How To Make Concrete

If you have a small patio or concrete project to pour, here is how to make concrete.

Make sure that you are ready to pour before you make the concrete, as you do not want the concrete to dry out and get old.

Also be sure that you have prepared the groundset-up your concrete formscompacted the fill and made the final grade, and installed concrete reinforcement and concrete expansion joints.

For clarification, concrete is a combination of gravel, sand, portland cement, and water. Many call concrete "cement" but cement is just one ingredient in concrete. You would not want to pour your patio with only cement.

Choose one of these two "recipes" to make your own concrete:

1. How to Make Concrete Using Pre-mixed Bags - This is the easiest because all of the dry ingredients are pre-mixed for you.


  • Premixed Bags of Concrete - You can buy these at a home improvement store. There are several types of products to pick from depending upon the project. To pour a concrete patio, choose an exterior mix with 4000 psi (pounds per square inch) and 6% air. This same mix can be used for sidewalks, driveways, or stoops.
  • Water
  • wheelbarrow or large container
  • Shovel

Directions: Follow the step-by-step directions on the bag. Mix the concrete and water with your shovel in the wheelbarrow.

2. How to Make Concrete Using Raw Materials


  • Coarse aggregate gravel - 3 parts - Can be obtained from a sand and gravel supplier
  • Fine aggregate sand - 2 parts - Can be obtained from a sand and gravel supplier
  • Cement - 1 part - Can be obtained from a home improvement store.
  • Water


Mix all of the dry ingredients in your wheelbarrow. Approximately half of your mix will be the coarse aggregate gravel. 1/3 of the mix should be fine aggregate sand and 1/6 of the mix should be the cement. Mix enough water to make a smooth consistency. There should not be any lumps.

**The less water you can use the better. If the concrete mix gets too wet, you will compromise the strength of the concrete.**

Additives - If you would like any of these additives in your concrete mix, look for pre-mixed bags with these additives. Sometimes the bag of the portland cement that you purchase will have additives. You will not find fiber mesh in the premixed bags or the portland cement. You will need to add this yourself. Here are several additives that may be needed depending upon your situation:

  • Air entraining agents - Air bubbles are desirable in the concrete of an exterior project that is located in a colder climate. Air entraining agents create those bubbles. Air bubbles improve the durability of concrete that is exposed to moisture during cycles of freezing and thawing. If you live in a climate where it does not freeze, you will not need this additive. Entrained air will also improve the concrete's resistance to surface flaking and scaling caused by chemical ice removers such as salt.
  • Fiber Mesh - This additive is not essential but is an extra line of defense against concrete cracking. To obtain this plastic fiber ingredient, you will need to contact either a ready-mix concrete supplier or a concrete specialty supplier. Use one bag of fiber mesh per cubic yard of concrete and mix well.
  • Calcium Chloride - This additive makes your concrete get hard faster. This would only be needed in cooler weather (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit). In temperatures below 50 degrees, concrete can take over 24 hours to set. This additive can be obtained from a home improvement store and bought in 1 gallon jugs. Mixing directions and amounts are listed on the back of the product.

If your project is too large (over 100 sq feet), or you want the convenience of having the concrete ready-mixed for you, then you will need to order your concrete from a ready-mix supplier.

The next step in pouring your own concrete patio is to pour the concrete.

If you live in the Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs area and would like an estimate on your next concrete project, request a quote:

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›How to Make Concrete

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