enough to meet the bottom of the door when it's closed.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

First, I needed to thoroughly clean the area and get any loose debris out of the way. The new concrete needs a stable surface to hang on to. I raked away most of the gravel from the area.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

Then using a power washer, I cleaned the area. (Note to self: Don't wear fancy new white sneakers when working with messy concrete.)

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

There are many different types of concrete, but the right kind for this situation is a sand mix -- a mixture of cement and sand. Sand mix is designed for repairs in concrete up to 2" thick, just like this one.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

In a wheel barrow, I opened one bag of sand mix and poured it in. Read the label for how much mix you will need for a given thickness and work area size. My situation called for just one bag.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

Then I grabbed a garden hose and added just a little water at a time. It's better to err on the side of caution; you can't take water away once it's in. To control the amount of water I'm adding, I like to dig a little hole in the mix and fill it with water, then start mixing.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

It is usually easier to mix with a hoe, but if you don't have one, a spade shovel like I used works just fine for small jobs like this. In addition to the water, I added a bonding agent, which will help the new concrete adhere to the old. You want to mix it to the consistency of chunky peanut butter. Add water as need.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete

I used my spade shovel to fill in the area with concrete. Add scoops of concrete roughly to your desired thickness. You can smooth it out and add or take away as you go.

How to Mix and Pour Concrete





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