How to make concrete floors

Large warehouse with concrete floors

Concrete floors are durable and easy to maintain. They are a popular choice in modern homes as they keep costs down and are easy to clean. The affordability of concrete floors and the fact that you can make them yourself mean they are suited to Tanzanian homes.

Items needed to make concrete floors

Steps to make your own concrete floors

  1. Using the string and the chalk, mark the desired floor height on the walls around the room. This will be your fill line.
  2. Pour a layer of crushed stone on the floor, about 2cm lower than the fill line. Using the tamper or a steel plate, stamp the stones down to compact them. Make sure they are level.
  3. Pour a layer of sand over the crushed stones and pat it flat with a trowel or shovel. The sand should be about 1cm below the fill line.
  4. Lay a plastic sheet on top of the sand and tape the edges to the side of the wall along the fill line.
  5. Mix your Tembo cement with water in a wheelbarrow. FastaPlus works best as it is durable and can support weight. Follow the instructions on the bag.
  6. Starting at the wall furthest from the door, place a layer of concrete on the plastic sheet with a shovel.
  7. Use a straight plank to scrape and level the concrete along the fill line, covering the plastic sheet and smoothing the concrete along the base of the walls.
  8. Use a trowel and extra concrete to fill in any gaps or indentations. Use a plastering trowel or a float to smooth the concrete floor nicely.
  9. Allow the concrete to cure for seven days, keeping it damp the entire time.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region at Songwe in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to lay a concrete driveway

House with concrete driveway

If you’re building your own driveway, it’s important to use high-quality cement. Driveways have to support heavy cars and endure years of wear and tear, so the concrete needs to be strong and durable. A well-laid concrete driveway can last up to 30 years.

The driveway should be at least 7.5cm thick and between 2.5m to 3m  wide. To allow for expansion in the hot Tanzanian weather, joints should be created in the concrete every 2.5m – this means laying square panels of concrete to complete the driveway.

There should be no dips or depressions in the concrete as water will accumulate and affect the durability of the driveway. The concrete driveway should also slope away from any garage or house for at least 1m so that rainwater does not run into the building.

Prepare the area for the concrete driveway

The ground where the driveway will be laid needs to be prepared properly before starting the project. Make sure the soil is solid and stable. Remove all grass, plants, roots and topsoil. Dig a foundation about 10cm deep – it should be the same width and length as the driveway.

Make sure that the soil is compacted down and at the same desired level as the driveway. You can roll a straight gum pole along the soil to compress it and smooth it, like a makeshift roller.

Next, install your wooden formwork. Timber planks (at least 75mm in width) can be held in place by metal pegs along the length of the plank. The concrete driveway will sit flush with the top edge of the formwork, so make sure to treat the wood with a coat of form oil to prevent the concrete sticking to the wood.

The forms should be at least 2.5m by 2.5m. This will allow you to lay square concrete panels in sections, as discussed above.

Materials needed to make the concrete driveway

You’ll need durable cement – Tembo FastaPlus is ideal for concrete driveways – as well as sand and 19mm stone. Remember to store your cement and aggregates in a clean and dry environment, out of direct sunlight and away from contaminants such as soil, seeds and leaves.

A single batch of concrete can be made from one bag of cement, 80 litres of sand, 80 litres of stone and enough water to make the right consistency. A cubic metre of concrete will need about eight bags of cement and 640 litres each of sand and stone.

Wheelbarrows or 25-litre drums are useful ways to measure sand and stone quantities. Just make sure the drums or wheelbarrows are clean from oil, dirt, sugar and other contaminants. A builder’s wheelbarrow is 65 litres when the aggregate is level with the rim.

Laying the concrete driveway

Once your foundation is flat, the forms laid and you have the right materials, you can start the process of laying the driveway. To mix the concrete, first put a layer of sand down on a clean and smooth surface – about 10cm will do. Then, spread the cement on top of the sand and mix the two until the colour becomes uniform.

Next, slowly add water until the consistency is like a thin porridge. Finally, add the stones and mix thoroughly. The concrete should be able to stand in a heap but should settle quickly when tapped with a shovel.

Now you can start laying the concrete. Spray a bit of water on the soil foundation to moisten the base, but don’t leave pools of water. Each square section of the driveway should be laid in one go.

