A Strong Start: The Best Concrete Mix for Every DIY Project
Would you love to build a beautiful, durable concrete planter or patio but don't know where to start? Use this guide to pick the perfect Quikrete mix for your next DIY passion project.
If you have any experience with home improvement, you need no convincing about the strengths of concrete as a building material. Sleek and attractive as granite or marble but a fraction of the cost, concrete is durable, economical, and DIY-friendly, perfect for constructing outdoor features, patios, and even furniture and decorative pieces. With concrete mixes from Quikrete—a company that has nearly 80 years in the business—building a breathtaking outdoor space is as simple as adding the right amount of water to the mix, pouring the prepared concrete, then letting it cure.
Before you embark on the project of your choice, though, you’ll first need to select the right mix. Differences in concrete mix formulas make certain varieties better suited for certain projects. For example, special additives improve the flow of concrete for pouring countertops, while other additives boost the impact resistance of concrete for lawn borders. So, which bag of Quikrete should you bring home? Ahead, we break down exactly which concrete product you should buy for five popular outdoor DIYs, and why, so your concrete creations will stand the test of time.
1. BEST FOR TRADITIONAL CONCRETE SURFACES: Quikrete Concrete Mix
Stop dreaming about that private outdoor oasis and start building it with concrete! With a concrete mix that simply requires water like Quikrete Concrete Mix, you can easily install a patio, sidewalk, or steps that will withstand the daily grind of a household as well as inclement weather for years to come. The original Quikrete recognizable by its iconic yellow bag reaches an impressive compressive strength of 4,000 psi within a month, which is more than enough for any indoor or outdoor concrete project.
Watch the video tutorial to learn how to pour a patio, sidewalk, or other outdoor flooring with Quikrete.
2. BEST FOR PROJECTS REQUIRING EXTRA STRENGTH: Quikrete 5000 Concrete Mix
An outdoor paradise is even more inviting when you can deck it out with outdoor kitchens, fire pits, benches, hot tubs, and other elements—though the extra weight of these sorts of furnishings could benefit from a concrete patio will add up. The ideal concrete for a new patio that won’t chip, crack, or spall anytime soon under all of the pressures of entertaining (literal and figurative) needs high-compressive strength like Quikrete 5000 Concrete Mix. The commercial-grade blend of cement, stone or gravel, and sand is specially formulated to reach a compressive strength of 1,500 psi in 24 hours (and 5,000 psi within a month). A concrete that strong can even handle vehicle traffic, so you can be sure entertaining family and friends on your backyard patio will be no problem.
3. BEST FOR SETTING POSTS: Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix
Are you replacing a fence, mailbox, or lamppost, or installing a swing set or basketball hoop for the kids? Setting the posts for these common outdoor structures in concrete makes for sturdier, safer, and more stable structures in the long run. Because posts can be unwieldy to handle, it’s best to select a concrete product that sets quickly. That’s where Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix comes in. It will let you set your posts pronto and finish the project faster. The special blend of cement, sand, and gravel can be poured directly into a posthole and then topped with water—no mixing required. Even better? The fast-setting formula saves time and spares your arms the fatigue of standing around holding a post while waiting for the concrete to cure. It sets in a speedy 20 to 40 minutes!
Take a peek at the video tutorial to see for yourself how quick and easy it is to set your own posts with Quikrete.
4. BEST FOR BUILDING CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS: Quikrete Countertop Mix
Host a backyard barbecue, plate up poolside hors d’oeuvres, or pour your guests a cold one—you can do it all and more with a concrete countertop! To ensure an easy pour and a smooth, impact-resistant surface for either outdoor or indoor meals, look for a concrete mix with additives that boost flowability and give the concrete high compressive strength, such as Quikrete Countertop Mix. Its super-plasticizer additive yields an ultra-flowable concrete so it’s easy to fill the form and get a smooth finish without much work. Meanwhile, the mix’s low water-to-cement ratio yields a high-strength, hard-wearing concrete. The countertop will set within 18 hours of pouring, but within a month it will reach an impressive compressive strength of 6,000 psi to stand the test of time. Minimal concrete shrinkage along with vibration during curing will guarantee smooth countertops without unsightly dimples or voids.
Check out the video tutorial to create crowd-pleasing concrete countertops for all your outdoor entertaining needs.
5. BEST FOR BUILDING CONCRETE LAWN BORDERS: Quikrete Crack-Resistant Concrete Mix
Whether they frame the lawn, flower beds, trees, or a footpath, concrete lawn borders help define and showcase your home’s most enchanting outdoor features. You can install your own lawn borders for a fraction of what a professional landscaper would charge by pouring mixed concrete into a plywood or vinyl form along your desired contour. But a word to the wise: It’s critical to use a concrete mix that can withstand the rigors of lawn mowers and other heavy equipment that can potentially damage a lawn border. Quikrete Crack-Resistant Concrete Mix is a great option. It’s formulated with synthetic fibers that make is averse to cracking and spalling, so you can enjoy a beautiful and rugged lawn border that is resilient to accidental run-ins with lawn-care equipment.
Follow this video tutorial on building a concrete lawn border to add character and definition to your yard today.
This content is paid advertising created in partnership with Quikrete. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.