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Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

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  • Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

    You can mix your concrete in a wheelbarrow by hand (been there, done that); rent or buy a mixer from Home Depot; pull a yard or so behind your full size truck; have the concrete mixer pour your concrete one wheelbarrow at a time; or hire a pump to meet the concrete truck at your house and shoot the concrete into your forms.

    We've seen it all.

    Share what you did, how much it cost, and whether you would do it differently next time.
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  • #2
    Armstrong concrete mixer

    Hi all,
    I used the wheelbarrow and garden hoe method of mixing the concretes (regular and insulating), mortar and stucco. It's not so hard to do if you thoroughly mix all the ingredients prior to adding any water and, unlike buying ready-mix in California, you can mix it to any ratio you like and as dry (stronger) or soupy (weaker) as you like. Also, it's ready when you want it to be ready, not when a truck happens to show up.
    I didn't keep a record of costs but in was minimal. Even the "fancy" one-coat stucco was only $9 something a bag (took 2 bags). Portland cement was about $5 for a 94lb. bag from Home Depot and sand and fire clay were less per 100lb. bag. I used three 4 cubic feet bags of vermiculite. One, from a local feed store, set me back $9 but was the only bag in town that I could find. I picked the second bag up at a nursery near San Francisco on a trip there. It was over $15. The third bag came from a feed store in Chico for about $10. I went with the STO PowerLastic finish stucco mentioned by James in his reply to my stucco questions in this forum. It set me back $40 for a 4.6 gal. (18 liter) pail premixed and tinted to my choice of colors. I put a coat of the PowerLastic on this afternoon and have more than half of the pail left as predicted by the supplier. Tomorrow I'll decide whether to call the stucco done or add a second coat. It sure goes on easily.


    • #3
      I used about 12 80lb bags ($3.50 each) and rented a puny electric mixer for $30 for four hours. I could only mix one bag at a time, and it took over an hour. It was only marginally faster than a hoe, if you include the time spent driving to pick up and return the mixer, plus cleaning time.

      If I could tow it and fit it into my backyard, I would have much preferred the "ten-bagger" which rented for $50/ 24 hr. If I were mixing more than 20 bags or so, I'd consider calling a truck. I didn't investigate the pre-mix, tow it yourself option. What sort of working time do you get? I suppose they could add retarders or something to get whatever set time you need.
      I'm building a Pompeii Oven in Austin, Texas. See my progress at:
      Il Forno Fumoso


      • #4
        pre-mix tow-yourself

        I used the pre-mix tow yourself for my foundation. The trailer has a mixer on it, so it mixes the entire time you are towing it home and while you are pouring it (in my case in to wheelbarrows to deliver to the backyard), so hardening while in transit should not be an issue. For anything between half a yard and probably 3 yards of concrete it was by for the most cost effective method in my area. Over three yards and you can have a truck deliver the whole volume and have it pumped by boom or line pumping. I think it was $180 for the 1 1/2 yards - I incurred extra cost because we had the mixer for longer than really necessary, the concrete itself was only about $100, maybe less.

        For my hearth stand, I used much less concrete and mixed with a rented mixer (capacity was two bags). Everything else (mortar, concrete countertop) I mixed by hand with a hoe.


        • #5
          Same. Pre-Mix Trailer Rental, Home Depot mixer for rest.

          I used a hybrid approach that I would repeat.

          I first purchased the Home Depot mixer that holds about 2 80lb bags. But at a party the night before I was going to go buy all the bags of concrete for the pad a guy convinced me to go get the pre-mix. His point was that the health risks of breathing all that concrete dust alone made this route worthwhile.

          Like Maver I rented a trailer that spun as I drove it home. It was large and it was heavy. They almost didn't let me tow it behind our 4x4 Chevy Suburban because it wasn't a 3/4 ton vehicle. I paid something like $100 for the concrete, and about the same for the mixer rental.

          The mixer was fun to operate. Lots of levers, change direction to pour, etc. I poured it into wheelbarrow and rolled it to my pad. Done moving concrete in about 20 minutes.

          For the concrete to fill the block stand I used the Home Depot Mixer. Perfect to set it up right next to the stand, mix concrete and dump it into a concrete funnel.

          For the hearth concrete + vermiculite/cement I raised the Home Depot mixer onto a makeshift wood stand next to the block stand. Made it possible to mix the concrete and pour it directly into the forms 2 bags at a time. We were very happy with this method.

