What is a Concrete Mixer?
Exactly what is sounds like, a concrete mixer is a piece of construction equipment used to mix and create concrete on job sites.
Also known as a cement mixer, the device combines cement, water, sand, aggregate and other materials in order to create wet concrete, which is then poured or placed in a specific area.
After a few hours, the concrete will begin to set and dry, turning rock solid.
The rock solid concrete is tough, strong, and durable and is used for a multitude of purposes:
Pipes and Drains
The main purpose of a concrete mixer hasn’t changed since it’s original patent in 1904 created by Richard Bodlaender. Combine ingredients in the right amount to obtain the perfect mix and substance.
Portable concrete mixers have become a staple on construction sites. Everyone has seen those large yellow cement trucks with the large mixing drums.
It is important to pour and place concrete, rather than drop it or throw it into the desired area. Throwing concrete makes all the aggregate/stone fall to the bottom, which ends up making the concrete weaker.
Cement VS Concrete
Although most people used the two words interchangeably, there is a difference between concrete and cement.
By definition, cement is a powdered substance made from clay and calcined lime. Cement can be bought at any large or small home improvement store.
On the other hand, concrete is a mixture of a few main ingredients, one of those being cement. The other being water, sand, gravel. Mixed together, these ingredients will form concrete.
So next time someone asks where they can buy concrete, they really mean cement. And next time someone asks how to make cement, they technically mean concrete.
How to Prevent Concrete From Cracking
One of the most common issues for individuals setting down concrete, is preventing the substance from cracking as it’s drying.
The best way to prevent cracking is by letting the concrete dry slowly and gradually.
When concrete dries too fast, especially in extreme temperatures like the heat or cold, it can crack and damage it’s structural integrity.
How to Prevent Concrete From Drying too Fast
Similar to cracking, another issue faced by those wishing to utilize concrete is preventing it from drying too fast.
When concrete dries too fast it cracks. But drying concrete too fast is an issue with larger projects which utilize a large amount of the substance.
You want all the concrete to dry at the same time rather than at different time or days.
To prevent the concrete from drying too fast, a plastic sheet can be placed over the concrete to retain the water. Keeping the water inside will ensure a gradual settling and curing process.
Another great way to prevent a fast drying process is by misting the concrete with a spray bottle. Just a little bit of water will help keep the concrete hydrated and aid the settling process.
Concrete Mixer Tip and Tricks
It may seem like an easy and straight forward device to use, but a concrete mixer can be used incorrectly, resulting in concrete results and the comprising of worker safety.
Inspect the Concrete Mixer
Even if you’re renting a concrete mixer from a reliable source, always be sure to inspect the mixer itself for damage and cleanliness.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Concrete dries fairly fast. In about 24-48 hours, it’ll have enough strength for you to walk on it.
The last thing you want is to have the concrete ready but your construction site or project not.
Prepare the site or area before prepping the concrete.
That means removing articles and debris, cleaning the area, and having everything set in place.
Flatten the ground, section off the area, and obtain the correct state and local permits. Obtaining permits is not just about safety but also about obeying the law.
Wear the Right Safety Equipment
Making contact with cement/concrete can cause chemical burns on your hands, skin, mouth and eyes.
Ingesting or breathing in cement dust is especially dangerous and can burn the inside of their stomach/lungs.
When working with cement always be sure to wear the proper safety equipment.
This means wearing:
When the concrete is done mixing, it’s time to empty and pour it out.
Do not use the concrete mixer to hold any extra mixture. It could turn solid and become difficult to remove. Then you’re really in trouble…
Clean the Concrete Mixer
After finishing up with a concrete mixer, it’s a good job to clean the inside to remove/prevent the buildup of dry bits of concrete.
Dry concrete is a pain to remove, so you might need a high-powered pressure washer to really clean the inside.
If the pressure washer still isn’t working, you might need a special chemical spray specifically designed to remove concrete and let it sit. Afterwards you should be able to chip away the remaining concrete with a chisel.
Another good idea is to clean the concrete mixers engine. Pouring cement can go everywhere, causing dust to make it’s way into the motor. Use an air compressor or duster to shoot all that dust out.