how much is a 5 gallon bucket of cement?

How Much Is A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Cement: Bags, Money, Weight

When you’re working with cement, a 5-gallon pail is a standard tool to help with the mixing and pouring process.  However, when one asks how much is a 5-gallon bucket of cement, there may be a few different meanings to this.  To simplify things, we’ve created this handy guide to everything cement and 5-gallon bucket.

When asking the question ‘How much is a 5-gallon bucket of cement?’, there are three basic meanings that one could be trying to answer:

  • How Much (Bags) Is in A 5 Gallon Bucket?
  • How Much (Money) Is A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Cement?
  • How Much (Weight) Is A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Cement?

To make life easier, we’re going to answer all three.  Why?  Because it’s likely that if you are asking one, you probably want or need to know all 3.  So, let’s dive into this bucket of cement without further to-do and see what we can see.

How Much Cement (Bags) Is In A 5 Gallon Bucket?

When mixing cement, using the right tools for the job is essential to a successful pour and an efficient work project that doesn’t break your back either.  And with 5-gallon pails being so handy and easily acquired, it’s no wonder that many concrete and cement workers use these pails as a part of their tool and equipment repertoire.

Generally speaking, one bag of cement mix will fill a 5-gallon pail when mixed with water to about ⅔ to ¾ or so of the buckets’ actual total volume.

The general rule of one 60-lb bag of mix per 5-gallon pail can apply to both concrete pre-mix or pure cement mix of the same weight.

How Much (Money) Is A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Cement?

When you’re preparing for a concrete or cement work project, it’s not uncommon to want to forecast your project costs. However, depending on your definition of cement, the price may vary drastically.

For example, often, people use the term cement when they mean concrete:

A 60-lb bag of concrete pre-mix costs around $5.  A 60-lb bag of self-leveling cement pre-mix costs around $30 per bag.

So, as one can see, depending on the purity and specialty formulation of the pre-mix, the cost can vary dramatically.

How Much (Weight) Is A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Cement?

If you’re dealing with cement and you want to mix it in a 5-gallon pail, then you likely want to know how much it weighs.  The answer would be especially crucial if hoisting the buckets up to another level of construction.  

A 5-gallon bucket of cement will weigh in at 60lbs for the one bag of pre-mix plus the water’s weight added to the mix.  Typical concrete pre-mix will require about ½ gallon of water. That’s about 4.17 pounds of water weight.  Therefore a bucket of cement will weigh about 65 pounds.

One of the major concerns with using a plastic bucket for mixing cement is the handle’s strength versus the weight.  Mixing cement in a pail leaves for a reasonably heavy pail once the cement is mixed in it.  This weight can potentially break the handle for the bucket, so consideration must be taken when transporting.

More Cement and Pail Related Questions Answered

Can I Mix Concrete In A 5-gallon Bucket?

At this point, you likely understand that it is possible to mix concrete or cement in a 5-gallon bucket.  There are several things one should consider when mixing a bag of cement or concrete in a pail.

  1. Keep a spare pail or two handy.  When mixing concrete or cement in a pail, it isn’t uncommon to crack or break the bucket.  Mixing this building material is a tough business, and sometimes the pails just can’t take it.  Pails fail more often when using power tools to mix the concrete, so use caution.
  2. As mentioned, handles do not often last through multiple bags mixed and transported in 5-gallon buckets.  It is another excellent reason to keep some spare pails around.
  3. Cement will stick to the pail.  If you don’t want to have the bucket covered in concrete or cement, rinse with a hose right away after pouring out the cement from the pail.  While the cement is wet, it will be many times easier to blast it out of the bucket with some water simply.  Waiting until it dries may show poor results for attempting to clean the pail after the fact.
  4. Use PPE.  It may be hot working conditions or some other excuse why you shouldn’t protect yourself, but working smart means, you get to work another day. 

There are a few things to remember about concrete and cement.  Portland cement is nasty when mixed with water.  The mixture is rather basic and can cause caustic burns.

Now, consider breathing in the dust.  The dust that turns caustic when mixed with water.  Your lungs are nice and moist inside to facilitate fair oxygen air exchange.  Add the cement dust, and you’ve got a mix of caustic nasty in your lungs that can give your lungs a chemical burn.

The same applies to the dust getting in your eyes.  It can cause severe chemical burns and destroy your eyes.  There are three strongly recommended items that you should use when working with concrete or cement dust:

  1. Gloves
  2. Safety Glasses
  3. Dust Mask or Respirator

How Should I Mix Concrete In A Pail?

There are several steps to mixing concrete in a pail that make the process more comfortable and practical.  Following these steps is essential to a successful pour.

  1. Use a pail with measurements to make life easier.
  2. Add water to the pail (2.7 Liters of water per bag if using Sakrete).
  3. Set the pre-mix bag on top of the pail and cut the bag’s center underneath (over the bucket).  Add about ⅔ of the bag to the water.
  4. Use a slow speed power mix and mix the concrete.  Once the first part is mixed, add the remaining mixture from the bag.  Doing it this way prevents clumps.

Wear a mask to prevent breathing in the dust.  The dust is terrible for your lungs and skin, so try not to get it on your skin either.  Gloves and a mask with eye protection is the way to go here.

Is A 5-gallon Pail Of Concrete Heavier When Dry?

No, concrete does not get heavier as it dries.  In truth, concrete gets lighter as it dries due to the loss in water weight.  However, the amount of loss is negligible.  Remember earlier when we talked about pail weight?  A 65-pound pail of wet concrete won’t even have 5 pounds of water!

How Do I Get Concrete Out Of A 5-Gallon Bucket?

As discussed earlier, if the concrete is still wet, it’s straightforward to get it out of the bucket with a hose – just blast with water, and it’s clean in moments.

However, it’s a different story if you’ve haphazardly left the concrete in the pail.  If there is a thin layer of concrete on the edges of the bucket, just tap the pail with a rubber mallet.  The dried concrete will break and flake off the sides.  It works best on a hot day if you leave the bucket out in the hot sun to soften up the plastic.

If the pail has a significant amount of concrete dried in it, you can turn the pail upside down in the sun for a while.  The heat of the sun will cause the pail to expand from thermal expansion. It is often enough to free the concrete from the bucket on its own.  However, some tapping with a rubber mallet might be required.

How Long Does It Take Concrete To Dry In A Bucket?

If you’re curing concrete in a pail (maybe making a concrete stool?) on purpose, then knowing the setting time is likely necessary to you.

Concrete sets in a pail in 24 to 48 hours under optimal conditions.  In warmer and dry conditions, the setting time may be decreased.

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ABOUT GizmoPlans

Hey, this is Brian and Gene Luoma. Since the two of us have pretty much been self-employed our entire lives, we have a lot of experience designing and creating all sorts of DIY projects for businesses and homes—projects that have helped us make money or save money through the years!

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