Finding the most suitable concrete mixer for sale or for rent will allow you to create more consistent mixes in a more efficient manner.
Portable concrete mixers are available in a variety of sizes, including 3 cubic foot, 12 cubic foot, and 14 cubic foot models.
The size (3 cubic ft., 12 cubic ft., 14 cubic ft.) refers to the overall capacity of the mixer and not the amount of concrete you can mix with it.
In other words, you can't mix 14 cubic feet of concrete in a 14 cubic feet mixer. The most you could use would be 10 cubic feet. Bags of concrete mix will say how many cubic feet of concrete the bag will make.
For example, it takes 23 of the 60 pound bags of concrete mix to make 10 cubic feet of concrete. If you are using one of the little 3 cubic feet mixers, you can only safely mix two bags in a batch.
Small mixers - those in the 3 cubic ft. range,
are good for mixing concrete for small projects like securing fence posts, patching concrete, or pouring small concrete slabs.
Mixers at the larger end of the portable scale can be used for large jobs, like foundations, patios, sidewalks, and driveways.
Any time you plan to mix concrete, it is important that you take all the proper safety precautions. Cement mix contains the hazardous material lime.
Avoid touching the dry mix with your hands. Any mixing should be done in a ventilated area, and you should wear gloves, safety eyewear, and a face mask during the process. It is not a healthy hobby to breathe cement dust.
Do not let wet concrete touch the skin. It releases an alkali that can damage skin. If skin contact does occur, wash immediately with generous amounts of water. Concrete is caustic and will burn skin.
If wet concrete splashes into the eyes, flush with large amounts of water and seek medical help.
You should never put your hands or your head inside the moving drum of a cement mixer. Clothing should not be so loose that it could get caught in the mixing drum.
When mixing concrete, place the concrete mix and admixtures that may be required inside the drum.
Next, start the mixer and gradually add the exact amount of water recommended by the manufacturer of the concrete mix.
It is important that you mix the concrete long enough so that all the ingredients (aggregate, fiber, water, color) are mixed thoroughly together.
In the United States, if the rental company you're using is an affiliate of
the store employee should be able to direct you to the best choice of concrete mixture for your needs.
While the 3 cubic ft. mixers can fit into a vehicle for transport, larger ones generally cannot.
Towable mixers come with >a hitch for towing.
The 12 cubic ft. models are usually tow-able and may offer removable or retractable towing bars. Some of the mixers of this size have hydraulic dumping systems to save on manual labor.
Mixers larger than 12 cubic ft. models will come on a motorized trailer that agitates the drum with the concrete while you drive so that you get some of the advantages of large ready-mix trucks, plus hydraulic systems to lift and pour the concrete.
There are two basic ways of powering a portable cement mixer: with electricity or with gas.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both.
Gas-powered mixers of course, do not depend on electricity, and so can be used at remote job sites or other places where there might not be electricity.
Any interior concrete mixing, however, is out of the question for gas powered mixers for reasons of safety and ventilation.
Electric-powered mixers depend on there being a reliable source of electrical power, but they are the only kind you should use for indoor applications like
making concrete countertops.
Gas powered mixers produce fumes that require that they be run outdoors.
Drums on portable concrete mixers are made of polyethylene or steel.
Polyethylene drums are easier to clean than steel drums, but steel drums are more durable. Cleaning a polyethylene drum requires tapping it with a rubber hammer to loosen the stuck on bits of concrete.
Cleaning out a steel concrete drum may actually require the use of a concrete breaker. The lower and wider the drum opening is, the easier it will be to load.
Some mixers are able to mix mortar, stucco, grout, or plaster in addition to concrete, but ask first to be sure when renting or buying a mixer so that you get the right one for you.
As I mentioned earlier, using a cement mixer correctly will save you tons of time and stress in both the short and long term while increasing your efficiency.
If you always take the
proper safety precautions
while keeping your mixer clean and maintained, you will be quite happy you have it.
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