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DIY Shotcrete

By Tom King
This formula is for a 9-cubic-foot concrete mixer.

Shotcrete is a wet mix concrete used in pump applications for vertical and other nonflat structures. Shotcrete is mixed before it is pumped through the wet-gun. The process produces less waste, dust and clumping than other concrete pumping methods and allows you to more closely control the moisture content of the final concrete. If you are doing a large area, the concrete supply company will premix it for you in the delivery truck. For a smaller batch, you can mix it yourself with materials available from a concrete supplier. Here's the formula for a 9-cubic-foot mixer.

The Formula

Pour cement and half the water into the mixer and start it turning. Most lumber yards carry type I or II Portland Cement in large bags.

Add 2.5 ounces of Kel-Crete. You can add up to 4 ounces. You'll have to adjust from load to load for best results . Kel-Crete improves dispersion of the mixture and adds air entrainment qualities to the final product. This is particularly crucial in areas where the concrete freezes and thaws frequently.

Alternate slowly adding sand and water. Leave about 2 gallons of water remaining to make sure the mixture is not too soupy. The concrete must be wet enough to pass through the concrete pump and gun without blocking up the pipe, but not so thin that it slides out of the form or produces a weak final product.

Add the two buckets of pea gravel slowly. You shouldn't need to add water. The mixture should be pretty wet. You may leave out the pea gravel in certain applications. This will help the concrete flow more smoothly through the gun. For large surfaces, however, the aggregate strengthens the final product.

Add nylon fibers to the mix and enough water to produce the desired thickness of the wet concrete. The kind of fibers used in shotcrete are monofilament fibers, single strand. Tests show that the fibers improve shrinkage tolerance and crack control in the final product, but some shotcrete users don't use them at all. They are an optional ingredient.

 

Things You Will Need

  • 9-cubic-foot concrete mixer
  • 188 pounds (two sacks) of Portland cement, type I or II
  • 10 gallons water
  • 4 ounces Kel-Crete
  • 10 buckets of sand, 5 gallons per bucket
  • 2 buckets, pea gravel, 5 gallons per bucket
  • Nylon fibers, 1/3 pound (optional)

Tips

  • You can leave out the pea gravel, but the mixture should be used for only the last couple of coats of concrete. The surface will be smoother that way, but the deeper layers with the gravel will provide support strength.
  • Leave out the nylon fibers when you are applying a finish coat.
  • Berlyx liquid or powder can be used in place of Kel-crete. Follow manufacturers instructions.
  • 125 pounds of fly ash can be substituted for 100 pounds of cement

Resources

About the Author

 

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.