Certain jobs require an expert touch to get the best possible results. Laying concrete or screed certainly falls into this category.
Choosing the cheapest supplier or attempting a DIY solution is not recommended for a process as involved and specialised as concreting. The repercussions from a bad job are just too significant. Using poor quality ingredients can cause cracks to form in the concrete and ruin any chance of a quality finish.
So before you go out and order the concrete for your next project, have a read below to see why opting for mix-on-site concrete instead of ready-mix concrete (and why using a Mixamate all-in-one pump truck to deliver that concrete) is the smart choice for your end product, your time and your wallet.
What is ready-mix concrete?
You have two main options when it comes to concreting: ready-mix or mix-on-site.
If you’re unfamiliar with these terms you could be forgiven for thinking that ready-mix is the better option, because it sounds like everything is done for you, whereas mix-on-site sounds like a lot of work. But this is not the case at all.
Contrary to how it sounds, ready-mix concrete is the more demanding of the two – in both time and effort.
Yes, it will arrive ready to be poured, but there are time constraints. As the batch is mixed off site, the process of the concrete beginning to set is already in motion before the truck even hits the road. Once you’ve factored in traffic, travel and set-up time you’ll only have a brief window to actually get the concrete in the ground. You’ll be heavily reliant on everything going your way on the day – even if you have a ready-mix plant within a short distance of your site.
You get what you ask for versus paying for what you use. Your pre-order calculations need to be extremely accurate for the plant to mix and deliver the volume of concrete needed for your specific job. If your calculations are not spot on you may be left with excess concrete – or not enough!
What is mix-on-site concrete?
As the name suggests, the raw materials for mix-on-site concrete are brought to the place of work and then mixed together on site, right before it is poured and laid.
There are several benefits to waiting until being at the site to mix the concrete, not least that the hydration process that causes concrete to set doesn’t begin until the materials are on location. So there will be no rushing around required to get it poured before it hardens. There is ample time due to the mixing happening on the work site – unlike with ready-mix concrete, which begins to set back at the plant.
Mixing on-site also ensures the ratio is correct. When a ready-mix batch leaves the plant, that’s what you’ll be getting, for better or worse. Whereas mixing on site allows the supplier to use an onboard computer to calculate the correct volume of concrete and ensure there is no wastage once the work is completed.
Is it cheaper to mix your own concrete?
You may have an urge to forgo a supplier altogether to mix your own concrete, particularly when it comes to smaller projects. It might seem like a cost-effective and simple solution, but this is unlikely to be the case in the long-run.
Taking a DIY approach to mixing concrete can be fraught with dangers. It only takes one small error in the calculations, or in the mixing and laying process, for the whole project to be ruined.
Quality concrete is about more than just the ingredients, it’s also about achieving a good concrete mix ratio. Measuring manually is not the way to get the perfect blend. Using a pump truck’s onboard computer to calculate the exact amount of materials needed is the only way you are assured of getting the correct mix.
Once you decide to use mix-on-site concrete or screed, you just have to make sure you choose the best delivery system.
Considerations when pumping mixed-on-site concrete
The basic way to mix on site is to use a volumetric truck. This involves a specialised truck mixing the concrete to your specifications on site. Sounds great, but there are a couple of issues.
One is that you’ll actually need to hire TWO trucks: the volumetric mixing truck and a separate pump truck to get the concrete from the mixer to the jobsite. This means double the inconvenience, double the workers and double the space for parking. It also doubles your risk, because if one of the trucks is delayed or late for any reason, the other will be waiting around unable to get started – which is a waste of time and money.
Even if you are able to coordinate the two trucks and find space for them to park back-to-back on the street or on your site, there will often be a whole load of mess from having to connect the two trucks. Mess that will fall on you to clean up afterwards.
However, there is another mix-on-site option: a Mixamate all-in-one pump truck.
Using a Mixamate pump truck
Our Mixamate all-in-one pump trucks provide all the benefits associated with mix-on-site concrete, but without any of the limitations of traditional volumetric trucks.
First of all, we only need one truck to do the job. We provide lightweight and flexible hoses that connect directly to the mixer and enable us to access hard to reach foundations and work spaces. Our pumps also don’t require cleaning out on site, so our drivers will always leave the site as clean as they found it.
In addition, another advantage of having the pump on the same vehicle as the concrete is that it saves 1000 truck journeys per month compared to having a separate pump truck.
Finally, all of our concrete is produced by weight, not by volume, and this gives a perfect mix. Our concrete is regularly tested by our expert technicians as well, so you know you’ll be getting the best quality materials to complete the job.
To find out more about how our unique Mixamate all-in-one pump trucks can provide an expert service on your next project, get in touch with our team.