How to lay a concrete base for a water tank

Water tanks sitting on concrete base

Water tanks are a common household feature of many homes across the African continent. During periods of drought, or in the event of a water cut, it is important to have a store of water available in the home. Household water tanks can range in volume between 1000 and 20 000 litres.

This means that a strong concrete base is needed to support the weight of the full water tank. The base needs to be perfectly level and capable of supporting up to 20 tonnes of water. Here are the materials and steps needed to make a concrete slab for a water tank.

Materials needed to build concrete base

  • Tembo SupaSet 42.5 cement
  • River sand
  • Crushed stone
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Timber
  • Steel rebar and binding wire
  • Hammer, nails and pegs
  • Wooden float
  • Spirit level
  • Tamper

Steps to build a concrete base for a water tank

  1. Use the timber, hammer and nails to build a wooden frame. This will act as the concrete formwork to support the wet concrete above the ground level. The frame needs to be wider than the water tank.
  2. Place the frame on the ground where the concrete slab will be laid. Mark out the outline of the frame on the ground and start digging out the ground for the foundations, using the spade. The hole should be about 10 to 20 cm deep.
  3. Put the wooden frame back at the top of the hole and use pegs to hold it in place. Make sure that the top of the frame is level and sticks up about 10 cm above the ground.
  4. Place a 5 cm layer of crushed stone at the base of the hole and tamp flat.
  5. Mix your concrete according to the instructions on the bag, using the Tembo cement, river sand, crushed stone and water. The concrete can be mixed in the wheelbarrow. Pour a 10 cm layer of concrete over the stone bedding.
  6. Cut the steel rebar to size and create a grid on top of the concrete layer. Use binding wire to hold the rebar grid in shape.
  7. Pour another layer of concrete on top of the steel rebar, filling the wooden formwork up to the top. Tap the sides of the formwork to remove any trapped air bubbles within the concrete.
  8. Use the wooden float to scrape the excess concrete off the top of the wooden formwork. Move the float is a side-to-side manner across the top of the formwork to make the surface of the concrete smooth.
  9. Let the concrete set for 48 hours before removing the wooden formwork. Then, allow the concrete to cure for two weeks before placing the water tank on top.

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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 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 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.

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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.

How to build concrete steps

Concrete steps with pink wall

Get easy access to a raised room with this guide to building steps

Building concrete steps may seem like a difficult task but it’s not too hard. You just need to get the measurements right and use high-quality cement, such as Tembo. Concrete steps are perfect for a durable and sturdy entrance to a raised doorway.

Before creating your concrete steps, you need to work out how high and how long each step needs to be. Some simple maths is needed, along with some other guidelines; each step should be about 18cm high and 30cm long.

The entire project should take two or three days to plan, prepare and pour – excluding the seven days needed for curing the foundations at the start of the project and the steps at the end.

Materials needed to build concrete steps

  • Tembo cement
  • River sand
  • Crushed stone
  • Steel rebar
  • Rubble
  • Spirit level
  • Wooden stakes
  • Plumber’s line
  • Framing square
  • Wooden formwork (plywood sheets)
  • Hammer
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Tamper
  • Tape measure
  • Broom
  • Twine or string
  • Plastic sheet

How to build concrete steps

  1. Measure the total rise and length of the set of steps from the doorway. To calculate the height and length of each individual step, divide the total rise by 18 and round up the answer to the nearest whole number to see how many steps you’ll need (e.g. total rise of 50cm ÷ 18cm = 2.77, rounded up to 3 steps). Then, divide the total rise again by the new answer to see how high each step should be (e.g. 50cm ÷ 3 steps = 16.67cm). So if your door is 50cm high off the ground, you’ll need to build three steps of 16.67cm high each. If you know the number of steps needed and each step should be 30cm long, then the length of the entire set of steps is the number of steps multiplied by 30cm (e.g. 3 steps × 30cm = 90cm long). Mark out the total length of the steps on the ground with string and some wooden stakes.
  2. Create footings or foundations for the steps. These foundations should be two trenches (about 20cm deep) that run outwards from the door. Mix a batch of concrete using Tembo cement, river sand and crushed stone. Fill the trenches with concrete and insert vertical lengths of steel rebar; one per step in each trench. While the footings cure for seven days, dig out 10cm of the soil between the two footings, fill it with rubble and tamp it flat. Cut each piece of rebar so that it will be 3cm below the surface of the concrete when the steps are poured.
  3. Create some wooden formwork for your steps. Outline the steps on a piece of plywood. Clamp two pieces of plywood together and cut out this outline. These two pieces of plywood will be the sides of the formwork. Place the plywood outlines on the outside of the concrete footings and use small wooden stakes to hold the formwork upright. Use the framing square to check that the formwork is perpendicular to the doorway. Check that the formwork is plumb using the plumber’s line. For each step, cut a piece of plywood to the width of the step and screw it to the vertical rise on both sides of the plywood outline – this will be the vertical support for the rise of each step. Once the forwork is created, brace the sides with diagonal wooden stakes to support the weight of the wet concrete.
  4. Pour a pile of rubble into the formwork, then top with crushed stone. Tamp it flat with every layer and leave at least 10cm of space for the concrete that will be poured in next.
  5. Mix a large batch of concrete in a wheelbarrow using Tembo cement and river sand. Fill the formwork with wet concrete and smooth the top of each step with a trowel and a straight edge. Tap the sides of the forwork to release any bubbles trapped in the concrete.
  6. After 12 to 24 hours (or when the concrete is just dry enough to keep its shape), remove the formwork and smooth all the edges of the steps. Use a broom to brush the surface of the steps to create a rough grip. This will prevent you from slipping in the rain.
  7. Leave the steps to cure for at least seven days. Keep the concrete damp at all times and cover with a large plastic sheet to prevent it from drying out too quickly.

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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 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.

___

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 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.

___

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.