How much concrete is it feasible to pour by mixing in a wheelbarrow?

I want to replace part of a patio slab that was previously under a low deck. The slab cracked more or less parallel to the house about 6’ out and settled toward the house.

I’d like to remove the settled part and pour new concrete in its place.

I’m trying to keep costs down, so I won’t hire a contractor.

I have considered ordering a truck, but I need less than a yard and I’d still have to wheelbarrow it from the street, down the driveway, and around the back of the house.

I have nothing to tow a rented mixer with, so that’s out.

Thought about buying a mixer, but good ones aren’t cheap. I’d sell it when I’m done so it’s really be renting it, but not sure I want to deal with that.

But maybe I could mix it in a wheelbarrow. It’s an area 16’x6-7’.

Don’t remember exactly, but I think it’s something like 60, 60lb bags. Send like a lot.

I could divide it up in to three separate pours pinned together, I suppose.

Anyway, never mixed more than a bag or two by hand and wondered if anybody has done a similar job or had insight.

Yeah, I’ve mixed more than a bag or two and poured a lot more by hand. But if it were me I’d pay someone to bring in a truck mixer and pour it. If you don’t want to do that rent a portable mixer and tray. I’m building an outdoor kiva right now and the footers and fill I’ve brought in a truck to do the pour and I’m just doing the finish. Hell, they will even tell you how much you need if you simply give them the dimensions of the slab or fill.

You might consider hiring someone to do this. Though it may not seem like a big area, you’re looking at a LOT of work (I speak from experience helping a relative concrete the side of his house as a dog run).

  • Prep work. To avoid future cracking of your new concrete, you will want to reinforce it with rebar. Like a lot of rebar (in a grid). Setting up the rebar isn’t too bad in and of itself. Where it is painful is you also want to join it to the section of the old concrete (closest to the house) with rebar as well. Which means drilling into the old concrete. Be prepared to go through a number of (masonry) drill bits ! And it sounds like what we ended up doing: all the drilling taking place about 3 inches off the ground (trying to get leverage with the drill so low to the ground is tough). Be prepared to account for a good amount of time for the prep work (this is after you’ve broken up, and removed the old concrete).

  • Mixing. Unless you’re planning to do this over multiple days, renting a mixer would be highly recommended. You might get by with the wheelbarrel mixing if you are going to do it in stages (to give your back a break), but that is a LOT of concrete to mix. We wanted to pour the whole walk on one day…and it was one LONG day. Even with the mixer, shovelling all the stuff into the mixer takes its toll.
    You will be sadly disappointed to see how little volume a single wheelbarrel’s load will fill. It seems like a lot in the wheelbarrel, but once it is poured, you’ll be like “is that it ???”

  • Workflow (efficiency). I would highly recommend recruiting some friends/family to help out. Once you pour a load, someone will need to smooth it in. And it would be good to have someone else working on mixing the next load. In this way, you can keep a continuous flow of new concrete to be poured.

I came away concluding that if/when I ever needed to do a similar job (which, many years later, I did), I would hire someone (which I also did). Money well spent.

Sounds like a good way to ruin a wheelbarrow - nothing my family has ever mixed concrete in came completely clean again.

How about you use the wheelbarrow to move the bags, but mix the concrete in a big plastic tote? Ones that’d hold the same amount as a wheelbarrow would run about $15-20 here, while wheelbarrows start at $60.

Oh, that’s way too big an area to be doing in a wheelbarrow!

Rent a mixer, or get a short load delivered, and maybe research if they can pump it to where you need.

Find a friend who needs to dispose of a dead body, and combine your efforts.

I agree with the others who suggest hiring someone to do it for you, but if you are going to do it yourself one way to save some work and money is to use some of the broken up rubble from the slab you have removed as fill, this will reduce the amount of fresh concrete you have to pour and reduce the amount of rubble you have to dispose of

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Depends on how strong you are.

Pushing wheelbarrows around and dumping concrete, into forms is backbreaking and exhausting work.

The trick is keeping them from tipping over. It’s nearly impossible to stop after the half way point.

Your best option is to work with small batches of concrete.

OP: how deep will the slab be? Here is a calculator:

If 4" deep that looks like 1.3 cubic yards and with a yard of concrete weighing about 4050 pounds that is about 5,265 pounds of concrete you will pushing around in your wheelbarrow. That’s a bit of weight.

I should know better than to post a new topic on a whim from my phone…that could have used more detail, and I feel like I’m falling behind replying until I can get to a real keyboard!

Anyway, background information that might have been useful: I’m not unfamiliar with concrete; I’ve poured many a sidewalk, driveway and patio working for contractors in my younger days. Can’t believe I’m old enough to use that term. Anyway.

