Constructing A Cement Patio

What You'll Need
1/4 x 4-inch poplar
Measuring Tape
Electric Screwdriver
Grabber Screws
85 lb. of concrete per 3 foot by 3 foot by 3-inch section
Water as needed
Wheel Barrow
Bull Float or Darby
Edging Trowel
Rectangular Trowel
Rubber Mallet
Moist Towel

Building a cement patio is no easy chore but it can be done at home for far less than hiring a professional. This project can be as simple as framing and pouring or as complex as creating decorative forms. The following steps will show you how to build a basic cement patio.

Step 1: Preparing the Patio Location

Proper preparation of the patio area is important to ensuring your patio comes out great. First, use the measuring tape to get the dimensions of your area and stake it out followed by tying the string around the stakes. Next, shovel away the earth from inside the stakes until the area is at least 1/2 inch deep but no more than 4 inches. Finally, use the stamper to compress the earth so that it is even.

Step 2: Making the Form

The form is an important aspect of the patio building process because it keeps the concrete in a confined area. First, using your previous measurements of your parcel cut the 1/4 x 4-inch poplar to match the length and width (you should have 4 separate pieces of measured and cut poplar). Now, use the screwdriver and make your form by attaching the sized poplar together with the grabber screws.

Step 3: Creating the Patio

Now that your parcel is prepared and your form is built you are ready to get dirty. First, using the dimensions of your specific area mix the correct amount of concrete with water as directed on the packaging. Next, rub Vaseline on the inside and outside of your form in generous amounts and then place the form in the parcel you prepared in step 1. Now, pour the concrete inside the form and use either a bull float or darby to smooth out your wet concrete as well as to remove any bubbles that may be present. You'll also want to remove any concrete that may have splashed on top of the form by using the moist towel. Next, use the edging trowel to create clean edges in your concrete. Finally, utilize the rectangular trowel to further smooth the top of the concrete and you can also create texture on the surface.

Step 4: Removing the Form

When the cement has cured for at least 2 hours you may remove the form. Use your rubber mallet and gently tap around the top of the form and the sides and when you're ready simply lift the frame off the concrete.

Step 5: Preparing Cracks

When removing a form there is always a chance there will be cracks but they are easy to fix once the concrete has fully cured. First, find your cracks in the concrete and sprinkle mortar inside them. Finally, use your garden hose and spray water over the entire surface. When the mortar begins to cure it will effectively seal the cracks.