Place a layer of crushed stone or gravel (at least 4cm thick) at the base of the foundation. Pour the concrete over the top and fill the wooden forms. Make sure there are no gaps along the edges or in the corners.

Use a thick plank that is long enough to reach either end of the forms pat down the concrete. When water starts to appear on the surface of the concrete, then it has been compacted enough. Then, using the same plank, slide it along the top of the forms to scrape away any excess concrete. Fill any holes if needed.

If you want to add some grip to the driveway, brush it with a dry broom once it has started to harden. This will create tiny lines in the concrete and give it some texture. You should be able to lay two or three panels of concrete per day.

To form expansion joints between panels, lay alternating sections (i.e. lay the first panel, then leave a gap for the second panel and lay the third panel). You can then lay the gaps the following day, once the forms are removed. This will create separate panels in the core of the driveway to prevent cracking in hot weather.

Protecting and curing the concrete driveway

Once the driveway is laid, it needs to be protected from the weather while it cures – especially in hot, dry and windy conditions. Cover the driveway with plastic sheeting and keep it damp for about 10 days if the weather is warm. Keep the plastic sheet in place with stones or planks to weigh it down and stop it from blowing in the wind.

After 7 to 10 days of damp curing, remove the cover. The driveway will be able to support the weight of cars after another five days, and bigger trucks after another 10 days.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region at Songwe in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to lay a foundation

House foundation with wooden formwork

One of the most important parts of any construction is the foundation. A solid and strong foundation will give the structure something to stand on. Every wall, house and building needs good foundations and quality cement to make it last for decades.

Laying the foundation is the first part of any project and it’s a basic skill that needs to be mastered. LafargeHolcim Tanzania offers a range of cement and the durable FastaPlus brand is perfectly suited to building foundations.

Items needed to lay a foundation

  • Tembo FastaPlus cement
  • River sand
  • Water
  • Aggregate
  • Spade or pickaxe
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Trowel
  • Spirit level
  • String
  • Steel pegs

Steps to lay your own foundation

  1. First, you’ll need to prepare the ground. Mark out the shape of the foundation with string and steel pegs and clear any rocks, trees or plants.
  2. Dig a trench or pit for the foundations (about 25cm deep for a house) using a pickaxe or spade. The higher the wall or building, the deeper the foundations need to be.
  3. Level and compact the soil in the trench or pit. Pour in a layer of loose sand or gravel to cover the mud at the base. This will prevent moisture from seeping up through the ground while you lay the concrete foundation. Put a layer of polyethylene plastic sheeting on top of the sand or gravel for added moisture protection.
  4. Construct a wood form to outline the foundation site according to the dimensions of your structure. Now you can mix and pour the concrete.
  5. Mix two bags of FastaPlus cement with 50 litres of water, three wheelbarrows of sand and three wheelbarrows of aggregate. Adjust these ratios until the consistency of the concrete is just right. Start pouring the concrete into the foundation and level it across the top of the wooden form to ensure it’s flat.
  6. Once the excess concrete has been removed and the foundation is leveled, remove the wood form. You can use a trowel to add bits of cement to dips in the surface of the foundation. It is best to do this while the concrete is still damp and mouldable.
  7. When the foundation is perfectly flat, leave it to cure for up to 28 days. Keep the concrete covered and damp while it’s curing.

___

LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region at Songwe in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to build a wall

Builder building a wall

One of the first skills a builder learns is how to make a simple wall. No matter the purpose of the wall, whether it’s to build a house or surround a garden, the basics stay the same. Choose some bricks and use the right brand of cement – Tembo is perfect for general purpose projects such as walls.

Items needed to build a wall

  • Tembo and FastaPlus cement
  • River sand
  • Water
  • Bricks
  • 13mm or 19mm stones
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Pickaxe
  • Trowel
  • Spirit level
  • Builder’s square
  • String
  • Steel pegs

