Mixing Mortar

QUIKRETE mortar mixes can be successfully mixed by hand or machine mixed depending on the size of your project.

Project Instructions:
When working with mortar mixes, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

Step 1:
Measure the recommended water amount for the number of bags to be added to the mixer and pour half of the water into the mixer (an 80-pound bag of Mason Mix will require about 5 quarts of water). If using liquid cement color, add to the mixing water.

NOTE: add the water to the mixer before adding the dry mix.

Step 2:
Add the dry mix into the mixer and allow the mortar to mix for about a minute, then add the remaining water as necessary.

Step 3:
Continue to mix for 3-5 minutes, until a uniform, workable consistency is achieved.

Step 4:
Let the mortar sit undisturbed for about 3-5 minutes to allow the fine aggregate in the mix to fully saturate.

TIP: if additional water is needed, add small amounts of water sparingly.

Step 5:
Test the consistency of the mortar by gently “snapping” the trowel downward to remove any excess mortar. The proper consistency is achieved when the wet mortar will “hang” on a trowel held at a 90 degree angle.

Mixing Concrete – Hand Mixing

QUIKRETE concrete mixes can be successfully mixed by hand or machine mixed. For smaller projects, hand mixing is often the best method.

Project Instructions:
When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

Step 1: Empty the mix into a mortar tub or wheelbarrow and form a depression in the middle of the mix.

Step 2:
Measure the recommended water amount (each 80-pound bag of concrete mix will require about 3 quarts of water).

Step 3:
Pour approximately 2/3 of the water into the depression. If using liquid cement color, add to the mixing water.

Step 4:
Work the mix with a hoe, gradually adding water, until the mix reaches a uniform, workable consistency. Properly mixed concrete should look like thick oatmeal and should hold its shape when it is squeezed in a gloved hand.

NOTE: the more water that is added to the mix the weaker it becomes; adding one extra quart of water per 80 lb bag can reduce the strength of the concrete by up to 40%.

Sealing and Waterproofing Cracks in Concrete

Over time and exposure to the elements exterior concrete can develop cracks due to temperature changes, ground movement, improperly placed joints and excessive loads. Once a crack develops it is important to seal the crack from water to prevent further deterioration.

Project Instructions:
Always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves when working with polyurethane sealant and work in a well-ventilated area.

Step 1:
Widen the crack to a minimum of 1/4 inch using a chisel and hammer (the edges of the crack should be vertical or beveled in an inverted “V”).

Step 2:
Break away any deteriorating concrete and remove loose material with a brush.

Step 3:
Cut the tip of the nozzle on an angle with a utility knife to match the width of the crack and load into a standard caulk gun.

NOTE: for large cracks over 1/2 inch deep, a backer rod should be placed in the crack before applying the sealant.

Step 4:
Slowly draw the gun along the joint forcing a bead of concrete repair caulk deep into the crack.

Step 5:
Remove excess material with a trowel immediately after placement.

Building a Dry Stack Block Wall with QUIKWALL

Building a garden wall, a planter, a mail box enclosure or even an outdoor kitchen can be as easy as “Stack and Stucco” with QUIKRETE QUIKWALL Surface Bonding Cement.

Project Instructions:
When working with QUIKWALL, rubber gloves and safety glasses should always be worn during mixing and placing procedures.

Step 1: Ensure a solid footing or base slab for both structural and non-structural walls.

NOTE: it is important to check local building codes for construction requirements in your area; footings should be a minimum of twice the width of the concrete block (for example, an 8″x8″x16″ block would require a 16″ wide footing) and extend below the frost line to prevent shifting during freeze-thaw cycles.

Step 2:
Stage the first course of block and snap a chalk line on each side of the block wall as a reference line to ensure corners are square and walls are straight.

Step 3

NOTE: each 50 pound bag of QUIKWALL will require about a gallon of water – additional water can be added in small amounts to achieve a workable mix. The proper consistency is achieved when the wet QUIKWALL will “hang” on a trowel held at a 90 degree angle.

Step 4:
Remove the blocks and lay a 1/8 inch bed of QUIKWALL on the footing – the QUIKWALL mix should be workable but firm enough to support the weight of the first course.

Step 5:
Set the bottom course.

TIP: check your alignment and level every 3 to 4 blocks.

Step 6:
Once the first course is set, dry-stack the remaining block in a running bond pattern to the desired height – all corners should use an interlocking pattern.

Step 7:
Thoroughly dampen the block wall with water – dry block will draw the water from the mix making it difficult to finish and can cause inconsistent color and cracking especially in hot temperatures.

Step 8:
Apply a consistent 1/8 to 1/4 inch coat of QUIKWALL to both sides of the block. Use a square finishing trowel held at a 45 degree angle and work from the bottom of the wall to the top covering the entire surface of the wall.

