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Thread: DIY Home brew Concrete

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    DIY Home brew Concrete

    Like so many farms, we have a ridiculous amount of private road to maintain, most is across dead flat lightish land and was essentially built up over the past 120 years with random stone and hardcore. As soon as we get heavy rain or after a hard series of frosts, the lane potholes like the Somme!

    Tarmac does not work even when put down at 2-3" as the lane simply mushrooms with the weight of vehicles. Long, long experience tells me concrete is the only solution that will work. BUT, of course the killer is cost!

    The main farm drive would require 1.2km at 3m wide at 150mm deep, which is a lorra, lorra concrete and a lorra lorra cash!! Not even taking into consideration any of the steel that may be required....

    Now, we have about 25 acres of land on the farm that was laid down in the last ice age and 1.2m below the top is lots of sand and gravel! I have never had it analysed, however my SO and her Sister were looking at flogging the field to a local sand quarry about 500m away (across a river) but the logistics of building a bridge etc were insurmountable. However, the quarry Co said that the quality of the material was good.

    So, I have quite possibly got ballast that could be used for a concrete roadway. What I am wondering is what proportion of the cost of concrete is actually the cement in it? There are numerous companies that will produce concrete on-site with a mobile plant and I am wondering if one of these would be feasible?

    Is it legal to extract sand and gravel for one's own use on the same farm?
    Last edited by steveR; 14-01-14 at 11:50 PM.
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    cement isn't that dear, around 3 a bag, less if you buy it by the pallet.
    your sand is ok, a chap round here uses river sand and an old cement lorry and loads it with a front loader to do slabs for houses and the building inspector sais it ok.
    regarding the road, we did a road for a chap with the milking lorry coming each day and we put strips of around two and half feet each side where the wheels would go. steel went in as well and it worked well. so maybe that's the way to go.
    if your mixing it yourself don't skimp on the cement, work it out properly or it will be weak.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by banjo View Post
    cement isn't that dear, around 3 a bag, less if you buy it by the pallet.
    your sand is ok, a chap round here uses river sand and an old cement lorry and loads it with a front loader to do slabs for houses and the building inspector sais it ok.
    regarding the road, we did a road for a chap with the milking lorry coming each day and we put strips of around two and half feet each side where the wheels would go. steel went in as well and it worked well. so maybe that's the way to go.
    if your mixing it yourself don't skimp on the cement, work it out properly or it will be weak.
    I would be buying cement by the lorry load!!

    Ours is I guess river sand/gravel, as the river is only 100m away :-) The mixing could be an issue for such a huge quantity, but can be sorted I am sure. I like the idea of an old mixer wagon, I was thinking a big PTO unit.

    The strip idea will not work i suspect, as the ground needs a full width slab, however, i may be able to get away with a bit less in the middle, say, 100mm instead of 150mm? As long as the steel is covered top and bottom....

    I think i may have a chat with the local Uni in Wolverhampton, as there is a cement and concrete anorak there in the Civil Engineering Dept, and he will be just the man to speak to regarding mix ratios etc. ;-)
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Found this on the net..

    -------
    C7.5 (low strength) 1:3:6 or7 (Cement/Sand/Coarse Aggregate)
    For general non-structural use bedding in kerbs, posts, stabilising underground pipes etc.

    C10 to C15 (medium strength) 1:4:6 to 1:4:5 (Cement/Sand/Medium Aggregate)
    Used in typical house foundations, footings for garden walls, load-bearing areas etc.

    C20 (strong) 1:2:4 (Cement/Sand/Medium Aggregate)
    Used as a footing mix in house construction in softer ground. Also as the slab foundation to floors, bases for caravans and pathways, hard landscaping.

    C25 (stronger) 1:1.5:3 (Cement/Sand/Medium Aggregate)
    Can be used for foundations to larger houses and for creating floors. Can also take light traffic. Also suitable for lining pools and fosse septic.

    C30 (very strong) 1:2:3 (Cement/Sand/Fine Aggregate)
    A general-purpose, easy-to-remember mix for many hard-wearing applications.

    C35 (industrial strength) 1:1.5:2.5 (Cement/Sand/Fine Aggregate)
    Structural concrete for major construction work and roadways

    C40/45 (atomic bunkers) Major civil engineering projects, bridges, skyscrapers and unlikely to be needed for domestic use!

    ------

    So ui do need to get some aggregate sample analysed I guess ;-)

    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Concrete is only as good as it's base - have you tried Terram below the stone ?

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Done a few calcs now, and ready reckoning is around 1250t aggregate/cement mix. So approx 210t of cement on a 5-1 mix. Around 33k on cement alone. GULP!

