You cannot make typical concrete without gravel but can use the two materials to make mortar concrete.
Concrete is made up of cement, water and gravel mixed in the ratio of one bag of cement, two bags of sand, three bags of gravel and water to obtain a strong concrete mix.
Concrete is only complete when all these aggregates are in place since they all give it its high strength.
When you take out gravel from the equation, you end up making mortar concrete, which is a very different type.
Mortar concrete is a fine-grained substance made from Portland cement, sand and fine aggregate.
I will take you through the steps I use in making my typical concrete and mortar concrete whenever I need it.
How is Concrete Made?
In my many years of experience as a DIY creator, I have come across many steps used to make concrete, but I will only take you through the most efficient steps that will work best for you as they do for me.
Step 1: Mixing Two Bags of Fine Sand with one Bag of Cement
I put in the measured fine aggregates in a wheelbarrow and mix them thoroughly with a shovel, ensuring that they are well incorporated.
This will highly depend on the quantity of concrete I will need for the given task at hand.
If I am making more concrete for the task, using a wheelbarrow to mix will not be efficient enough, so I will have to find a portable concrete mixer to make my work easier.
Step 2: Adding the 3 Bags of Gravel to the Mixture
Add the three bags of gravel to the mixture bit by bit using a shovel while mixing them. This gravel will help in binding the materials together as they dry up.
Hence its highly encouraged to mix the mixture well to make the best concrete mixture. Whenever I look forward to making smoother concrete mixtures, I prefer using smaller gravel pieces.
Step 3: Adding Water to the Mixture
When doing this, pour the water slowly into a small portion of the dry mixture as you mix thoroughly and ensure that the water does not splash around.
Continue adding more concrete as you add water. Adding water improves the concrete’s binding and makes it easier for you to mix in the remaining aggregates.
Step 4: Mixing Cement with the Mixture
Using a shovel, I add in cement to the mixture and continue stirring until my mixture is stiff enough as I require it to be.
If my concrete feels dry and crumbly, I add in more water until I achieve the stiff texture.
How to Make Mortar Concrete
This type of concrete is made without the addition of gravel. In preparation, take one bag of cement, two bags of sand and four bags of fine aggregate and mix them thoroughly in a wheelbarrow with a shovel to form a powder.
Once you have your fine form, you can add some water to the mixture a little at a time until you achieve a smooth texture.
Adding water helps in preventing damage to the concrete.
What Does Gravel Add to Concrete?
Gravel plays a significant role in the concrete by determining the amount of water needed in the mixing and the final product’s texture.
Gravel comes in two different sizes: small and large pieces.
The small-sized gravel produces fine concrete that is used in smoothening surfaces, while the large pieces produce a rough concrete mixture that is stronger.
You should note that when gravel is used in excess, it has a damaging effect on your mixture; hence you should be aware of the correct amount for a particular job.
What are the Differences Between Mortar and Concrete?
- Mortar consists of cement, sand and water, while concrete contains sand, cement, water and gravel.
- Concrete is more durable than mortar. Concrete lasts for many years as it stays intact for a longer time, while mortar may crack over a short time, needing regular replacement.
- Concrete tends to be stronger than mortar concrete. This is because concrete contains gravel, which holds the mixture more firmly than mortar, which has a higher water ratio, making it weaker.
- Mortar concrete is used in plastering buildings to hide joints and fill the spaces between bricks, while concrete is used in binding bricks and moulding due to its strength.
Can You Make Concrete Without Gravel?
The choice of concrete to use highly depends on the type of task you intend to perform. From this article, some of the most important takeaways are;
- you cannot make typical concrete without gravel; therefore, when you take out gravel from the equation, you end up making a type of concrete called mortar concrete.
- Mortar concrete is made up of sand, cement and water and is used to make surfaces smoother, unlike typical concrete, which is made up of sand, cement, water and gravel.
- Typical concrete tends to be stronger and more durable than mortar concrete.