Cement Work: Tips for Working With Concrete

DIY Construction Projects With Concrete (Cement)

Concrete work ("cement" work) can be satisfying ​when you step back and behold a finished construction project that has turned out well. But concrete work can also be frustrating for beginners who "take the plunge" without adequate preparation. In the following tutorials, I discuss concrete work tips that will help beginners' DIY construction projects go more smoothly.

First a bit of terminology, for the sticklers out there.

Although "concrete" and "cement" are used interchangeably by many do-it-yourselfers, there is, in fact, a difference between concrete and cement ("mortar" is part of the "mix," too). Essentially, it is concrete that is the actual building material. Cement is merely an ingredient in concrete: it is what binds the other ingredients (namely, aggregate and sand) together. So, while it is a critically important element of concrete, "cement" is not synonymous with "concrete." Typically, when people say that they need to go out and buy "cement" for a DIY project, what they really mean is "concrete."

Concrete Work Tips: How to Mix Concrete

For beginners, preparing for concrete work starts with learning how to mix concrete. Adding sufficient water to the mix and curing concrete properly are two fundamental concerns in concrete work. Consult the following resources to learn more:

Concrete Work Tips: How to Build Concrete Patios

A common DIY project involving concrete work is building concrete patios and landings. Such concrete work can be taxing on your muscles, but homeowners can reduce fatigue somewhat by renting concrete mixers.

Consult the following resource to learn more:

How to Build Concrete Patios

Concrete Work Tips: Resurfacing Concrete

But what do you do when your concrete patio begins to show its age? Well, there's a product readily available at hardware stores meant for just this sort of concrete work. Find out how to resurface concrete in the following resource:

Resurfacing Concrete

Concrete Work Tips: Garden Stepping Stones

Perhaps you think building a concrete landing or patio is biting off more concrete work than you can chew, as a beginner? In that case, start with a smaller project and make garden stepping stones. Plant lovers will find this type of concrete work more to their liking, as they can plant ground covers in between their garden stepping stones afterward. Consult the following article to learn more:​

Garden Stepping Stones