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How Long Should You Mix Cement In A Mixer?

Most modern construction projects will use concrete in some shape or form as it’s versatile, strong and fairly easy to work with. To shave a little off your budget, you may opt to mix your own, but you may be asking, how long should you mix cement in a mixer?

Concrete should be mixed continuously for around 3-5 minutes until the substance appears smooth, with no large chunks of the aggregate present, and takes on a workable consistency. The ideal concrete mix will be uniform and show no visible signs of aggregate segregation. 

Our team is well acquainted with this stuff, having used concrete to lay hundreds of driveways, patios and foundations over the years. In doing so, we’ve developed a pretty solid formula for creating the perfect cement mix whilst using the best cement mixers. It’s all about timings! 

How To Mix Cement In A Mixer

Before you start mixing your cement, you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies, including:

  • Water
  • Cement
  • Sand 
  • Stone

If your mixer runs off an electric motor, you’ll need a suitable power source for petrol or diesel fuel-fed mixers. You’ll need to ensure you have a supply of the correct fuel. With these considerations met, it’s time to begin mixing your cement.

Prepare the mixer

First, it’s a good idea to have a look at what are the type of mixers you need before you start. Then wet the inside of the mixer drum with a little fresh water, as this will make cleaning the device much easier later on. Pour a small amount of water into the barrel and spin it for a couple of rotations to coat the inner walls suitably.

Load your materials

We recommend sticking to a standardised 1:2:3 ratio when loading the base materials of concrete into your mixer, so add 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts stone to the drum.

Add your sand first, followed by an identical measurement of water, then cement and finally stone. Repeat this until you’ve reached your intended material volume, making sure to keep track of how much water has been added by storing it in a bucket or measured container.

You should also remember that a concrete mixer’s drum can only be filled to around 80% of its maximum capacity, so factor this into your measurements before getting to work!

Adjust water levels

When mixing your first few batches, make small, measured water additions until you reach the consistency you’re looking for. Aim for a thick mixture with no chunks of the stone aggregate present, as this will be easy to work with and suitably strong when dried.

Never add water in excessive amounts, as you can always add more as you work, though removing moisture will be tricky without affecting your ratio of base materials.

Clean the mixer

Though not strictly a step in the mixing process, it’s essential to clean the inside of the drum ASAP to prevent residue from drying along the walls. This process is helped by the water you added previously. Now you’ll just need to add more water to the drum along with a bit of gravel and spin the machine a few times to remove any remaining residue.

FAQ’s

What is the minimum mixing time for concrete?

The minimum mixing time for concrete is 1 minute, provided that your mixer is running at a reasonable speed and not overfilled. Most concrete mixers can produce usable concrete in around 1-2 minutes.

What is the maximum mixing time of concrete?

The maximum mixing time of concrete is 90 minutes, though it’s best to remove and lay concrete within 1 hour of mixing, as most cement formulas will set in around 60-90 minutes.

How fast should a cement mixer turn?

A cement mixer should turn at a minimum speed of 15 revolutions per minute (rpm) to prevent the mixture from hardening, though most modern cement mixers turn at a speed closer to 20-30rpm to speed up the process.

Last Word

With that, you should be all set to start mixing the perfect batch of concrete. Generally speaking, cement should be mixed for between 3-5 minutes per batch in order to produce a smooth and workable substance, though the minimum viable mixing time is at least 1 minute.

Combine your base materials at a ratio of 1:2:3 parts sand to cement to stone, and remember to add measured amounts of water in small quantities as you work. Make sure your mixer can turn at a rate of at least 15rpm and don’t forget to clean the drum promptly after use! If you need help finding out if it’s cheaper to mix your own concrete, see our other useful guide here.