A concrete deck can be a lovely and useful addition to your home backyard. When installing yourself, however, it can be a bit intimidating both in theory and in practice. Take the project step by step to make it more manageable.
Laying concrete requires special tools. If this is a one-time project, consider renting tools or borrowing from a friend. You will need:
- A concrete mixer
- Wood, rubber or plastic for a frame
- Rebar mesh
- Texture mats
Your next step is to dig the area of your deck with a shovel. Dip about 6 inches deep to leave room for about 2 inches of gravel. The gravel is there to ensure proper draining and is especially important in areas with high fluctuations of freezing and thawing.
When the base is properly dug, build a frame around the edges to keep the materials of your deck from spilling out. This frame can be made from wood, rubber or plastic, and should be rooted into the ground so it holds itself in place. Make sure the top of the frame is equal to the lawn around it.
Adding the Materials and Concrete
Lay the 2 inches of gravel into your pit.
Next, mix the concrete in your concrete mixer. There are specific instructions that should come with your mixer regarding how you should add water to the mix. About 2 inches above the top of the gravel layer (at 4 inches from the bottom of the pit), add a rebar mesh. This will keep your structure stable and help unify your concrete.
When that is ready, pour in the concrete. Avoid pouring concrete on extremely hot days, as the concrete will solidify too quickly. It must be poured fast to avoid being overworked, so be prepared to follow through.
Depending on your desired texture, you'll want to keep the concrete wet for varying lengths of time in the range of a couple days. To add professional-looking texture, apply commercial texture mats designed for concrete use. They come in a variety of styles, like stacked and curved brick and cobblestone.