          I'm sure a small rental mixer would have been more economical than purchasing one at Home Depot. And I wouldn't still be looking at it in my side yard. Other than that, wouldn't change a thing.
          - JC


          • #6
            Originally posted by jahysea View Post
            I'm sure a small rental mixer would have been more economical than purchasing one at Home Depot. And I wouldn't still be looking at it in my side yard.
            One of the best plans for a piece of equipment you need for longer than a rental period, but not permanently, is to sell it on eBay when you're through with it. If you keep the original packaging and clean it well when you're done with it, you can sometimes have a smaller loss than a cost of a one day rental. In the description you say "nearly new - used for one home project" I always throw in a picture of the completed project for emphasis.

            I once actually sold a pneumatic floor nailer for more than I bought it for.

            I call it the "eBay rental" plan.
            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


            • #7
              Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

              I mix by hand for most small jobs. Electric cement mixer for medium jobs.

              But I put down a concrete slab and for that I used an on site truck. It comes with dry cement, dry sand and water....mixing up only the volume you need on site with belts and chutes.

              It was pretty neat
              sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


              • #8
                Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                I used a mix on site truck like XJim describes for my foundation and walls (I did not stack block but formed walls and poured the founddation and walls all at once). It was great!

                I mixed using an electric mixer for the slab and insulating slab. It was a huge pain in comparison.

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                • #9
                  Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                  I had a friend help me with my slab, with two people a wheelbarrow is easy work. I found that if you use one 80 pound bag of ready mix, mixing was not hard work. The only part that took some effort was moving the bags to the oven location.


                  • #10
                    Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                    Here in Louisville, we have a company called "Mini Mix" that has a fleet of small concrete trucks. They specialize in 1 to 3 yard loads. I used 1.5 yards for our oven foundation. They even added colorant that I provided.

                    The truck was small enough to maneuver around our house and down a small hill to our patio. The guy was on-site less than 30 minutes. It was a breeze.

                    My son and I only had to do the fun part of playing in the concrete. Not lifting, no mixing, no sore muscles. I'll be using them again for the hearth pour.

                    Last edited by Ken524; 09-08-2007, 08:08 PM.
                    Ken H. - Kentucky
                    42" Pompeii

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                    • #11
                      Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                      To fill my cores I used wheelbarrow and for the hearth I went to a local retailer who sells concrete as needed. They mix and sell concrete down to a 1/4 yard if that is all you need. They then pour into a mixing trailer or non-mixing one with no extra charge for the trailer. I purchased 3/4 of a yard for my hearth and two of us unloaded in less than 20 minutes.


                      • #12
                        Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                        I mixed the concrete for my first two cores in a bucket using a hammer drill with a special paddle bit. This sucked bit time. For the rest of the cores I used a wheelbarrow which was much easier. For the hearth slab, I plan on renting a mixer from home depot or one of the other equipment rental places in my area. Hopefully they'll have one that does more than one bag at at time seeing as how I plan on using about 24 or so.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                          My husband and I have mixed 95 80lb bags of concrete in a wheelbarrow for our WFO and BBQ. All we have left is pouring the concrete countertop and bar which will take another 10-15 bags. Who needs a gym membership? Now I'm mixing bucket after bucket of surface bonding cement to cover 550 square feet of outdoor kitchen areas. People say we have too much time on our hands. Actually, we're just too cheap to pay someone else to do the work. Karen


                          • #14
                            Re: Concrete by the wheelbarrow, mixer, trailer or pump

                            We mixed the concrete for the foundation in a rental mixer from Home Depot for $40. When the time came to pour the hearth we realized it would be hard to use the same mixer and transfer the concrete up to that level.

                            The solution for us was something called the Odjob Mixer, a rigid and tough plastic container in which you add the water, the bag of concrete (30 kg / 66 lbs), put the lid on, then roll on the ground for 30 seconds. It mixed each batch perfectly in 30 second, as promised! My husband lifted and poured it himself the first few times, then we switched to a two-person lift & pour that worked much better (more control tipping & pouring). While we got a fair workout, it really wasn't too bad and was relatively quick. That mixer also cost $40 but now we're set if we ever need to mix concrete again and it's very compact to store.

                            The mixer is available from Lee Valley Tools (they're a top-notch company with really good tools and other great products, have an on-line catalogue and ship in Canada & the U.S., maybe elsewhere too) if anyone is interested in getting one. Definitely better than a wheelbarrow and shovel!



                            • #15
                              spanish concrete delivery

                              I got a kick out of this concrete delivery method!
                              sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!