When you need concrete for a project, you could hire a concrete contractor to help. You could also attempt to DIY concrete, but it is very tricky to get right in both consistency and drying time. Somewhere in between is ready mix concrete, and here is how you can get it right every time.
Read the Instructions
Contractors mix concrete so often that they rarely need to read the instructions. You, on the other hand, probably do not work with concrete every day, so read the instructions. Concrete is a picky mistress; if you do not follow the mixing instructions to the letter, the concrete will not be the right consistency, nor will it dry properly.
Follow the Instructions Exactly
If the instructions say that you need exactly one gallon of water to every five pounds of concrete mix, you make sure it is exactly one gallon of water and not a drop more or less. Concrete of this type is engineered down to a science. It has to have exactly the right balance of water to dry mix. That is why the instructions tell you precisely what you need to be mixing in terms of water to dry mix.
Use a Drill and an Auger Bit in a Five-Gallon Utility Bucket
Unlike the contractor, you do not have access to a concrete mixing truck. There are portable concrete mixers, but that requires more learning to operate. The fastest and best method for you to mix concrete is with an electric drill, an auger bit, and a five-gallon utility bucket into which water and concrete mix are stirred by the drill and auger.
Mix Small Batches Until You Get It Right
The first, second, and even the third time that you mix this quick concrete you might mess it up. It is smart to mix small batches until you get it just right. When you get it just right, use that batch to start your project. Then mix more until it is just right, and repeat.
If you are lucky, you will get it right on the second attempt the first time and the first attempts every time after that. If you only need a very small batch of concrete, then concrete ready bags are ideal for your project. If you are going to do a much bigger project, such as the apron of your driveway, it is smart to mix perfect small batches until you have enough small batches to do the project all at once. You may need some help mixing this stuff quickly, however, as it tends to begin hardening as soon as it has sat for fifteen to thirty minutes.