Steps to build your own wall

  1. First, you’ll need to make the foundation. Mark out where the wall will be built with some string and steel pegs. Remove any grass and tree roots, then dig a trench 25cm deep (for a wall 150cm high) using a pickaxe. The higher the wall, the deeper the foundations need to be – about one fifth the height of the wall.
  2. Mix your Tembo cement with the river sand, water and small stones. Mix two bags of cement with two-and-a-half wheelbarrows of river sand and two-and-a-half wheelbarrows of small stones. Add 50 litres of water and mix thoroughly.
  3. Spray a small amount of water into the trench to make it damp, but make sure there are no puddles. Fill the trench with concrete and allow to cure for seven days. Keep the concrete covered and damp while it’s curing.
  4. Now it’s time to build the wall. Mix a mortar using one bag of FastaPlus to four wheelbarrows of plaster sand and 25 litres of water.
  5. Mark a straight line on the foundation using the string and steel pegs, then place a layer of mortar (about one centimetre thick) along this line using a trowel. Start laying your bricks on top of the mortar and make sure they are level using the spirit level. Keep the bricks aligned with the string to ensure that your wall is straight.
  6. Pour some mortar between the bricks and scrape off any excess with the trowel. There should be about a 1cm gap between bricks. Continue placing bricks and filling the gaps with mortar along the length of the wall until the first layer is done. Don’t forget to use the spirit level to check that each brick is perfectly level.
  7. Add a layer of mortar on top of the first layer of bricks. For every second layer of bricks, move them half a length over. Do this by laying half a brick at one end and then continuing normally to the end of the wall. This staggered pattern is what gives walls their strength.
  8. Continue building the wall with a staggered pattern and checking the alignment of the bricks with string and a spirit level.
  9. For extra strength and reinforcement, you can lay some brick force steel wire along the length of the wall at every fifth level of bricks. If the wall is long, leave an expansion joint every four metres and fill the gap with styrofoam or some other compressive material.

___

LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region at Songwe in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to make concrete bricks and blocks

Pile of concrete bricks and blocks

Making your own concrete bricks and blocks is easy. It can be done outside with just a few items and will save you money. Small-scale businesses can even be started through the production of concrete bricks.

Concrete bricks and blocks can be solid or hollow, it depends on the builder’s preference. Hollow bricks and blocks are lighter and require less concrete to make. Bricks are smaller than blocks, but both can be made using the same techniques.

Making concrete bricks is quite easy, but they need to have a standard size and consistent quality if they are to be sold for a profit. Whether you want to make concrete bricks to sell or for your own building project, here are a few things to think about.

Choosing a site for making concrete bricks

Before you start constructing your own concrete bricks, make sure you have access to a flat piece of land big enough to store the equipment, materials and finished bricks. There should be enough space to store the aggregates (rocks or gravel and sand) and cement.

Do not store the aggregates or cement on bare ground as soil and water can contaminate the materials. Do not store them under trees as leaves and seeds can fall into the stockpiles. Keep aggregates and cement dry and separate until you need to mix them. Bags of cement should ideally be stored in a dry room.

You’ll need space to produce and store the concrete bricks and blocks. A flat concrete slab is ideal – about 50 square metres is big enough to store 1000 bricks or 200 blocks for curing and drying. This slab can be slightly sloped to ensure that rainwater runs off but not so much that the stockpiles fall over.

Using the right equipment to make concrete bricks

To make your own concrete bricks, you’ll need various general purpose tools and a moulding machine. There are two types of moulding machine – a stationary block moulder that produces one brick at a time on a pallet, and an “egg-layer” machine that moulds bricks on a concrete slab. Both of these moulding machines come in hand-operated versions and electrically-powered versions.

Concrete mixers are not necessary, but they do make the process easier. Mixing concrete by hand will save money but it is more physically challenging. It can be done with a shovel on a flat concrete slab or steel sheet. Never mix concrete directly on the earth as the soil will contaminate the mix.

If you are able to use a concrete mixer, only a pan mixer should be used. Drum mixers do not work because they cannot mix the semi-dry concrete needed to make bricks. Other equipment needed includes wheelbarrows, hosepipes, plastic sheeting and shovels.

Using the right cement and aggregates

The cement used for making concrete bricks should be strength class 42,5N or higher as the concrete needs to cure as quickly as possible. Tembo Cement’s SupaSet and TemboFundi brands are ideal for this purpose.

Sand and stones will form the aggregates for the concrete bricks. You can use fine river or pit sand, coarse sand (up to 5mm in size) or stones with a maximum size on 13mm for solid bricks or 10mm for hollow bricks. Usually, it is possible to make concrete bricks with just coarse sand, but a combination of aggregates can be used.

When making your first batch of bricks, try using coarse sand only. Then replace some with fine river sand and stones to see what makes the strongest mix for your bricks. Try using aggregate to cement ratios of 6:1, 8:1 and 10:1 (230 litres, 300 litres and 380 litres of aggregate per 50kg bag of cement).

