Once you have decided to tackle a ready Mix Concrete project, you need to have a plane of action. Concrete is a very heavy building
material and once it is poured on the ground, it is not easily moved. Concrete is a very perishable product and sets up or becomes
hard within a few hours of being batched at the concrete plant. It is not like dry wall or painting, you can not put down your tools
to eat lunch or decide to finish tomorrow. Also, finishing concrete takes so degree of knowledge and skill. Concrete is not your
everyday homeowners project, placing and finishing concrete is hard and physical work. Having a firm plan and proper preparation can
make the project a little easier. There are many forms of literature online and in print form to help you develop a plan. Please check
or industry links section for a listing.
The first step in the planning process should be to contact your local building department to check on any requirements. Do you need a
permit, do you need to notify them before you dig so as they check for utility lines, what is the strength of concrete required for your
project, and there minimum measurement required for width and depth of sidewalks, driveways, walkways, footings and foundations.
The next step would be to make a scales drawing of your project. This will aid you figuring out how much lumber you will need for concrete
forms and calculate the square footage for your project. You will use the square footage and the depth of your project to calculate the
quantity of Ready Mix Concrete required. The calculate the yardage required multiply the square feet by the depth and expressed in feet
(i.e. 6 inches = _ of a foot) and divide by 27( one cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet). If you are not comfortable making this calculation
or you want to double check your numbers, you can ask our dispatcher to help or you have use our online concrete calculator. When ordering
Ready Mix Concrete one should add 10% for spillage, an uneven base or irregular shapes and forms. Next, determine if you will be removing
grass, roots or any other existing obstruction that may require the area to be replaced with fill, such as recycled concrete base, sand or stone.
It is know time to develop a list of tools required to setup the job, finish the concrete and clean up the project area.
To prepare the area you will need:
|• Shaded and square shovels
• Hammer & Sledge Hammer
• Tape measure & Level
• Double headed forming nails
• Heavy Tamper or roller
• Hand or power saw
• Square and mason string
• Form release oil
• Wheel barrow
To place and finish the concrete:
• Spade and square shovels
• Screed board
• Bull-Float or Fresno with handles
• Concrete center jointer
• Small mason trowel
• Curing/Sealing agents
• Come-along/concrete rack
• Wood or magnesium hand float
• Concrete edger
• Concrete Broom
• Water hose to clean up
• Protective gloves and eyewear
All of the above tolls can be purchase at hardware stores and home improvement
centers and many can also be rented at a local rental center.
Next, survey where you are pouring the concrete and how you will get the
material there. Can the truck reach the area from the street, will it be
carried to the area by wheel barrow, check for low wires soft ground or underground
obstacles, such as dry wells. If you have a difficult area to reach consider
renting a concrete pump which parks on the street and pumps concrete to the
Make sure you have plenty of manpower on the job to pour, place
and finish the concrete as soon as possible.Most homeowner project are related
to flat work (sidewalks, walkways, driveways, patios and pads for sheds).
As a result we will discuss subgrade preparation and form construction for
these types of projects.
Remove all soil, dirt, grass, tree roots and other obstructions
so as the depth of the final surface is about a 1/4 inch above ground level.
Remove any large stone imbedded in the ground, and remove any soft, loose
or spongy areas in the subgrade and replace with sand, stones or recycled
concrete. Next, back fill the entire area with sand, stone or recycled concrete
to a level and uniform grade, leaving a top grade for your concrete of at
least 4 inches for walks and patios and at least 5-6 inches for driveways.
Now you will compact you subgrade with a power or hand tamper depending on
the size of your project. Remember, if you subgrade required a large amount
of fill, compact 4 inch levels. Your subgrade should know be hard, level,
uniform and free of debris. Failure to properly prepare the subgrade will
result in settling cracks.
Constructing Concrete Forms:
The final grade of your concrete depends on the size of the forms
used and the accurate setting of the forms. Set stakes in the corners of
the area. Use the mason line and level to set your grade or height of the
slab. Set your grade to a slight pitch 1/8 inch per foot, this will allow
water to flow off the slab. Remember always pitch your slabs away from existing
houses or building. If you are pouring between two structures pitch to the
middle of the slab and then front to back also so as the water will flow
towards the street. Stakes should be placed every 4 feet apart and behind
every joint in the form lumber. The most common type of would used for forms
are 2x4’s. Making sure the form lumber is clean and straight, raise
the 2x4 so that the top is even and level with the mason line. Always nail
from the stake to the 2x4. To make disassembling easier use double headed
nails and form release oil so the forms pull apart easier. Continue until
all sides of the project are completed. If you are placing new concrete against
existing concrete plane an expansion joint in between. Curves should be made
by bending 1 inch lumber, be sure to use stake 2 feet apart and back fill
in these areas as they are prone to blow out.
When you know that your Ready Mix Concrete order is en route
to your location, dampen (not soak) the subgrade with water and then apply
your form release oil.