Also have wheelbarrowed a lot of concrete. I remember the job I had the summer before I went to boot camp, one day wheelbarrowing concrete around the back of a house for a patio slab for hours…the whole time my boss reminding be he’d “get me ready”…fun times…

Yes I’ll pin to the original slab, I have a hammer drill. I’m going to cut the jaggy edges off nice and straight first (the shape actually will form a very shallow ‘V’ with a flat bottom) The slab will be 4 inches; I will only have to actually break out about 2-3’ of the existing slab as it is sunk so severely, and the plan is to use that up against the house as fill. I also have dirt, and I’ll use gravel as base.

I would hope that over the years the dirt up against the house has settled sufficiently, but I’ll still use rebar or mesh in the new sections.

So really, the question is literally about mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow. I’d have the bags of concrete delivered on a pallet and left in front of the garage, a 20’ wheelbarrow trip to the back of the house. So I could spend a weekend morning doing that, it’s not a logistical problem.

I’d never be moving mixed mud in the wheelbarrow; the object is to mix it pretty much where it will be dumped.

I won’t pay someone to do this. I honestly can’t afford to add $1,000 to the bill.

As I said before, though, I’d be willing to do it in three sections. Picturing my flat-bottomed-V, I could do one wing, then the middle, then the other wing on different weekends. That would save wear and tear on the body as well as hooooopefully letting me get it down quickly enough that it’s still workable.

As far as help…well, I could call on a few people, but I’m one of those unfortunate introverts who are friendly with people, but keep them at juuuuust enough distance that it’s not comfortable asking them to come get alkali burns for beer :smack: That said, my wife is a beast and would probably relish the idea of moving 60’ bags of concrete for a workout. Oooh, maybe she could invite HER friends!! :smiley:

I feel like I’m at least talking myself into buying a mixer from Harbor Freight or something, but then I’ll have to have a wheelbarrow anyway TOO…

Have you considered replacing the slab you’re moving with dry set patio stones?

I strongly urge you to get a short load delivered. Trust me, it’s worth it. It will make the concrete so much easier to finish. Put all the extra energy you save into the prep and finish. My BIL spent about a year as the mixing guy for a local concrete company and he has told stories about the number of times he had to schedule a delivery for someone who got 10-15% of the way into a job like this and then decided they had made a mistake trying to do it by hand (or with a mixer). He even claims that it’s cheaper than buying the ingredients separately. Remember, you have to have all the ingredients delivered and staged to mix your concrete, and you have to clean it all up afterwards. Just order and have it poured.

Couldn’t you just mix the concrete right there on the remaining patio section, so you’d only have to shovel/move the mixed material over a few feet into the hole? Put up some sort of frame, on top of a piece of sheeting or just right on the old concrete, you could mix a lot all at once with just a hoe, then scrape or shovel in. Using slow cure concrete, you might be able to do all at once with two people, or maybe in sections just by yourself.

I couldn’t agree more. That’s WAY, WAY to much to hand mix and wheel barrow unless you have about 10 friends that you will lose.

My brother did an area about twice as big. I helped and we had it pumped in. My brother thought he knew concrete work. He did it before. But it was two much for two guys to handle. Just the finishing alone was too much. He ended up in the emergency room with acid burns (base from the lime). He had refused to wear any cloves and the concreate had been mixed at a very hi psi.

I had pleaded with him to bring in some pro’s. And I am the ultimate do it yourselfer. My bro had everything all lined up and all the proper tools but the job turned into a mess.

If you must do it yourself, I would consider renting a small tractor. You can hand mix the concrete in the bucket. That has worked well for me for SMALL jobs.

Um, I think I’m starting to get the idea

Considering just building a low deck now.

Cool. We don’t know the full layout, but as someone had suggested, paving stones work well too. Last summer my Wife and I laid a nice set from our deck to the gate in our yard. We used big ones of any shape and puzzled it together. Then just dropped in about 1/2 yard of crushed gavel to hold it all together. So far, so good. It was a bit of work but we got it done in a weekend. And I have a Kubota tractor to help.

This is a hijack, but I hope you find it interesting. This is IMHO, right?

My grandfather – not an architect, but a successful inventor with an ego – designed his own house ca. 1935. He thought the best roof would be 2x4 ft concrete blocks mounted in a metal frame. Solid & sturdy? You bet!

He had the frame fabricated in his machine shop, and planned to pour the concrete sections as needed, after the 2nd floor was constructed and as the roof was being installed, so he had a small hand concrete mixer placed at a location that was to become the attic. Each block would be poured, hardened, then lifted in place with a crane, and each block would contain his name on the underside (ego, remember?).

When the roofing crew finished, they realized they had an problem. The cement mixer was in the attic, and the roof was above it. There was no way to remove the mixer.

As of 1990, it was still there. I presume it still is.

That was definitely a worthwhile hijack! What was the roof concrete covered with? Holy cow, the weight of the thing.

Covered with nothing that I know of, but I am weak on the details. This was designed by a successful inventor, but that doesn’t mean every invention was successful. If you are interested, PM me and I’ll give you the street address of the house.