For each combination or ratio, mix a batch of concrete with water and use the brick moulding machine to create some test bricks. This will allow you to find the perfect mixture for your needs – the heavier the freshly moulded brick, the better. Test the strength of the dried bricks by knocking them together – a hollow thud means they may be weak, a ringing sound means that they are strong.

Making your own concrete bricks

Once you’ve established the best mixture for the concrete bricks and blocks, you can start producing them in larger quantities. Make sure you have enough cement and aggregates to make the number of bricks you require.

Using an aggregate to cement ratio of 8:1 with three-and-a-half bags of cement and a cubic metre of aggregates will produce enough concrete mixture to make about 400 bricks. This number can vary depending on the size of the bricks and whether they are hollow or solid.

The amount of water added to the concrete mix is usually judged by eye. Once the approximate amount of water needed per batch is known, measure about 90% of this and add it to future batches. The remaining 10% can be added slowly to get the right consistency of concrete.

The concrete mixture must be wet enough to hold together when compacted, but not so wet that the bricks sag and deform when removed from the mould. If you see ripple marks on the bricks once they are moulded, then your mixture has slightly too much water. If the concrete is too dry, the bricks won’t bind properly and will crumble when dried.

To mix the concrete, first spread the sand out on a steel plate or concrete slab. The sand should be 5cm to 10cm thick. Spread the cement over the sand and add any other aggregates. Mix the sand and cement with a shovel until a uniform colour is achieved. Sprinkle water over the surface of the mixture and continue to mix until the right consistency of concrete is achieved.

Place the concrete in the moulding machine and compact it about six to eight times to ensure that the brick is properly formed. Take the moulded brick out of the machine with care and set them somewhere to cure for seven days. The bricks should be protected from rain and direct sunlight while curing.

You can cover the bricks with a plastic sheet to prevent moisture loss. A light spray of water may be necessary if it’s hot and windy. This will allow the bricks to cure properly and avoid drying too quickly. Congratulations, you’ve just made your own concrete bricks or blocks.

___

LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region at Songwe in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

Use leftover concrete to build stepping stones

Concrete stepping stones in a grass garden

Some construction projects will leave you with a bit of extra concrete left over. Instead of throwing this concrete away, you can use it to make a variety of other concrete products, such as stepping stones or concrete blocks.

Stepping stones are probably the easiest to make and the least labour-intensive concrete product. All you’ll need is some square forms made from plastic or wood. Here are some tips on making your own stepping stones from leftover concrete.

  1. Buy some plastic forms or make your own from scrap timber. The shape is up to you; they can be square, rectangular or triangular. For circular stepping stones, you could cut a ring out of an old bucket and use that as the concrete form.
  2. Place the complete form on a plastic sheet or directly on the ground where you want the stepping stone to be. If you place it on the ground, dig a small hole in the shape of the form and remove any grass roots or leaves. Your concrete forms will fit into the hole nicely and be flush with the ground surface.
  3. Fill the form to the top with leftover concrete and allow it to cure for a day or two. If you want a textured surface to the stepping stone, you can place gravel on the top of the wet concrete, or brush the semi-dry concrete with a thick-bristle broom. This will provide grip in the rain.

Stepping stones are just one of the many things you can make with leftover concrete. You could also make a variety of other concrete products at home.

___

LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo brand of cement for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

The right way to mix concrete

Wet concrete mix

Mixing cement with aggregates and water to create concrete seems like a straightforward process. However, there are ways to do it properly that will improve the quality and durability of the concrete.

Properly mixing the ingredients will create a strong product that will last many years. If you’re working on your own projects, follow these tips on the right way to mix concrete and make your projects stronger and more durable.

Tools needed for mixing concrete

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Large bucket
  • Plastic or steel sheet
  • Stiff-bristle brush or broom

How to mix concrete properly

The first step is to empty the cement bag into a wheelbarrow (or another mixing container). Cut open the bag of cement and pour it into the wheelbarrow. Scoop out a few cups of cement and keep them aside.

Pour a 10cm layer of sand onto the steel or plastic sheet – this will be the mixing area. The guidelines on the cement bag will have suggestions for the right quantities of sand and gravel per bag of cement.