    Ready mix @ approx 80/cu = 51k
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Jesus Christ! that nearly gave me a heart attack, how are you feeling

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by Courier View Post
    Concrete is only as good as it's base - have you tried Terram below the stone ?
    About 140 years too late for that!! ;-) The base material is pretty solid now, it is just that it is porous and needs a solid waterproof top.
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by banjo View Post
    Jesus Christ! that nearly gave me a heart attack, how are you feeling
    Having a beer or 3 tonight :-)
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    Tarmac does not work even when put down at 2-3" as the lane simply mushrooms with the weight of vehicles.
    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    About 140 years too late for that!! ;-) The base material is pretty solid now, it is just that it is porous and needs a solid waterproof top.
    So which is it ?

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by Courier View Post
    So which is it ?
    The two are not incompatible.... ;-)

    Spoke to a civil engineer donkeys years ago, and he stated that if we put a 4" solid concrete top on the existing base the roadway would be more than adequate for farm traffic. I am going to cost for 6" + some steel to allow for increased weights of everything these days!
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    6" of concrete and steel or don't bother.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Probably not much help but if I was doing it I would divide the road it to 4 or 5 lengths and do 1 a year to spread the cost , you would get to the end sooner than you think !!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    About 140 years too late for that!! ;-) The base material is pretty solid now, it is just that it is porous and needs a solid waterproof top.
    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    Tarmac does not work even when put down at 2-3" as the lane simply mushrooms with the weight of vehicles.
    Tarmac like concrete is only as good as the base it's laid on and if your base isn't good enough for tarmac i very much doubt it's good enough for concrete.

    So if as you say the base isn't good enough for tarmac i wouldn't spend in excess of 50k on concrete without sorting the base out first.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    The planning stuff has probably changed but when we lived in Cheshire 15 years ago I didn't need planning permission to "win sand from the agricultural field to use as construction material on the same agricultural holding". There was a specific exemption under permitted development or something like that. Had to be quarried by the farmer for use on the farm but there will probably be all sorts of environmental legislation in the way now. You'd need to check with a planning professional (and by that I don't mean the muppets at the Local Council!.)

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by Insane Ubolt View Post
    Probably not much help but if I was doing it I would divide the road it to 4 or 5 lengths and do 1 a year to spread the cost , you would get to the end sooner than you think !!
    That has been considered :-) Cost may be met from funds from "off farm" resources but even then a 2-3 year build would be nice.
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by miketm150 View Post
    6" of concrete and steel or don't bother.
    I suspect your're right!

    The other point I have seen in several cases is to go for the slowest cure possible, a good DPM on the base is supposed to help subsequent strength dramatically, as is covering the fresh pour for several days.
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    Found this on the net..

    -------
    C7.5 (low strength) 1:3:6 or7 (Cement/Sand/Coarse Aggregate)
    For general non-structural use bedding in kerbs, posts, stabilising underground pipes etc.

    C10 to C15 (medium strength) 1:4:6 to 1:4:5 (Cement/Sand/Medium Aggregate)
    Used in typical house foundations, footings for garden walls, load-bearing areas etc.

    C20 (strong) 1:2:4 (Cement/Sand/Medium Aggregate)
    Used as a footing mix in house construction in softer ground. Also as the slab foundation to floors, bases for caravans and pathways, hard landscaping.

    C25 (stronger) 1:1.5:3 (Cement/Sand/Medium Aggregate)
    Can be used for foundations to larger houses and for creating floors. Can also take light traffic. Also suitable for lining pools and fosse septic.

    C30 (very strong) 1:2:3 (Cement/Sand/Fine Aggregate)
    A general-purpose, easy-to-remember mix for many hard-wearing applications.

    C35 (industrial strength) 1:1.5:2.5 (Cement/Sand/Fine Aggregate)
    Structural concrete for major construction work and roadways

    C40/45 (atomic bunkers) Major civil engineering projects, bridges, skyscrapers and unlikely to be needed for domestic use!

    ------

    So ui do need to get some aggregate sample analysed I guess ;-)

    No nuclear bunkers round here, but will never use less than an RC40 mix on any concrete I put down these days. Costs enough digging it up and laying it, the extra cost of a stronger mix is peanuts in comparison.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    Done a few calcs now, and ready reckoning is around 1250t aggregate/cement mix. So approx 210t of cement on a 5-1 mix. Around 33k on cement alone. GULP!

    Ready mix @ approx 80/cu = 51k
    have you priced cement in ton bags ?
    should be a lot cheaper

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    The existing stone road could probably be better graded, and given a cambre and drainage.
    That could be a better option than any sort of 'economical' concrete job.
    A lot of stoned forest roads are surprisingly good and cope with heavy artics loaded with timber etc.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by 4wd View Post
    The existing stone road could probably be better graded, and given a cambre and drainage.
    That could be a better option than any sort of 'economical' concrete job.
    A lot of stoned forest roads are surprisingly good and cope with heavy artics loaded with timber etc.
    Nothing worse than a Concrete or Tarmac road which is the advanced stage of decay. Potholes have straight sides and hold water beneath.

