So, you’ve determined to pour a concrete pathway, patio or slab — that’s step one towards enhancing your property. However do you could have the proper instruments to work with concrete? 

I don’t imply the supplies to make a type and fill it. For example, you’d want lumber, gravel base, a degree, concrete combine and a tamp, together with different stuff to make a slab. However slightly, the essential gear and instruments to finish nearly any concrete job. 

Earlier than you begin a concrete mission, test this checklist. Likelihood is, you’ll want these instruments.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf wears safety glasses before starting a concrete project

Protecting Gear 

Keep in mind, security first! Publicity to concrete combine can irritate your pores and skin, so at all times put on rubber boots, pants, a long-sleeve shirt and rubber gloves. 

You’ll additionally want splash-proof, chemical-safe glasses to guard your eyes, and an N95 respirator to forestall inhaling concrete mud.

Lastly, it’s a good suggestion to put on earplugs if you happen to’re utilizing a conveyable mixer. They are often noisy! 

Man pours a bucket of water into the Quikrete countertop concrete mix in a wheelbarrow


If you must haul luggage of cement or concrete combine round your yard, load them up in a wheelbarrow. Your again will thanks! Wheelbarrows are additionally excellent for mixing small quantities of concrete combine and water.

Simply empty the concrete combine right into a wheelbarrow and type a despair on the heart of the combo. Then pour two-thirds of the really helpful water quantity into the despair. (An 80-pound bag of Quikrete concrete mix requires about 3 quarts of water.)  

Lastly, work the combo with a hoe and step by step add water till it has a uniform consistency and appears like thick oatmeal. 

Man loads portable concrete mixer from concrete in a wheelbarrow
(©kuchina – inventory.adobe.com)

Transportable Concrete Mixer

In terms of mixing concrete, a wheelbarrow and hoe get the job performed. However if you wish to actually velocity up the method and save your power, get a conveyable concrete mixer. 

Prepared-to-assemble mixers include a stand, mixer barrel, mixing tines, wheels and {hardware}. An honest concrete mixer with a 5-cubic-foot barrel might value $300 to purchase, or you might lease one for just a few hours for about $35. 

Both method, this machine takes the guesswork — and elbow grease — out of blending concrete. So you possibly can give attention to pouring a patio in report time! 

“Today’s Homeowner” co-host Chelsea Lipford Wolf mixes concrete in a bucket

Bucket, Drill and Mixing Paddle

Searching for a low-budget transportable concrete mixer? Look no farther than a 5-gallon plastic bucket, a drill and a mixing paddle.

Simply connect the blending paddle to the drill, pour the concrete combine and water into the plastic bucket and begin drilling! Or, actually, mixing. 

In the event you’ve obtained a drill and a bucket readily available, you should purchase a mixing paddle — suitable with a corded or cordless drill — for simply $15. It’s the right DIY setup for small concrete initiatives!   

Danny Lipford looks at a wet concrete patio in production at the job site


A screed is an extended straight edge that you simply run backwards and forwards over concrete to degree it. Strengthened aluminum screeds, starting from $30 to $100, can be found on the house heart in several sizes for many wants. 

Or you are able to do what I do — get monetary savings and make your personal! 

You’ll want two items of wooden: one strip must be lengthy sufficient to increase over the shape’s edges whereas a 1-by-4 nailed beneath it must be brief sufficient to suit inside the shape. 

Simply run the screed alongside the formwork edges to clean the concrete floor, and take away any extra concrete combine.

Man mixes concrete mix in a wheelbarrow with a shovel


Irrespective of what number of concrete initiatives you’ve labored on, there’s no such factor as a clear pour. You’ll at all times have voids to fill, and a shovel turns out to be useful to maneuver small quantities of concrete.

As well as, do not forget that extra concrete combine from screeding the floor? You’ll want a shovel to take away and relocate it to wanted areas. 

Professional tip: A sq. shovel, versus a rounded gardening shovel, is the perfect device for this job. However in a pinch, any shovel will do. 

Using a concrete float on a freshly poured concrete steps


Screeding poured concrete ranges the floor, however you continue to must take care of imperfections. That’s why you’ll want a float to assist end the job. 

Simply after the floor has misplaced its sheen, and the concrete begins to harden however continues to be workable, run the float over it with an arching movement. 

Operating a float over screeded concrete compacts the concrete — so it’s denser and stronger — and smooths the floor. It could value $12 on the house heart however the affect is priceless. 

Concrete edger tool
(Picture: The Residence Depot)


A concrete slab with rounded edges has a completed look that’s engaging and practical. Use a concrete edger (simply  $10 on the house heart) to forestall chipping and spalling. 

Wait till the concrete is agency and has misplaced its sheen, however continues to be workable, after which begin edging. 

This step isn’t crucial for a concrete subfloor that gained’t be seen or immediately walked on, but it surely’s a should for rubbish can pads, patios and sidewalks. 

Giving concrete resurfacer a broom finish

Stiff-Bristle Broom

Whether or not you’re pouring a brand new concrete slab or resurfacing an previous one, you must texture the floor with a stiff-bristle broom. This offers the concrete a non-slip floor that’s uniform in look. 

Making use of the feel follows leveling the floor with a screed and smoothing it with a float. Wait till the concrete begins to show strong, however whereas it’s nonetheless comfortable. 

Stiff-bristle brooms vary from $20 to $50 on the house heart. Whichever choice you select, it’s a small value to pay for the peace of thoughts that comes from making the slab safer to stroll on. 

Closeup of a stained concrete patio with a new control joint scored into the structure

Groover or Noticed

Concrete, like most constructing supplies, expands and contracts as seasons change. It’s necessary to reduce the cracks in a slab to protect its look and performance. 

A technique to try this is to make straight-line management joints simply after the concrete begins to harden and the floor has misplaced its sheen. 

You may minimize management joints utilizing a groover and any straight board. Simply maintain the groover parallel to the board at predetermined places and run it vertically down the slab. 

Management joints must be minimize to no less than 1/4 the slab’s depth and at equal intervals. For example, add grooves each 10 toes for an extended driveaway and each 4 toes for a sidewalk. 

Use a bronze or heavy-gauge stainless-steel groover (roughly $25) to attain freshly poured concrete. Or you possibly can simply noticed cured concrete.

These are the essential instruments wanted to create and end most concrete initiatives. What mission are you engaged on? Tell us within the feedback beneath!