Strong, Versatile and Durable Concrete
The strength, versatility and durability of concrete makes it a very common building product. There are many different types of concrete from which to choose, and additives make a wide range of colors possible. Larger projects like driveways can be labor intensive, but smaller jobs like setting fence posts or mailboxes are relatively easy. Knowing how to handle concrete and which type is right for the job at hand will help you achieve the best possible results. Shop for concrete mix and concrete tools at The Home Depot.
As you shop for concrete mix, consider:
What is the difference between concrete and cement?
What types of premixed concrete are available?
How much concrete will it take to complete your project?
What steps can you take to ensure concrete safety?
Concrete and Cement
Concrete and cement are not interchangeable terms. Concrete is a mixture of sand, gravel, water and cement. Cement refers to the dry powder substance to be combined with other components that form various types of concrete once mixed together. The gravel component is sometimes referred to as crushed rock or aggregate. Mixing these ingredients in the right proportion is essential to producing durable, high-quality concrete.
There are a number of very useful, specialized premixed concretes readily available in case you do not want to mix your own concrete, that are a simple and economical way to produce the right concrete for any job. All you have to do is add the right amount of water. Once you know what type of concrete you want to use, take careful measurements of the area you’re working on to ensure you have enough concrete to finish the job.
Consult the following links to explore the different types of concrete and cement that are available:
Premixed Concrete Types
Concrete Mix Type
Uses and Benefits
|Anchoring||»Contains an epoxy for adhering to regular concrete
»Two-and-a-half times stronger than regular concrete
|Fiber Reinforced||»Designed to reduce cracking, chipping and flaking
»Contains more cement and hundreds of tiny fibers for greater strength and
»Ideal for patios, driveways, sidewalks and more
»Eliminates the need for wire mesh in many applications
|Gravel Mix Fiber- Reinforced||»Stronger than sand mix
»Use in situations where more than 2" thickness is needed
|Lightweight||»Provides more cubic feet than a comparable amount of regular concrete
»Ideal for pouring slabs, steps, walks and more
|Regular||»Ideal for general concrete work
»Use for setting posts, building sidewalks, steps, patios, floors, downspout
troughs and more
|Sand Mix||»Mixture of Portland cement with graded sand
»Use in applications where less than 2" thickness is desired
»Ideal for patching and topping chipped concrete surfaces
»Use for laying flagstone, paving bricks and as a grout
|Vinyl Fiber-Reinforced||»Also referred to as "patching mix"
»Use for general repair
Premixed Cement Types
Cement Mix Type
Uses and Benefits
|Cement||»Ideal for plugging leaks in masonry or concrete walls
»Use for caulking and repairing chimneys, walls, sills, sealing pipes and
»Stronger than concrete
|Fast Setting||»Blend of fast-setting cement, sand and gravel
»Becomes hard in 20-40 minutes
»Ideal for setting swing sets, fence posts, clotheslines and mailboxes
|Hydraulic Water- Stop||»Stops flowing water in 3-5 minutes|
|Mason||»Use for setting brick, block, stone and more
»Designed for commercial-grade performance and contractor use
|Mortar||»Ideal for laying brick, block and stone
»Provides a long-lasting, strong bond
»Use to repoint existing walls and for patching or filling
|Plaster Patch Fiber-Reinforced||»Use to repair plaster cracks and holes
»Ideal for fixing plaster surfaces after remodeling
|Portland Cement||»Most common type of cement used for making concrete
»Reinforced with limestone, shale clay and iron
|Quick-Setting Cement||»Sets in appoximately 10 minutes
»Ideal for repairs that require rapid setting
»Use to repair concrete pavement, bridges, tunnels, culverts, curbs, floors,
steps, retaining walls, swimming pools and more
|Latex Cement||»Mixture consisting of Portland cement, sand and a liquid latex binder
»Does not require water
»Ideal for making tough repairs to existing concrete
»Can also be used for setting some types of stone and brick
»Comes in a bucket that can be used for mixing
Bags of Concrete Mix Required to pour 4" and 6" Slabs
Making your own concrete requires time and effort, but it can save you money. To make standard concrete, mix 1 part Portland cement, 1.5 parts gravel, 1 part sand with .5 parts water. Use water that is clean and free from acid, alkaline, sulfate and oil. Test consistency by using the back of a shovel to create a smooth surface. Then, use the side of the shovel to create a groove. If the surface remains smooth and the sides of the groove hold their shape, your concrete is ready.
If you cannot create a distinct groove, add more water. If the groove caves in, mix in more dry ingredients. Mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow provides an easy way to move it around the jobsite.
You'll want to take certain safety precautions while you work to avoid injuries such as back strain, or irritation of the eyes, skin and lungs. Concrete is caustic, meaning the chemical elements it contains have corrosive properties that can irritate or burn your skin if you come in direct contact with it. Knee pads will help you stay comfortable over the course of long jobs.
• Use a mask to filter out concrete dust and avoid working in poorly ventilated areas
• Wear waterproof gloves and boots to protect hands and feet
• Use your legs to lift heavy concrete to reduce strain on your back