You can use this guide on how to mix concrete by hand for a pre-mixed bag like quikcrete or if you're using a bag of cement, sand, gravel, and water.

The instructions are very similar, the only difference being with the pre-mixed bag the dry materials are already combined.


1. Wheelbarrow
2. Water/Hose
3. Bags of Portland Cement
4. Gloves/Safety glasses
5. Shovel and/or Hoe
6. Sand and Gravel
7. Pre-mixed bags Quikcrete (optional)
8. Electric mixer (optional)

how to mix concrete

If you're using portland cement, sand, and gravel the rule of thumb is to mix 1 shovel of cement with 2 shovels of sand and 3 shovels of gravel. Put these 6 total shovel fulls into a wheelbarrow or the electric mixer before you start adding water.

When you add more dry material keep these 1:2:3 ratios of cement, sand, and gravel the same for a consistent mix.

If you're using the pre-mixed bags all the ratios are done for you. You just need to add the correct amount of water for a workable mix. The amount of water will be on the back of the bag.


STEP 1. Shovel the proper ratio of dry mix, or empty the quikcrete bag, into the wheelbarrow or electric mixer.

how to mix concrete

STEP 2. Start adding water, a little at a time, turn the dry material over and over while mixing it with the water.

STEP 3. Completely wet all the material, mix for a couple of minutes until you reach a clay consistency.

STEP 4. If a clay like consistency is too dry for your project, add a little more water, mix some more until you reach a pancake batter like consistency. Not too wet or you'll weaken the mix.

STEP 5. If the mix gets to loose or water-like, just add a little more dry material to stiffen it up.

Keeping the ratios of cement, sand, gravel, (1:2:3) and water the same throughout the project will insure consistency until you complete your job.

A 5 ft. x 5 ft. square pad equals 25 square feet. If this pad is 4 inches thick it will take 15 of the 80 lb bags of pre-mixed quikcrete.

If you double the square feet to 50 which is 10 ft x 5 ft x 4 inches thick that will take 30 bags of quikcrete in the 80 lb bags.

A bag of 80 lb quikcrete sells for about $3.35 US dollars in Maine.

A bag of 94 lb portland cement sells for $8.63 US dollars in Maine.

A bag of 50 lb sand sells for $2.34 US dollars in Maine.

Learning how to mix concrete by hand is simple but it is hard work. 

If your project is any larger than 50 square feet then it might be worth calling a Ready-mix concrete company and have them deliver the concrete in a concrete truck. The concrete will come all mixed and all you have to do is place it inside your forms.

See HOW TO POUR CONCRETE to learn how to pour a concrete slab.

One yard of concrete will do 80 square feet (8 x 10) 4 inches thick and will cost about $100.00 dollars US from a ready-mix plant. They may charge a small load charge, be sure to ask to make sure it's cost effective to go this way. The same size pad would take 46 pre-mixed 80 pound bags of Quikrete or Sakrete.  That's a lot of mixing by hand.

We usually buy pre-mixed bags of concrete when we mix concrete by hand. We also use an electric drill with a mixing paddle, it's much easier and faster if you have these tools available.

how to mix concrete

Click on CONCRETE SLAB CALCULATOR to figure out how much concrete to order.

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