06 May 2020

Choosing the right cement products

For any homeowner, updating the garden ready for the summer can be an exciting prospect. And for DIYers looking to undertake projects themselves, getting the right materials and products is a crucial part of the process.

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Here, Gareth Osborne at Tarmac discusses some of the key projects across the garden and the right cement products for DIYers to select to ensure the perfect outdoor living space as the warmer months roll in.

Repairing fence posts

The colder months often bring stronger winds, so now is the ideal time to check for any damage that may have occurred during this time. For unstable fence posts, use a quick-setting, no-mix concrete product, such as Blue Circle Postcrete, which can be used for fixing wooden, concrete and metal posts.

As a general rule, around 25% of the post should be buried below ground. You then simply need to fill the hole one third with clean water and pour in the product evenly around the post until dry powder is visible on the surface. It will set in as little as 10 minutes.

Building a brick BBQ

The classic brick BBQ is a firm favourite in the summertime and can be a simple and attractive addition to any patio area.

A solid concrete base is, from the outset, essential to reduce the risk of cracks appearing in the BBQ. It’s best to go for a pre-mixed concrete which is easy to use and contains a strong, hard-wearing blend of cement, sand and 10mm coarse aggregate. You simply need to add water, compact and finish.

Next, you will need to prepare mortar to lay the bricks; for ease of use, it’s a good idea to opt for a pre-bagged, ready-to-use mortar mix. Once you’ve laid five or six courses of bricks, take a break to give the mortar time to cure. Once complete, use a pointing tool to fill and point the joints in the brickwork with a mortar containing hydrating lime as well as cement. This increases flexibility to accommodate slight expansion and contraction in the brickwork.

Fixing cracked concrete paths

A patio is a garden essential for outdoor entertaining, but harsh winter months can result in surface cracks or spalling. Luckily, repairs can be simple and efficient.

Once the damaged area has been identified and prepared and damped, use a quick-drying repair mix, such as Tarmac Blue Circle Quick Repair Concrete if less than 50mm or Tarmac Blue Circle Extra Rapid Cement used with sharp sand or 10mm ballast for larger repairs. A fast-setting cement is ideal as it sets quickly, gaining walk-on strength within the same day.

A concrete choice

The garden is an important living space for both entertaining and relaxing. For customers looking to complete improvements around their outdoor space themselves, choosing the right cement products carefully can make those tasks simpler and will help ensure your project stands the test of time.

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