Aircrete Garden Boxes – PART 3.6 Lightweight Portland Concrete

Foamate Foam Generator

This works if you don’t have an air compressor and foam making system. I was fortunate that Darwin from the HoneyDo Carpenter sent me his large Foam Mate to try.

adding shampoo dilution to the foammate chamber
DIY Aircrete Concrete garden panels – adding shampoo dilution to tank

It worked so well right out of the box that I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get into making aircrete.

using Darwin\'s foam mate to create a dense rich foam for the concrete mix
Trying Foam Mate for the first time

I simply poured the shampoo dilution into the tank, connected my air compressor hose and started making a dense shaving-cream-like foam instantly.

a dense pail of foam
Very dense pail of foam on the first try

Aircrete Formula – 1st Test

I use a digital scale to weigh my gradients. This time around I use 15 pounds of portland cement, about 8 and a half pounds of water, 3/4 of a pound of foam and a pinch of fiber.

another aircrete concrete lightweight test recipe
Formula for making aircrete

I slowly add the portland cement to the water while spinning the slurry with a paint mixing attachment on a drill. I want a smooth, well blended slurry here with no clumps or dry cement on the bottom or sides of the pail.

adding dry portland cement to the water
Adding portland cement to pail

I’ll add the glass fibre and mix that in.

adding fibers to the concrete mix
Lightweight Concrete Aircrete Garden Panels – Adding pinch of glass fibre to cement slurry

Then I stop and use an improvised stir stick from a wooden dowel to hand stir the cement mix. This helps free up any clumps.

scraping the sides of the pail to blend the mix very well
It really helps to hand stir the mix

With the slurry now ready, I connect the air hose to the foam mate and start making foam. Once its flowing thickly I add some to the slurry pail.

foam in the pail
Adding foam to the pail of cement slurry

Pour Aircrete into Plywood Forms

I have a mark on my stir stick that approximates the amount of aircrete I need to fill one 36″ form. In this case, using a five gallon pail, I need the pail filled to the 8 inch mark as a minimum.
I’ll use my mixer to blend it all evenly. And hand-stir to make sure that everything was blending right to the bottom of the pail.

pouring the wet concrete aircrete mix into the form
Lightweight Concrete Aircrete Garden Panels – Pouring aircrete into the mold

Then I poured the aircrete into the form — giving it a bit of a jiggle to help settle it into the corners.

pouring the wet concrete aircrete mix into the form
Thick mix

Lay in the Wire Grid

Once the aircrete begins to thicken, I gently lay in a galvanized wire reinforcing grid. Pressing it down so it settles right in the center. And smooth the surface with a trowel.

laying a reinforcing wire mesh before the aircrete hardens
Laying in wire mesh to reinforce aircrete panel
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