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I've got a pile of pebbles left over from house renovation and some portland cement but I don't have any sand. Can I just use "dirt" instead of the sand? Sandy, Dirt is a difficult one, unless it is sort of craggy. Dirt tends to be more 'rounded'. If you decide to use this also add pebbles or some crushed rock if you have it.

Your stairs will likely be rustic and may not be durable for the long run, but fun for a little while. Now about the rounded versus craggy. Cement is a 'dry glue' it does better if it has nooks and crags and sharp edges, as sand does to allow for it to adhere to all of the surfaces.

Soil Cement - Simple & Cheap Home Application [Homemade]

Dirt, dependent on where the area is tends to have more composted leaf and needle, and other organic material, bat, worm, slug, snake digested materials that as they decompose do not have sharp surfaces. The other difficulty with dirt is dependent on your area and either water run off or natural minerals in the soil you may find some area in your mix that 'harden' better than other, which could be decieiving. But if you have a little extra dirt and some cement you can always try, if you have some saw dust and glue Elmers, white, wood, or other try adding that to your sample mix.

If things are not anywhere set up in hmmm, say 6 hours, then I would not venture further with the stair idea. Be creative, Dena. Certain types of "dirt" have been used successfully in making concrete, but unless you have an analysis done by a lab to confirm the usability, odds are it will fail.

It all comes down to the chemical content and unfortumately most dirt does not measure up. Even if you run a test batch that looks good initially, you could encounter serious deterioration over a fairly short span of time simply due to the chemistry being wrong. Commercial concrete production is a highly controlled affair and even then contaminants often from the surrounding soil can wreck the mix. Personally, I'd stick with known quantities How can I make this path pleasing to look at without actually replacing anything?

Old non-usuable cement pool, what can I do with this backyard hole?

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Can we put tile on this cement floor? I would make a small batch and test it out. They made adobe for years so who knows. Make a few bricks with it, let them cure real good and then try soaking them in some water and see if they stay together.

Dirt Mixed with Quikrete Cement Mix

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Contractors bidding on soil-cement jobs know that construction will be relatively easy and problem-free; weather delays rare; and reworking of completed sections unnecessary. Failing granular-base pavements, with or without their old bituminous mats, can be salvaged, strengthened, and reclaimed as soil-cement pavements.

This is an efficient, economical way of rebuilding pavements.

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  • Since approximately 90 percent percent of the material used is already in place, handling and hauling costs are cut to a minimum. Many granular and waste materials from quarries and gravel pits can also be used to make soil-cement; thus high-grade materials are conserved for other purposes. Soil-cement is constructed quickly and easily — a fact appreciated by owners and users alike. Soil-cement thicknesses are less than those required for granular bases carrying the same traffic over the same subgrade.

    This is because soil-cement is a cemented, rigid material that distributes loads over broad areas. Its slab-like characteristics and beam strength are unmatched by granular bases. Hard, rigid soil-cement resists cyclic cold, rain, and spring-thaw damage. Old soil-cement pavements in all parts of the continent are still giving good service at low maintenance costs. Soil-cement has been used in every state in the United States and in all Canadian provinces.

    Specimens taken from roads show that the strength of soil-cement actually increases with age; some specimens were four times as strong as test specimens made when the roads were first opened to traffic. The cost of soil-cement compares favorably with that of granular-base pavement. When built for equal load-carrying capacity, soil-cement is almost always less expensive than other low-cost pavements. Economy is achieved through the use or reuse of in-place or nearby borrow materials. No costly hauling of expensive, granular-base materials is required; thus, both energy and materials are conserved.

    Soil-cement pavements have many uses from city streets, county roads, state routes, and interstate highways, to parking lots, industrial storage facilities, and airports.