    Where grading and re-rolling of roads is done as a matter of course when a pothole does develop it has a sloping side which is much kinder on tyres.

    In NZ Highway 1 begins life at Cape Reinga as a graded & rolled stone road.

    An effective drainage ditch an a fairly steep camber are the keys to a stone road and also a key requirement to keeping the sub layer of ANY type of road dry and firm.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by Steevo View Post
    No nuclear bunkers round here, but will never use less than an RC40 mix on any concrete I put down these days. Costs enough digging it up and laying it, the extra cost of a stronger mix is peanuts in comparison.
    As you say, the % extra is peanuts. That is the difference between a house building company and a Farmer, we still build for the future...
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by defender View Post
    have you priced cement in ton bags ?
    should be a lot cheaper
    No, I had not thought of that, I know it can be got in bulk but 25t at a time is a tad too much ;-)
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by 4wd View Post
    The existing stone road could probably be better graded, and given a cambre and drainage.
    That could be a better option than any sort of 'economical' concrete job.
    A lot of stoned forest roads are surprisingly good and cope with heavy artics loaded with timber etc.
    I agree, there are indeed other options, but stoned roads in the forests are often on uplands with easier drainage options. I've ridden dirt bikes on a lot of them around the country ;-)

    If we went for the stoned road, it would I feel require a huge rebuild and hell of a lot of stone/hardcore. I've not ruled it out, I have another 1.2km of private roads I built in the late 90's that has BIG concrete rubble as a base capped with planings and is a proper raised road way that drains off well. However, it does not get the level and speed of traffic the main drive has...
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by Courier View Post

    In NZ Highway 1 begins life at Cape Reinga as a graded & rolled stone road.

    An effective drainage ditch an a fairly steep camber are the keys to a stone road and also a key requirement to keeping the sub layer of ANY type of road dry and firm.
    True, a raised roadway is the key IMO. Steep cambers tend to see nove drivers in said ditch... :-)
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Have seen concrete laid by spreading the sand and gravel out then spraying water on and putting cement on top then going over it with a heavy duty rotovator to mix it. Just something else to consider.

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by JJT View Post
    Have seen concrete laid by spreading the sand and gravel out then spraying water on and putting cement on top then going over it with a heavy duty rotovator to mix it. Just something else to consider.
    Interesting... The local council used a similar technique to rebuild a local rural road by planing the top 2-3" off but leaving them in situ, and then mixing the planings with
    cement and rolling the mix HARD and leaving it to set for a week or more before resurfacing with tarmac. The engineer I spoke to afterwards said that it made for a much better and stronger roadway.
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by steveR View Post
    Interesting... The local council used a similar technique to rebuild a local rural road by planing the top 2-3" off but leaving them in situ, and then mixing the planings with
    cement and rolling the mix HARD and leaving it to set for a week or more before resurfacing with tarmac. The engineer I spoke to afterwards said that it made for a much better and stronger roadway.
    Two irrigation dams walls have been built in Tas recently using this system. I've also seen domestic driveways made similarly. the dams are still intact; the driveways are not - the aggregate separates into individual stone chips after about two or three years. Conclusion: the system cannot cope with the loads imposed by the acceleration, deceleration & friction of vehicle tyres, probably as a result of inadequate mixing, cement ratios, curing, or all three.

    JV

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Quote Originally Posted by windylamb View Post
    The planning stuff has probably changed but when we lived in Cheshire 15 years ago I didn't need planning permission to "win sand from the agricultural field to use as construction material on the same agricultural holding". There was a specific exemption under permitted development or something like that. Had to be quarried by the farmer for use on the farm but there will probably be all sorts of environmental legislation in the way now. You'd need to check with a planning professional (and by that I don't mean the muppets at the Local Council!.)
    I am on speaking terms with the local Councils quarrying officer (I chair a local Quarry liasion meeting) so may well ask him the question when I see him in a fortnight's time ;-) Failing that, a call to NFU Call First to find someone who knows a bit....

    Maybe simply get the stuff out and cart it across the fields ;-)
    steveR formerly known as dexterbeef!

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    Re: DIY Home brew Concrete

    Reading this with interest.

    i was wondering if you could dig a small trench down both sides of the road a fill them with concrete. This would then harden and form two kerbs. You could then fill the centre with either concrete, Tarmac, plainings or stone depending on budget.
    The strength of the kerbs should prevent the type of problems you have been describing.
    1200 metres a 1 foot wide and 8 inches (20cm) deep will require 72 cubes per trench (108 cubes at a foot deep).

    1200m x 3m wide x 4inches deep (10cm) = 360 cubes (540 cubes at 6 inches deep)
    estimated costs 360 x 75 per cube = 27000 (540 x 75 = 40500)
    obv costs per cube on that quantity might be less but trying to show an example.

    trench costs:
    72 x 75 = 5400 per trench = 10800.

    you could then save on what you are going to put in the middle of the road.

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