Using a shovel, sprinkle the cement from the wheelbarrow over the sand. Mix the two dry ingredients together until a uniform colour is achieved. If your concrete has gravel or stones, mix these into the cement and sand next.

Measure out the specified amount of water (according to the instructions on the cement bag) and keep it in a bucket. Make a well in the dry ingredients with the shovel and pour about 90% of the water into the well – the remaining water can be added later if the concrete is too dry.

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients

Using a shovel, pull small amounts of dry ingredients into the water and mix thoroughly. Keep mixing small amounts with the water at a time, until all of it is wet. Continue mixing thoroughly and add the rest of the water if needed.

If you pull the shovel through the wet cement mix and the sides of the trench crumble, then your mix is too dry. Add one cup of water to the concrete and mix well. On the other hand, if the trench sags and fades too quickly, then your mix has too much water. Add a cup of cement and mix thoroughly until the concrete has the right consistency.

The sides of the trench should support themselves and the mix should become shiny when patted with the shovel. Your concrete is now ready to be poured or laid.

Cleaning your tools and equipment

Once you have poured your concrete, scrape off any leftover mix from your wheelbarrow, shovel and steel sheet and place it in a bag. Hose down your tools and equipment with water. Using the stiff-bristle brush, scrub the residual concrete off properly – any left on the shovel or wheelbarrow will dry and harden, making it almost impossible to remove.

The rinse water can be harmful to grass and plants so avoid hosing down your tools on a grassy patch or near plants. You can rinse off tools in a drainage ditch where the water will be able to flow away from the construction site.

___

LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region at Songwe in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to stick to your project budget

Project budget image composition

Planning a budget for a building project, big or small, is an easy task if you know what to expect. If you prepare well and price your materials properly, you’ll be able to draft a budget and hopefully stick to it throughout the course of the project.

Cement prices vary depending on their purpose, so choose the right cement. LafargeHolcim Tanzania produces five quality products; Tembo Cement, TemboFundi, FastaPlus, SupaSet and PowerPlus. Consult with your supplier to make sure that you’re using the product for the right application. Here are some more tips that will help you stick to your project budget.

How to budget for a building project

The first step to the budgeting process is to make a list of everything you’ll need. Think of all the materials, tools and equipment that you’ll have to use, including safety gear. Find out the costs of each of the individual items and try to look around for the best deal.

Note that cheaper is not always better when it comes to tools and materials. The price is often linked to the quality of the material or tool. If the costs are too high, reconsider the size of your project – can you make it smaller? Think about paint and plaster – are they really necessary or will the project be ok without them?

Think about mixing the concrete yourself instead of paying someone else to do it. This can keep costs down but make sure you know how to mix concrete properly. You can also save money by using old building rubble for the base of your project instead of refined gravel or sand. Just ensure that the rubble is clean and free from any soil or other contaminants.

Tools and equipment to consider for your budget

Building requires a range of tools, from digging and carrying to levelling and smoothing. Here are some of the basic tools and equipment you may need for your project:

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tamper or compactor
  • Trowel
  • Shovel
  • Pick axe
  • Plank or timber (for concrete forms)
  • Steel rebar
  • Concrete float
  • Spirit level
  • Plumb line
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Large bucket
  • Chalk
  • String
  • Plastic sheet
  • Steel plate
  • Broom or brush
  • Rubber mallet or hammer

When it comes to budgeting for your concrete ingredients, such as cement, sand, gravel and water, you can consult your cement supplier for estimate volumes. LafargeHolcim Tanzania can give you an estimate of how much cement and aggregates you’ll need for your project.

Additional tips to keep your project on track

Always plan for extra variables. One of the biggest reasons why projects go over their budget is because they take longer than expected to complete. Time is money, so budget for a longer project than you think.

Add a few days to your project schedule and keep money aside for those days in case you need to buy more materials. If your projects are completed on time, you’ll have some extra money left over.

Use the right tools and equipment as they will ensure that your project is completed accurately and on time. It’ll also save you from having to do costly repairs in the future because the right tools weren’t used.

Know what you can and can’t do by yourself and budget to hire help. If you need a skilled painter or heavy equipment for digging, include these in your budget. Expert help may cost a bit more but it will save time and avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Creating a project budget is easy once you know what to expect. Follow these guidelines and you should be able to complete your project on time and with the money you have already saved.

