How Concrete Is Poured
Pouring is one of the main ways concrete is applied in residential construction projects. Concrete can be poured to form driveways, walkways, walls and other surfaces. With a little preparation, these and other projects can be completed by an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer.
Here’s what you need to know about pouring concrete slab for a home construction project.
Site and Subbase Preparation
The first step in pouring a concrete driveway or other surface is to prepare the area. This is done by first digging out the path and clearing away any nearby debris. Then, lay the subbase. A subbase is the material on which the concrete rests, and a major factor in the strength of the finished product. Most builders will use a layer of either coarse or fine stone.
When preparing the site and subbase, the demands of your project will dictate how to proceed. For example, to pour a concrete driveway, you’ll want to allow for at least 4 inches of concrete laid on top of a 2-inch subbase.
Building the Form
The next and perhaps most important step in pouring concrete is building the form. The form is basically a mold for the finished project. Forms are usually made from 6-inch tall hardwood siding and are secured in place using drywall screws. For rectangular projects, a form should be laid around the perimeter. On projects with curves, such as a walkway, the form should be bent to hug the edge.
Forms also dictate the slope of the finished project. For drainage purposes, it is recommended that the form decrease by one-quarter inch for every foot of concrete that is being poured.
Pouring the Concrete
Pouring the concrete itself is relatively straightforward. Wear proper protective clothing and work quickly to screed (flatten) the mix using a large plank of wood. Work from top to bottom, making your way downward to ensure a smooth finished product.
Immediately after screeding the concrete, the next step is called floating. This involves using a large tool called a bull float to press the concrete down, pushing excess water to the surface and improving compaction.
Finishing the Concrete
The finishing stage will vary according to the specifics of your project. For something like a driveway, finishing typically involves simply raking the concrete to make small grooves that increase traction. For something more ornamental, special edgers and floats will be used to make a neater appearance.
After it is poured, a concrete slab will take up to 30 days to fully harden. The forms can be removed the following day, though it is critical to cover the work area in plastic and make sure it is not disturbed. Once the concrete is fully set, apply a concrete sealer to prevent cracks and weather damage over time.
Got a question about pouring concrete walls, driveways or other surfaces? Contact the team at Marstellar Oil and Concrete for assistance.