Using concrete might seem messy and intimidating. But, with the best practices in mind, working with it becomes simple and straightforward.
There’s no need to worry about the difficulty of the job when you have the means and know-how to work with cement. Here are a few helpful pointers to ensure your first concrete project looks great and stands the test of time:
Put an Additive for Easier Mixing
You may think you need to buy expensive concrete to achieve great quality output. But, most projects can start with a cheap but high-grade material from the hardware store. If you’re doing a simple DIY, stick to the standard mix with no additives required.
But, if you’re doing a larger and more complicated project, use additives. They let the concrete mix flow into a mold easier and improve its quality and manageability. Other chemicals are utilized for set-retarding, air entrainment, water- and shrinkage-reducing, accelerating, and corrosion-inhibiting purposes.
Perfect the Pouring Process
When mixing concrete, aim for a consistency that’s not too runny or dry. It should be like cookie dough. And, when pouring it into a mold, do the vibration technique. Tap a rubber mallet against the sides and bottom of the container as you transfer the mixture. This method removes holes and gaps in the cement that you’d otherwise need to fill later.
Use the Right Mold
One of the best materials to use as a mold is melamine. This is popular among contractors. You may also opt for cardboard or recyclable plastics, but they have some disadvantages. For example, porous material like wood will let its content seep out and create a rough finish.
In a melamine structure, the water in the concrete mix has nowhere to go. So, as it dries, the cement mimics the mold’s smooth appearance, resulting in a flawless finish without the extra work.
Choose the Right Finish
There are simple solutions to make concrete look more expensive compared to its original utilitarian appearance. Design elements, like acid stains, dyes, and stamping, all create a unique custom finish. For a beautifully smooth surface, polish it with an orbital sander and then apply a thin coat of water-based acrylic sealer. When it dries, the project will be sleek and easier to clean.
These are just some tips for working with cement mixtures. Other DIYers and even professional contractors all use the best concrete adhesive for great results.