Concrete is a durable and long-lasting product you can use to build a paved surface to improve your backyard space. Concrete slabs are great for a new patio, parking pad, driveway, or shed foundation. Here are some tips to help you prepare and pour a concrete pad for your backyard addition.
Determine Your Concrete Needs
As you plan to complete a concrete project, you calculate how much concrete you will need to mix and pour based on the size of the slab. If, for example, you want to pour a foundation for a garage or a driveway slab, you will need a large amount of concrete. For a patio or walkway, you will need a moderate amount of concrete, and for a small deck landing or to pave over a small section along your driveway to widen it, you will only need a small amount.
Based on your needs, you can either mix your own concrete or you can order it from a local concrete supplier. For a larger order, it is a good idea to order it premixed from a concrete supplier. They will be able to mix and deliver it to you, ready for pouring and leveling. This reduces the chance that you could mix up multiple batches with varying consistencies in the water, which would reduce the concrete's strength and cause it to crack later on.
If you choose to order your order by batch, calculate how much you need in yards. The concrete supplier can help you calculate this when you place your order or you can measure the amount in square yards.
Set Up Framing
The framing of your concrete slab needs to be constructed so that it will hold the concrete in place while it cures. And to do this you will need to excavate some of the soil from the site when you install the concrete frames. Remove at least four inches of soil for a traditional four-inch slab. Excavate the site deeper if you need a thicker slab.
Connect wood two-by-fours to build the sides of the frame and set it over the excavated site. Secure the corners and sides of the frame together with wood stakes inserted into the ground.
Install Foundation Material
A good, solid concrete slab needs a solid foundation of four inches of gravel that you set upon the bare soil in your excavated site. Compact the gravel into place after you have leveled it. Slightly moisten the gravel with a garden hose so it does not pull moisture from the concrete when you pour it into place. If your concrete loses moisture to the foundation it will cause the concrete to not harden correctly and leave the slab weaker.
If you are looking for more information about pouring concrete, contact a local concrete contractor.