I’m certain that most everyone reading this is familiar with using concrete for building material, there are various ways to go about using concrete, from preformed blocks and slabs to pouring in place (forms). There are many different ways to buy and mix concrete, the two main types you will readily find in your local home center are Quickcrete and Portland cement. The Quickcrete and the like are ready mixed with everything in the bag, all you need to do is add water, it’s convenient but more expensive. Buying Portland cement is better IMHO because you can make whatever kind of mix you wish, we use sand and gravel from our creekbed to mix with our Portland, PB has a formula that he keeps in his head, mixing it by feel and consistency, it works great for us. There are other things you can add to the cement mix to strengthen it and/or make it lighter.
One type of mix is made with paper and cement, it’s called “papercrete”, we have some papercrete blocks that were made by a neighbor we never met out here, he had moved and a friend of ours was cleaning up the property and thought we might like the blocks. They are OK, not very structural though, some of the blocks are very spongy and crumble easily, other blocks are stronger, it was easy to see which ones were the first batches and which ones he had learned from. We are using them as the filler for a curved fence that is going around the front yard area of the SkyCastle. PB is encasing them in his own mix of cement to give it strength.
Earlier today I ran across a great instructional video showing how to make “aircrete”, essentially it’s just Portland cement, water and dishsoap. I was really blown away by how simple the whole thing really is. It makes very lightweight but strong cement, it can be poured into forms or made into blocks that can be made into structures. It looks very easy to work with and goes very fast.
Apparently, in the past, you could get aircrete but the process required large heavy expensive commercial equipment, it wasn’t something that the average DIY person could easily do, but with some ingenuity there are now ways for the non-commercial person to make their own aircrete.
Watch and enjoy!