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Versatile cement for home constructions and projects
Cement is widely used around the world for all kinds of projects. It’s uniquely versatile as is starts as a dry mixture that when adding water becomes as semi-liquid material that can be shaped and poured in any kind of mold and finally dries into a rock-hard material. For all the tools involved in the moulding process, visit our Moulding and Millwork page.
Concrete is a popular construction material that many homeowners are familiar with. It can be used to create a new patio floor, steppingstones in your garden, or anchoring your fence posts, which you can find in our Fencing category. It’s extremely versatile, and for smaller projects, there are easy-to-use, premixed concrete that already has cement, sand, and gravel mixed.
For bigger projects, it’s recommended to buy the cement, sand, and gravel separately and mix it yourself, either in a wheelbarrow or in a mixer. For big constructions, a metal reinforcement such as welded mesh or rebar is added for strength and to minimize cracking, which is crucial for assuring a long-lasting and safe construction. You can also explore our selection of mesh and rebar on our steel page.
Concrete vs Cement, what’s the difference?
Even though we use the terms concrete and cement interchangeably there is in fact a quite big difference between the two. Concrete is the building material itself and cement makes up a part of it. Cement is never used alone as it works as the binding agent for the other ingredients. The concrete is the complete building material composed of cement, sand and larger aggregate like gravel that makes it a strong structural material used for a wide range of purposes such as large constructions to home driveways but also DIY art.
Mortar is another building material that is composed of cement and mixed with fine sands and water together with lime. Mortar is not as strong and is therefore used as glue that holds blocks, bricks, stone, and other masonry material together.
There are many different types of mortar designed for different applications and it’s important to choose the right one for your project.
You have grout that is formulated without the lime additive and has a higher water content that allows it to flow and fill gaps between tiles. Based on the high-water content you can’t consider it a binding material but a filling material instead.
The thin set is a related product also made of cement, used to attach tiles to walls or floors. Thin-sets have latex and polymer additives to increase the bonding strength and they are also referred to as thin-set adhesive because of its adhesive quality.
How to mix concrete
Concrete is a useful building material that can be used around your home. As it’s strong and durable, it can be used for all kinds of projects and lately it has become popular to make concrete kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops and sinks.
For your smaller DIY projects, you don’t need a big mixing truck delivering your concrete, but you can mix it yourself at home with the help of simple tools. It starts with learning to add the right amount of water to the mix and then also curing it properly. The manufacturer will mention the ratios on the bags but always start with less water and add more as needed to avoid weak concrete.
When starting to mix the components, it’s wise to do the work close to the pouring site as carrying concrete is a heavy job. But also, to save time as quick mix concrete will begin to set around 20-40 minutes after adding water, meaning you have little time to fully mix and pour it before the time is out!
And to meet these tight deadlines, make sure to have all materials and tools ready nearby to not waste precious time!
How to clean access concrete
When using any cement products for a project it can easily get messy. And for an easier cleanup you should use Muriatic acid. This product is a very strong acid that can clean dried residues of any surface.
But use it with caution! It’s an effective cleaning agent but also a dangerous product that can cause harm if not used with precautions. Using proper gloves and protective glasses is a way to avoid injuries or acid burns. And make sure to clean the surface properly after removing the cement to not have any left-over residue from the Muriatic acid.