Thinking of laying your own concrete? Here are five top tips on successful concrete laying to help you get the job done effectively.
1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Laying concrete is a difficult business and you rarely get a second chance to get it right. So before you begin it’s important to guarantee your working area is clear of any tools, materials and other obstructions that could interfere with the pouring process. This includes everything from grass and foliage to surrounding rocks and previously laid concrete.
2. