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Updated November 19, 2023

Author: Michael Day

When making your own concrete it's important to use the correct concrete mixing ratios to produce a strong, durable concrete mixture.

Some basic** mixing ratios for concrete are 1:2:3, 1:3:3, 1:2:4**. These mixing ratios are based on the proportions of cement : sand : stone in that order. The ratio you use will depend on what psi strength you need.

**To make concrete there are four basic materials you need:**

- Portland cement - You can buy this in a 94lb bag
- Sand - Course or Fine will work (course sand will give you a stronger mix)
- Aggregate (stone) You can use 3/8", 1/2", or 1/5" stone for aggregate
- Water - Clean cool water is best.

I'm mixing 1 shovel of cement, 3 shovels of sand, and 3 shovels of stone with water to mix this concrete.

A good concrete mixture is a specific blend of cement, water, aggregates, and admixtures used to create concrete.

The ratio of each ingredient used in the mixture determines the strength, durability, and workability of the resulting concrete.

Different types of** concrete mixtures** are used for different purposes, such as for foundations, walls, and slabs.

Below are some different mixing ratios based on the strength of concrete you need:

Listed above are some standard concrete mixing ratios used in the U.S.

Listed above are some standard concrete mixing ratios for the rest of the world.

One of the best mixture ratios for a concrete slab is **1 : 3 : 3 (cement : sand : stone)**, this will produce approximately a 3000 psi concrete mix.

This mixing ratio is excellent for a shed slab, but it's also good for most concrete patios, footings, steps, and foundation walls.

The proper mixture of water with the cement, sand, and stone forms a paste that coats the stone and binds the materials together after the mix hardens.

The strength of the concrete will depend on how much water you use to mix it all together.

Basically this means the more water you use to mix the concrete (very fluid) the weaker the concrete mix.

The less water you use to mix the concrete (somewhat dry but workable) the stronger the concrete mix.

Accurate concrete mixing ratios can be achieved by measuring the dry materials using buckets or even a shovel.

**Which Concrete to use**: When I order ready mix concrete for a slab like the one above, I ask the concrete dispatcher for "a 3000 psi mix with 3/4 stone, micro-fiber, air-entrainment, and water reducer.

**1 : 3 : 3 MIX RATIO**

To produce a **3000 psi cubic yard of concrete** (27 cubic feet) the **concrete mixture ratio** is:

- 517 pounds of cement or (234kg)
- 1560 pounds of sand or (707kg)
- 1600 pounds of stone or (725kg)
- 32 - 34 gallons of water or (132L)

This mixing ratio will give you a concrete mix that is strong, durable, and good for most concrete projects.

A cubic yard of concrete will fill an area 8 feet wide by 10 feet long by 4 inches thick, or 80 square feet @ 4 inches thick.

At 6 inches thick a cubic yard of concrete will fill an area 52 square feet and at 5 inches thick, it will fill an area that's 65 square feet.

**1 : 2 : 3 MIX RATIO** (approx.)

To produce a cubic yard of** 4000**** psi concrete**, you have to adjust the concrete mixing ratio to:

- 611 pounds of cement or (277kg)
- 1450 pounds of sand or (657kg)
- 1600 pounds of stone or (725kg)
- 33- 35 gallons of water or (133L)

As you can see, a little more cement and a little less sand is required to produce a stronger concrete mix that's used for driveways, pool decks, sidewalks, exterior patios, and commercial garages.

Knowing the weight of the materials and how much water to use should help you determine how much cement, sand, and stone to purchase to complete your project.

For estimating purposes, you can make about 1 cubic yard of
concrete with 5.5 **94-pound bags** of cement, 17 cubic feet of sand, and
18 cubic feet of gravel. (It takes about forty 80-pound bags of
prepackaged materials (like Quikrete) to make 1 cubic yard of concrete.)

Or... 1 cubic meter of concrete will require approximately 7.15 bags of Portland cement, .48 cubic meters of sand, and .51 cubic meters of gravel.

- A mixing tub for mixing the ingredients in
- A wheel barrow for mixing in and transporting the concrete
- A mason hoe for blending / mixing the concrete
- A shovel with a fiberglass handle
- An electric mixer for faster mixing
- A 1/4 horsepower electric concrete mixer
- A water bucket
- Water proof gloves (cement paste can burn your skin)
- Safety googles
- Add color to the concrete mix

Learn how to make concrete without a mixer, just mix it by hand.

If you need less than 1 cubic yard of concrete (or if ready-mix is not available) you can mix your own concrete on site either by hand, using the tools above, or by using an electric concrete mixer like the one in the link above.

