The beauty of concrete as a building material is that it can be modified to suit the needs of any project. Need something extra strong for a large commercial building? Something watertight? All you need to do is adjust your mix ratio and design and you can make it work. 

In this article, the EasyMix team is going to go through some typical construction projects and the mix ratios best suited to them.

What are the ideal concrete ratios?

Ratios for Residential foundations

For residential foundations and slabs, a common mix ratio is 1:2:3, consisting of one part cement, two parts sand and three parts aggregate. This mix provides sufficient strength and durability for typical residential structures while maintaining workability during placement. It’s one of the most popular mix ratios in construction for a reason and covers a lot of bases!

Concrete Ratios for High-rise buildings

High-rise buildings and structural elements require higher strength concrete to withstand heavy loads and structural stresses, so a different mix ratio is going to be required. A mix ratio of 1:2:4 (cement:sand:aggregate) is often used for these kinds of projects. On top of this, the use of supplementary materials like fly ash or slag can enhance strength and durability, but these are only really included on a case-by-case basis.

Concrete Mix Ratio for Roads and pavements

Concrete used in road construction and pavements should be durable enough to withstand traffic loads, abrasion and weathering. A mix ratio of 1:2:4 or 1:3:6 is commonly employed here, with the higher proportion of aggregate providing improved wear resistance. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the inclusion of air-entraining agents can improve freeze-thaw resistance in cold climates.

Concrete Mix Ratios for Bridges

Bridges and similar infrastructure projects require high-strength concrete to support heavy loads and endure harsh environmental conditions. Mix ratios ranging from 1:1:2 to 1:2:3 are quite typical with these sorts of projects, with emphasis on using high-quality materials and proper curing techniques to achieve the necessary strength and durability.

Concrete Ratios for Water retaining structures

Concrete used in water retaining structures, such as dams, reservoirs and water tanks, must be completely impermeable to prevent water leakage. A mix ratio of 1:0.5:1 (cement:sand:fine aggregate) with a low water-cement ratio is often utilised here to achieve  absolute watertightness. You can also use waterproofing additives or admixtures to enhance performance further.

Concrete Mix Ratios for Decorative and architectural elements

Decorative concrete elements, such as stamped concrete, exposed aggregate and other kinds of architectural finishes, require special mix designs to achieve specific aesthetics and durability. For these special projects, bespoke mix ratios that include coloured pigments, aggregates and admixtures are often used.

EasyMix Concrete is one of London’s leading concrete suppliers and mix design specialists. No matter what sort of project you’re working on, you can rely on us to find the perfect mix for your needs. Want to learn more? Give us a call today for more information and a member of our team will happily help.