Step 9:
Cure the entire surface with a fine water mist.

Making Thin Repairs to Damaged Concrete

With proper attention to surface preparation and material selection, durable repairs can be made to worn, scaling or cracked surfaces, extending the life of the concrete.

Project Instructions:
When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves. QUIKRETE Vinyl Concrete Patcher or QUIKRETE Concrete Patching Compound may be used.

Step 1: Clean the surface of the damaged area by removing any loose material such as dirt, oil, or grease and unsound or flaking concrete.

TIP: unsound or flaking concrete can be removed by using a hammer and chisel or with a masonry grinding disk and a portable drill.

Step 2:
Scrub and clean the surface of the repair area with a stiff bristle brush.

Step 3:
Thoroughly rinse the repair area after cleaning.

Option A: QUIKRETE Vinyl Concrete Patcher

Step 4a:
Mix Vinyl Concrete Patcher by adding about 10 ounces of water per 5 pounds of Vinyl Concrete Patcher (the Vinyl Concrete Patcher should be poured into the mixing water).

NOTE: the more water that is added during the mixing process, the weaker the bond strength and compressive strength will be.

Step 5a:
Mix the Vinyl Concrete Patcher for 3 to 5 minutes using a margin trowel. After a lump-free consistency is achieved, allow the mix to sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

Step 6a:

  • Remix the Vinyl Concrete Patcher; additional water may be added in small amounts to achieve a putty consistency. NOTE: it is important not to add more water after the material has begun to set.
  • Dampen the repair area with enough water to saturate the surface (any standing water should be removed).

Step 7a:
Apply the patcher in layers using a margin trowel; the first layer should be pressed into the repair area using firm trowel pressure.

Step 8a:
Smooth the surface of the patch so that it is level with the surrounding concrete (avoid adding water to the surface of the patch).

TIP: make full broom strokes across the entire distance of the work area without stopping (all broom strokes should be made in the same direction for uniformity of appearance).

Step 9a:
The repair area should be protected from foot traffic for 24 hours and vehicle traffic for at least 3 days.

Option B: QUIKRETE Concrete Patching Compound (Use for non-structural, small aesthetic repairs to concrete; should only be applied when temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees.)

Step 4b:
Stir Concrete Patching Compound using a margin trowel or putty knife.

Step 5b:
Spread and texture the concrete patch to match the surrounding concrete.

NOTE: for patches or cracks over 1/4-inch thick Concrete Patching Compound should be applied in multiple layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. For a smooth finish, wet the trowel.

Step 6b:
Concrete Patching Compound will begin to form a skin in about 20 to 40 minutes and will harden completely in 1 to 2 hours.

Resurfacing Concrete Slabs

QUIKRETE Concrete Resurface will renew your old, worn concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios at a fraction of the cost to tear out and replace old concrete slabs.

Project Instructions:
When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves. Temperatures should remain above 50 degrees for at least 8 hours and should be protected from freezing for 24 hours after applying.

Step 1 Prior to applying:

  • Rigorously clean old concrete to ensure proper adhesion of the new surface. NOTE: a high strength, 3500 psi pressure washer must be used to remove any dirt, oil, grease or deteriorating concrete.
  • Repair deeply spalled areas and large cracks.
  • Saturate the surface with water and then remove any standing water.

Step 2:
Mix the resurfacer using a five-gallon bucket and a 1/2 -drill and paddle mixer (hand mixing and standard concrete barrel-type mixers cannot be used for this application).

TIP: it is essential that control joints and expansion joints are maintained to allow for slab movement. Weather stripping can be used to prevent Concrete Resurfacer from spilling into the joints.

Step 3:
Measure and add 3-1/2 quarts of clean cool water to a five-gallon bucket to mix one 40-pound bag of Concrete Resurfacer (the resurfacer should be poured into the mixing water).

Step 4:
Mix for about 5 minutes until a lump-free pourable consistency is achieved. If the mix is too thick, add water sparingly to reach the consistency of syrup; if the mix is too thin, additional powder can be added.

Step 5:
Pour the resurfacer onto the concrete in one-foot wide strips.

Step 6:
Scrub the material into the concrete surface using a long handled squeegee.

Step 7:
Evenly spread the resurfacer back and forth onto the slab.

Step 8:
Apply a non-slip finish using a concrete broom after about 5 minutes.

TIP: make full broom strokes across the entire distance of the work area without stopping (all broom strokes should be made in the same direction for uniformity of appearance).

Step 9:
Moist cure with a fine water mist for 24-48 hours in temperatures over 90 degrees.

Step 10:
Concrete Resurfacer will support foot traffic in about 6 hours and vehicle traffic in 24 hours.