To make smaller batches of concrete, use the same
proportions, but with smaller quantities, substituting buckets for
cubic feet. (For the mix proportions given previously, you'd use 1
bucket of cement, 3 buckets of sand, 3 buckets of stone, and 1/2 bucket
of water.)

For any batch size, the most important thing is to keep the proportions of the ingredients the same.

You can double or triple the
batch size simply by doubling or tripling the number of buckets for each
ingredient you add to the mixture.

The mix ratio of 1:2:3 consists of 1 Part cement, 2 Parts sand, and 3 Parts stone (plus some water) to make a concrete mix you can use for most any building project.

The way you measure the ratio could be in shovels, buckets, or wheel barrows. As long as you're consistent you'll get a good strong mix.

Generally, when the stone ratio is more than the sand, this concrete cures a little stronger than a 1:3:3 ratio. The difference is in the workability of the concrete. The sand tends to make the concrete a little more easier to work with. The less sand the rockier the mix is going to be.

- Concrete molds for making walkways
- Concrete forms and molds for making a patio
- Make concrete look like old wooden boards for stepping stones
- A turtle stepping stone
- Concrete planter's
- Concrete edging for your lawn or garden

A pre-packaged bag like this is basically a 1 : 2 : 4 mixture for concrete, this is the standard for a lot of concrete mixtures.

These concrete mixture ratios are designed for the concrete to reach full strength at or around 28 days old.

Curing the concrete can be done by keeping it wet after the first day until the concrete is 7 days old.

Curing is an important step to take for the concrete to achieve full strength by 28 days.

Watch my video talking about what concrete mixing ratios and what it takes to achieve 3000 psi, 3500 psi, 4000 psi, and 4500 psi concrete.

I also break down the equivalent 20mpa, 25mpa, 30mpa, and 35mpa concrete mixing ratios.

See the video HERE.

Below you can use this concrete mix ratio calculator to determine how many cubic yards and bags of concrete mix it will take to do your project.

Make sure to use the proper dimensions (Feet and Inches, or Meters and centimeters) to get accurate results.

Once you know how many cubic yards or meters (or how many bags) it's going to take, you can figure out the weight and proportions of cement, sand, stone from there.

EXAMPLE: A project that takes TEN 80 lb bags of concrete mix, means you need 800 lbs of material.

A 1:3:3 mixing ratio calculates to 115 lbs of cement to 343 lbs of sand and 343 lbs of stone. (Rounded off)

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Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about mixing concrete:

What is the ideal concrete mixture ratio for foundations?

- A common concrete mixture ratio for foundations is 1:2:3 (cement: sand: gravel) with a water-cement ratio of 0.5.
- What is the best concrete mix for a garage floor? The garage floor mix I use for all my garage floors is a 3500 psi. mix with 3/4 stone, micro-fiber, air-entrainment, and water reducer.

Can I change the mixture ratio depending on the application?

- Yes, the mixture ratio can be adjusted depending on the intended use of the concrete. A higher strength concrete will require a different mixture ratio than a lower strength concrete.

How do I determine the right mixture ratio for my project?

- The right mixture ratio depends on several factors, including the strength required, type of cement used, and the aggregates used. Use a concrete strength calculator and follow the recommended mix ratios.

Can I use more water to make the concrete easier to work with?

- Adding too much water to the mixture will weaken the concrete and make it more prone to cracking. Always follow the recommended water-cement ratio.

What happens if I use too much cement in the mixture?

- Using too much cement in the mixture can make the concrete brittle and prone to shrinkage. Always follow the recommended mix ratios.

Can I use different aggregates in the mixture?

- Yes, different types of aggregates can be used in the mixture. However, they must be compatible with the cement and have the right particle size.

Can I add more cement to the mixture to make it stronger?

- Yes, adding more cement to the mixture can make the concrete stronger, but make sure to follow the recommended mixing ratios or the concrete could be more susceptible to shrinkage cracks.

Can I mix the concrete by hand instead of using a mixer?

- Mixing concrete by hand is possible, but it can be difficult to achieve a consistent blend. It's recommended to use a concrete mixer for best results.

How long does it take for concrete to dry and cure?

- Concrete dries and cures at different rates depending on the temperature and humidity. It takes about 28 days for concrete to reach its full strength.

Can I use admixtures in the mixture?

- Yes, admixtures can be added to the mixture to enhance specific properties of the concrete, such as setting time, workability, or durability. Always follow the recommended dosages.

**For more on concrete slabs see the information below:**

WHAT IS THE CONCRETE MIX RATIO OF 3000, 3500, 4000 AND 4500 PSI CONCRETE?

POURING A CONCRETE SLAB

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