Pouring a concrete pad is easy and by doing it yourself, you will learn how to work with concrete. However, the project can be tricky and you need to follow some steps in order to ensure that your work will result in a strong concrete pad.
Step 1 - Choosing the Area
Choosing the area for your concrete will depend on your preference but several factors must be taken in consideration when selecting a location. First, you should build your concrete pad in the most level area in your property and second, it should not cover that you will have to gas lines, underground electrical equipment, meters and sprinkler controls that you will need to access. If you do, you will have to take out the concrete first before you can get to them.
Step 2 - Outlining the Area
You have to outline the area where you are going to pour your concrete pad to define its shape. You can use stakes for this task but you need to set them around 6 inches back from each corner. Dig the area inside your outline with a spade, shovel or hoe 6 inches deep. This should allow you to pour a standard 4 inch pad. Tamp the bottom to compact your base and pour 2 inches of sand or gravel in it.
Step 3 - Mixing the Concrete
Pour and mix bag mix concrete in the wheelbarrow. Ensure that you are following the instructions that are printed on the bag. Mix it well with a hoe.
Step 4 - Pouring the Concrete
Pour the mixed concrete in the forms by starting on one end and going on into the opposite end. To spread the concrete evenly, use the shovel or hoe. To remove air pockets while the cement is drying, tap the forms regularly.
Step 5 - Leveling the Concrete
In ensuring that the surface of your concrete pad is level, use a screed or long board to level the concrete with the top of your forms. Do it by placing the screed on top of the pair of side forms and pull along the length of the boards. This will even out the surface of the concrete and remove any excess material.
Step 6 - Smoothing the Concrete
With the use of a large trowel or floats, you can smooth the surface of the concrete by making large arcing or sweeping motions repeatedly until the concrete dries. If it is drying too quickly, you can add water to it.
Step 7 - Finishing the Concrete
Finish your concrete pad with a large broom. You can drag it on the surface once the concrete has settled. To make a good texture that will hide flaws, drag your broom with parallel and even strokes.
Step 8 - Edging the Concrete
Scrape away rough edges with the use of a trowel or edging tool. Cover your pad and allow it to completely dry for two days. Remove the forms and keep it covered and unused for at least 1 week to avoid cracks.