Applying Concrete Floor Paint

Is your garage floor a mess? Clean it up and degrease, even pressure wash if necessary before applying paint. You might need to etch it to make the paint adhere. DRYLOK Latex Concrete Floor paint is easy to apply and can transform any space by adding color to dingy concrete. This Latex Base formula is easy and ready to use. Use a brush for the first coat to make it adhere properly- wait 4 hours before applying a second coat, which can be applied with a roller… GNH has all the supplies you need.

DRYLOK Concrete Floor Paint is a flat non slip finish. You can use any type of roller; a roller with a heavy nap will give you more texture than a roller with a finer nap. It depends on your preference. A non-skid additive can be added to any paint to make it non slip (just a little information), but for concrete make sure the product is compatible with the acidity of concrete (like DRYLOK Concrete Floor Paint).

Fixing Squeaky Floors Under Carpet

Squeaky wood floors under carpet is an annoying problem with an easy, DIY solution. It’s not necessary to have to pull up any of your carpet to fix, and with just a few simple tools you can easily fix this problem in an afternoon. Floor squeaks are caused by gaps between the sub-floor and the floor joists which have separated over time and can be fixed by simply reattaching that sub-floor back to the framing. The trick, however, is to not damage your wall-to- wall carpet and to locate where the joists in your floor are located.

Tip: Cut a 6″ or 8″ piece of wire coat hanger to attach into your drill. You can use this to locate the joists under your subfloor without damaging your carpet. Once you locate a joist, mark it off with tape.

Tip: If you go beyond 16″ left or right without hitting a floor joist, it may mean that you are drilling in the direction that the floor joists run. Change direction and try going perpendicular.

Once you have found a joist, you will take your screw and turn it by hand to create a small hole in the carpet so that when the drill is used, that it does not ‘catch’ the carpet. Rotating the screw in a circle within the hole will help make the hole larger.

Tip: Hold sub-floor down with your knees as much as you can to make sure that it is as tight as possible before driving the screw.

Tip: Stop driving screw once screw head reaches top of carpet. Using a pair of channel lock pliers, twist screw side to side and front and back until screw pops off.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Before starting your hardwood refinishing project – first, take care of any repair work that you need to. These might be areas that get heavy traffic, have exposed nail heads, stains, holes, missing quarter-rounds or thresholds, and any squeaks.

Tip: For fixing high traffic areas that have worn finish or stained. You may need to use a chemical cleaning agent to fix the staining.

Tip: To fix holes in the floor, you can use oak plugs and sand into place. You may have to drill the holes to make a bit larger to fill with wooden plugs. Use a little glue to secure in place. Line up grain in plug to grain in floor as best as possible and then tap into place. Sand flush once glue is dry.

Tip: For exposed nail heads, pound them down into place far enough so that filler can be placed on top. Be sure tap nails 1/4″ into place at same angle they were put in, and make sure to not cause any further damage to the floor. Fill nail holes by using saw dust from sanding and some white glue. Mix to consistency of toothpaste. This will ensure the best color match.

Rent a floor sander for your sanding work. Tool rental is a great option rather than buying tools. Be sure to pick a sander that will be a good choice for your particular project. Change sanding discs as often as needed, starting with a rougher grit to remove the finish. Next, use a medium grit for a smoother finish and then progress to a finer grit. You may have to use a smaller sander to get into the corners that the big sander doesn’t. Once sanded and patched, floor will be ready to apply your stain and/or finish.

Tip: Make sure room is well ventilated when applying stain/finish, and also wear a mask for additional protection. Start finish along edges first and then use a floor applicator pad to apply finish with the grain.

Installing Laminate Flooring

Installing laminate flooring is a great cost-effective way to add value to your home. With a few simple steps, installing the new flooring is a breeze and is something that almost every do-it-yourselfer can handle.

The first thing that must be done before you ever install new laminate flooring is to thoroughly review the manufacturer’s installation instructions and these instructions will very from one manufacturer to another. The installation of your laminate flooring should be the last thing worked on in the room to avoid accidental damage to your new floor.

Before you install your flooring, you will need to remove the old flooring and check to see if the flooring needs any leveling. Using a thin-set mortar to fill in low spots. If you are installing over a concrete floor, it will be necessary to install a moisture barrier to keep the floor dry.

Tip: Let your packages of laminate flooring acclimate in the room for at least 72 hours before installing so that the floor doesn’t expand or contract with temperature after installed.

Tip: When your laminate flooring does not come with a pre-attached underpad, you will want to lay a separate underpad before installing.

Make sure you thoroughly inspect your boards for defects before installing and order 5-10% more flooring than you actually need in case there are damaged boards or defects.

Tip: To allow for the new flooring to expand and contract, you will need to insert expansion gap spacers along the perimeter of the flooring.

Tip: Stagger the board and maintain an 8″ for each board

Add molding and transition pieces last and enjoy your new floor!