Old 04-24-2008, 05:21 PM
mfiore's Avatar
Master Builder
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Michigan
Posts: 919
Default Basic concrete tips

OK, I need some real basic tips on working with concrete, as I've never done it before.

Something that may seem obvious to those that do this frequently:

How do you clean this stuff up? By this, I don't necessarily mean the stuff on the bricks, but everything else. For instance, how do I keep my wheel barrel from become coated in a crust of rock? What do I do with any left over concrete (aside from throw it over the fence). If I have half of a barrel left over, what do I do with it? Has anyone dumped a load onto their lawn when trying to wheel it from the truck parked at the curb? This is my nightmare. Am I stuck with a new sculpture in my yard?

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Old 04-24-2008, 05:59 PM
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Location: Gilroy California
Posts: 159
Default Re: Basic concrete tips

Mfiore, although I am by no means an expert, here are some things I have learned since starting my oven project. Once you start pouring the cement, it will be best to clean each tool you use as soon as you are done with it. Don't let the cement dry on the tool. (I learned this the hard way.)

Same goes for the wheel-barrel. As soon as I was done with my pour, I hosed it off quickly. The extra cement that was left in the wheel barrel I just dumped it next to the slab, and let it serve as a fill. I think if a little cement gets dry in your wheel-barrel you can get it out by hitting it with the edge of the shovel, it will just crack out.

I washed all the tools over the mound of dirt I removed, since this is all going to be taken to the dump as soon as I am done with my project and can borrow a buddies truck to carry it all away.
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:11 PM
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Location: Longview, WA
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Default Re: Basic concrete tips

Sounds like good advice. With excess material, just dump it in the least consipicuous spot you have. You can pick it up like a big rock later and dispose of it with all the other wood cuttings, brick cuttings, etc.
Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

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Old 04-24-2008, 11:33 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 376
Default Re: Basic concrete tips

Save the bag the cement comes in. Pour your leftovers into it at the end of the day. Then you can just put it in your trash. I have a concrete form I bought that makes walkways called a pathmaker. You can get them for under $20. I take my leftovers and pour them into one of the cells in the form and make pathway stones for the rest of the yard.
The final rinse of the tools etc I do into a small hole dug out back. With enough water, the sand and rock drop out and the small amount of cement is so dispersed that is never sets up. My hole is about 30 inches accross and 24 inches deep. I rinse all the tools into it and then let water trickle into it for about 20 minutes.

Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:15 AM
mfiore's Avatar
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Default Re: Basic concrete tips

All great tips. Thanks tons.
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:17 AM
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Default Re: Basic concrete tips

My book on cement says that its a bad idea to clean tools under running water, because the cement can then harden inside the plumbing and over time it can get blocked up. I find that rubbing everthing clean with scrunched up newspaper works really well - it'll even get off cement thats nearly dry.

If any drops on you lawn it'll be easy to pick up as George said - but if you drop any on paving or garden path, it can leave marks. If you have any areas like that it'd probably be best to cover them with a large sheet of plasic or something.
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