___

LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo brand of cement for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

How to build a concrete fire pit

Concrete fire pit

Fire is an essential element of life – you cook food with it, it provides warmth and it provides light at night. A concrete fire pit is a great idea for anyone looking to make a more permanent place for their cooking fire. The fire pit is bowl-shaped and can be moved, making it easy to use and clean.

This concrete fire pit can be made from tools and equipment you already own. It’s a sturdy but affordable object that you can use every day for your fires. Here’s what you need to make the concrete fire pit.

Items needed to make a concrete fire pit

  • Tembo cement
  • A large plastic or metal bowl for exterior mould (about 50cm diameter)
  • A medium plastic or metal bowl for interior mould (about 40cm diameter)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Large bucket for mixing concrete
  • Trowel
  • Rubber gloves
  • A few large rocks to weigh down the moulds
  • Sandpaper

Steps to build your own concrete fire pit

  1. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to your bowls. This will lubricate them and stop the concrete from sticking to them. The oil can be applied to the inside of the large bowl and to the outside of the medium bowl only.
  2. Mix your concrete. It’s better to make more than you need, so about half a bag of Tembo cement will do. Follow the instructions on the bag and add a bit of water at a time until you have a thick, porridge-like consistency. Wear rubber gloves for protection.
  3. Using the trowel, put some the concrete mix on the inner surface of the large bowl. You can fill the bowl about halfway. Then, press your medium bowl into the concrete in the larger bowl. Use rocks to weigh down the medium bowl and keep it in place. Make sure the medium bowl is in the centre of the large one and fill up the gap between the bowls with concrete.
  4. Tap gently on all sides of the large bowl to remove any air bubbles from the concrete. Allow the concrete to set and cure for 48 hours.
  5. Once the concrete has cured, carefully remove the inner bowl, then tap off the outer bowl.

Build your fire with wood or coal inside the pit. You can use it for warmth and light or cook food with a metal grid on top of the bowl. Here’s an alternative to concrete; build your own brick fire pit.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

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LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo brand of cement for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region in Southwest Tanzania.

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At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

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Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our products.

Make your own concrete vases

Make your own concrete vases

Who doesn’t like to get a little creative on the weekends and tackle some homemade projects? Using one bag of Tembo cement, some sand and water, here are some fun and easy concrete vases that you can create using old bottles.

Tembo cement is a versatile product that is perfect for home-based projects such as these. Just remember to strain the wet concrete mixture through a mesh to remove larger pieces of gravel if your concrete contains any. For intricate and detailed projects, you’ll want a smooth concrete mix with no big stones or lumps.

Get creative with Tembo – make your own concrete vases

  • Tembo cement, fine sand, water
  • Old bottles (preferably plastic)
  • A pen or a glass test tube
  • Craft knife (or wire cutters)
  • Drill (cordless if you have one)

Steps to making concrete vases

  1. First, drill a hole in the cap of the plastic bottle using the drill. Stick the pen or the test tube into the hole and push it about 10cm through – this will form the cavity of the vase.
  2. Cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle using the craft knife. If you only have glass bottles, leave them intact but use a little more water in the concrete mix.
  3. Prepare your concrete by mixing Tembo cement with fine sand and water. Follow the directions on the packaging if you need guidance.
  4. For plastic bottles, place the cap and test tube back on the bottle and turn it upside down. Fill the bottle with the concrete mix, pouring it in from the open bottom. Tap the sides of the bottle to remove trapped air and keep topping up the bottle with concrete. For glass bottles, carefully pour in the concrete mix through the top. Place the pen or test tube into the wet mix and allow it to set.
  5. Leave the concrete to set for at least 20 hours. The longer the better.
  6. Once the concrete has hardened, cut away the plastic bottle using the craft knife. For glass bottles, cover them with an old shirt and hit gently with a hammer to chip away the glass from the concrete.
  7. Cut off the top of the test tube or pen using the wire cutters or craft knife.
  8. File down any rough edges and exposed bits of glass test tube or plastic pen.

These homemade vases will have a rustic look. Visible air bubbles and jagged edges can also add to the charm of the vases, so don’t worry about being a perfectionist when filing down the edges.

Original source: www.homemade-modern.com

To read this article in Swahili click here.

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LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.

___

LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in the Mbeya Region in Southwest Tanzania.

___

At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.

___

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for the best tips on construction, handy DIY projects and the latest industry news. See our Instagram channel for more insights into our work with local communities.