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Effective use of concrete mixer

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  • Effective use of concrete mixer

    On the weekend I expect I'm going to be mixing concrete to fill in my 10 fence post bases.

    I bought many bags of Sakrete concrete mix. The regular stuff, not quick set or anything specialized.

    I'll be renting a mixer from home depot.

    I've done it before, but I wonder if there are any pro tricks that someone here might share? I've gotten to the point that I feel I know how much water to add at what rate, but one thing I don't know is how to deal with mixing subsequent batches and cleaning the drum.

    Should I clean it after every time I use it? If I don't - will the older mix harden in there, making it a nightmare to clean in the end?

    Is there an effective way to clean it? I always have a hard time around the agitators, they have some weird unintuitive shape so I don't even know whether I'm scraping metal or hardened concrete.

    Thanks in advance.
    Andrew Smith
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  • #2

    Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

    Clean the outside and in with a strong jet from your hose nozzle, leave the water inside and add the mix on top while it's turning. add more water as necessary.
    Jerome
    Canada's South Coast

    Port Colborne On.
    Every loaf of bread is a tragic tale of grains that could've become beer.......but didn't....

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    • #3

      Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

      Between each batch hose down the outside of the mixer, prior to mixing each batch spray down the inside of the mixer, this water will be used for your next batch.

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      • #4

        Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

        Just pour the dry mix in the holes and add water??

        Probably work as as well and be a lot less work.
        Egon
        from
        The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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        • #5

          Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

          Originally posted by Egon View Post
          Just pour the dry mix in the holes and add water??

          Probably work as as well and be a lot less work.
          There is a type of cement designed just for this method.

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          • #6

            Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

            The last 2 fences I help my kids with, we just poured in the dry mix, 6" at a time, with a little water and a bit of tamping between layers. The posts have stayed as solid as can be. It was just the regular cheapest dry mix that HD had. It's so much less work than using a mixer.

            Another advantage of doing it this way is that the posts are solid immediately with no need to wait for setting.

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            • #7

              Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

              When I was a Landscape contractor we routinely made our holes at 48" deep and flared the bottom. The posts had at least 4 6" double galvanized nails driven in the bottom about 6" up. We would then mix concrete mix in a wheel barrow. Each hole got about 12" of concrete in the bottom and back fill with existing soil. Its almost impossible to heave a post set this way as typically there's nothing for the frost to grab. Bring concrete to the top of the hole is a heave waiting to happen and IMHO sonotubes are a waste of time.
              nnieman and Steve in Ayr like this.

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              • #8

                Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                I generally find it easier to mix bag mix in a wheelbarrow than in a small drum mixer. (pouring thebag into the hole and putting a hose on it is the easiest) I own a cement mixer and I wouldn't bother getting it dirty for 10 bags let alone spend money to rent one. It's just another piece of equipment to clean up and it's way easier to get a bag of concrete mix into a wheelbarrow than into the mixer.

                Concrete mixers are designed to have the materials shovelled into them not 80 lb sacks of concrete mix hoisted up to your shoulders and dumped into them. (mortar mixers are different, they're designed to have the bag thrown on top and the contents fall into the mixer) It all blows out in your face and if you're lucky it'll just suck the bag into the mixer and not your clothing or other body parts.

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                • #9

                  Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                  Thanks everyone.

                  I own a cement mixer and I wouldn't bother getting it dirty for 10 bags let alone spend money to rent one
                  How about if it were 30 bags?

                  I've never mixed more than a couple of batches in a wheelbarrow. I'm worried that once I get tired I'll start making mistakes.

                  When I was a Landscape contractor we routinely made our holes at 48" deep and flared the bottom. The posts had at least 4 6" double galvanized nails driven in the bottom about 6" up. We would then mix concrete mix in a wheel barrow. Each hole got about 12" of concrete in the bottom and back fill with existing soil. Its almost impossible to heave a post set this way as typically there's nothing for the frost to grab. Bring concrete to the top of the hole is a heave waiting to happen and IMHO sonotubes are a waste of time.
                  That makes a lot of sense, but the design of this project won't allow for it. I need concrete all the way up, sticking out of the ground a bit.

                  Just pour the dry mix in the holes and add water??
                  The mix that allows for that is twice as expensive, and I already bought the regular stuff.
                  Andrew Smith

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                  • #10

                    Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                    Andrew, are you pouring 8 inch holes with 4 inch four by fours set in the concrete? Or are you pouring 12 inch holes using six by sixes? Or anywhere in between?

                    usually if I am doing a small pours, I will use ready mix. Small jobs I’ve done about six. Usually basement bathrooms where I need to break up the cement and do plumbing and top. I can usually mix and pour 3 to 4 bags in an hour (1 man) if I’m set up and ready to go. Set up time usually takes an hour. Cleanup time usually takes another hour and I’ll usually use a wheelbarrow.

                    if I was you and you have a couple helpers save your rental and buy a wheelbarrow. You usually can’t pour cleanly into the hole if there is a post in there. If you’re using a mixer you’ll need to build a trough and you’ll need somebody manning the trough and slopping the hole. This is really a two-man job. Renting the mixer might save you about two hours worth harder work. But I’m pretty sure it’ll take you two extra hours for pick up and cleanup and return with time restraints. You don’t want to be pouring in the rain!

                    for larger jobs which my last two were a 8, x 9’ x 5” pad and separate job of 10 sono tubes 12” dia I pulled out the cement mixer. Getting the cement mixer out of storage in my backyard, getting set up with a garbage pail for water, hose with sprayer, trailer load of A gravel, 10 bags of Portland cement powder, Will easily take me over two hours. I like my cement mixer clean when done. I sprayed down between every filll for about two rotations using the hose. I mix aboat 1 gallon to one heaping shovel of Portland and 3 to 5 A gravel.

                    weather using the mixer or wheel barrel my last four of excess...

                    I dump excess into a few cardboard flats from 24 pop boxes. These are easily broken up using a hammer ( in 24 hours) and put into the garbage. Then I usually spray out the mixer in the upright position and dump it into another box or onto a piece of plastic that I can pick up and toss.
                    Last edited by Matt Matt; 09-29-2018, 12:44 AM.
                    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
                    Sir Isaac Newton.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                      The mix that allows for that is twice as expensive, and I already bought the regular stuff.

                      The regular stuff will do just fine for the task at hand. It was used long before the special mix’s appeared on the market.
                      Egon
                      from
                      The South Shore, Nova Scotia

                      Comment

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                      • #12

                        Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                        One little tidbit that I will toss out here ... I have found that a shovelful of "Mortar Mix" in a mixer full of regular Portland makes it smoother and easier to trowel when finishing. Also (ok, one more tidbit) ...letting it mix a bit longer is better than not mixing it long enough. I'd let it spin for at least five minutes and ten doesn't hurt.

                        .... just my experience, other's may vary.

                        cheers

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                        • #13

                          Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                          Adding lime will also make it stickier.
                          Egon
                          from
                          The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                          • #14

                            Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                            Originally posted by Egon View Post
                            The mix that allows for that is twice as expensive, and I already bought the regular stuff.

                            The regular stuff will do just fine for the task at hand. It was used long before the special mix’s appeared on the market.
                            Yep. You don't need the special stuff at all.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Effective use of concrete mixer

                              Anybody know what is in the ''special mix''? I have never used any premixed products, it seems like an expensive way to buy sand and crushed stone that I am accustomed to buying by the truck load. Do you add water when using these mixes in a post hole?

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