Pouring concrete is no simple task, and it only becomes more complicated when you have a slope to deal with as well. Before we can go into the ins and outs of how to do this project, there are a few other pieces of information we need to go over first, with the help of ZA Groundworks Ltd, which does groundworks in Basildon.
Why Would I Want to Pour My Own Concrete?
One of the most important reasons is simple: it costs significantly less to do it yourself. That being said, if you don’t know the proper way to do it, it might end up being a big mistake. It’s all a matter of following the proper procedure in pouring concrete.
The amount of money you will save depends on the size of your slab. A typical 16’ by 20’ concrete slab found in most driveways will probably set you back upward of $4,000. Doing it yourself can cut costs anywhere from 30 to upward of 50 percent!
What Do I Need for the Project?
Like any construction project, there are going to be some tools that you will need. You’re going to need at least 50 feet of concrete forms before you even begin. You’ll also need a circular saw, hammer, level, pry bar, tape measure, safety glasses, and gloves.
Naturally, you’re going to need some concrete mix and water, along with a host of other materials such as anchor bolts, 6-mil plastic, and duplex nails. You’ll also need a way to help reinforce the concrete form such as lumber, rebar, tie wire, and packable fill.
The majority of the work in putting down a new concrete slab is going to be in the form building and excavation. From here, it’s a matter of prepping the location as much as possible, pouring the concrete, and making sure it dries correctly.
What Do I Need to Do for Preparation?
Make sure to get in contact with your local building department to see if a permit is required or not. You’ll need to have measurements of your home’s perimeter and the size of the slab itself. You should also start the process of drainage at this point as well.
In order to avoid any cracking and to just generally ensure that your slab lasts longer, it’s important to have proper drainage for your concrete. If you have sandy or clay soil, it isn’t completely hopeless, just give yourself enough room to add a layer of gravel.
How Do I Make Sure the Forms Are Perfect and Level?
It’s best to use a large piece of wood to form it, with 2” x 12’recommended. When setting the height of the stakes, make sure to use the level so it is straight. When harming the form to the stakes or together, make sure to use 16d duplex nails, as these work best.
Sometimes freshly poured concrete can push boards outward, messing up the slab. Reinforce the edges with extra bracing by placing 2” x 4” stakes and kickers every 2 feet for additional support. Make sure the kickers are pushed outward so nothing bends outwards.
To increase the strength of the concrete, it is best to add at least ½” of rebar. Use a circular saw with the appropriate blade to cut the rebar in the correct lengths. Overlap the bar in a criss-cross pattern, using tie wire on the section where they overlap.
Do I Need to Pour All the Concrete at Once?
Depending on the weather, pouring concrete all at once isn’t always recommended. If the weather is hot and dry, it is recommended to divide the slab down the middle with another piece of wood and fill in both halves on varying days to avoid rushing.
You can mix the concrete in a wheelbarrow and do it a little bit at a time. That being said, a concrete truck will be much faster. Just make sure that all the preliminary work, the base, and the form are all in the proper places before you start, as you only have one chance at this!
How Do I Level the Concrete?
There are a couple of ways you can do this. If you are fast enough, you and someone else can use a trowel to flatten everything down. Another way to do it is to use a 2” by 4’ screed board that is dragged across the top with a helper who can add or remove concrete as needed.
Expect the concrete to take about 3 days to completely dry. If you intend to put a large structure on top of the slab (a garage, for instance) then make sure to have the edges of the slab a few inches thicker so as to properly hold up the structure.