The simplest way to understand concrete mixes

Concrete is the most used element in construction, hence knowing the basics of mixing the components is key to successful delivery of projects. Let’s take a look at the most common types of concrete for residential projects and their mix.

The components of concrete are cement, sand and aggregate (mostly chippings).

The components are mixed in different parts to achieve the desired strength of concrete suitable for the particular use intended. For the sake of simplicity, we would not delve into the many concrete types which are rarely used in residential buildings.

A typical mix appears like this…1:3:6.

1 refers to the part of cement

3 refers to the part of sand

6 refers to the part of aggregate/chippings

So it goes this way … Cement:Sand:Aggregate. CSA will be a good abbreviation to remember regarding the mix arrangement. 1:3:6 Mix means you are mix one part of cement with 3 parts of sand and 6 parts of aggregate to achieve your concrete.

The most basic measuring tool for concrete mix is the head-pan.

Still using 1:3:6 concrete mix as an example, it means if we wish to achieve a 1:3:6 mix we simply use

1 part of cement to 3 parts of sand to 6 parts of aggregate/chippings

 

But note that:

2 head-pans of cement equals one bag of cement.

So 1:3:6 mix will be

2 head-pans of cement to 6 head-pans of sand to 12 head pans of aggregate.

This also translates to

1 bag of of cement to 6 head-pans of sand to 12 head pans of aggregate. The image below is a visual description of 1:3:6 mix using 1 bag of cement.

Likewise

1:2:4 mix will be

2 head-pans of cement to 4 head-pans of sand to 8 head-pans of aggregate

This also translates to

1 bag of of cement to 4 head-pans of sand to 8 head-pans of aggregate

 

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