How to Mix Portland Concrete

by G.K. Bayne; Updated September 26, 2017

Mixing Portland concrete is a lot like following a recipe for baking. Be consistent in adding the ingredients to make for a consistent outcome. All Portland concrete is shipped and sold in 94-pound bags. The Portland mix described is a 5-bag mix rated at 2,500 pounds per square inch strength, common for most patios and garage concrete floors.

Items you will need

  • Portland concrete
  • Sand
  • Gravel (preferably Limestone)
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hoe
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 2-pound coffee can
Step 1

Lay the bag of Portland on its side next to the wheel barrow and use the shovel to cut open the bag in the shape of the letter "I." Scoop one full shovel of the Portland into the wheel barrow. Next, add 1 ½ shovels of sand to the wheelbarrow and finish off with 3 full shovels of gravel. The mix ratio for Portland Concrete of a 5-bag mix is 1 part Portland, 1 ½ parts sand and 3 parts gravel. Use the shovel as your measuring tool.

Step 2

Mix the dry materials very thoroughly with the hoe in the wheelbarrow so all the sand and gravel is covered in the grey powdered Portland.

Step 3

Add water in stages, slowly incorporating the water as you go. A good method of mixing is to be sure all the dry mix is in the front part of the wheelbarrow over the wheel.

Step 4

Stand between the two handles of the wheelbarrow and add the water in the open part of the enclosed barrow. Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the water. Use a two-pound coffee that can be dipped from a five-gallon bucket for adding the water, as this will make for a consistent measuring device for the concrete recipe.

Step 5

Adding water into the Portland concrete mix may change depending on weather conditions. The drier the climate, the more water may have to be added for a consistent thick mix. You will want a mix that is much like a thick cake batter.


  • When adding the dry Portland, do so with a gentle hand, as Portland is very fine grained and will disperse in the air very easily. You may want to wear a dust mask over your mouth and nose when adding the dry materials.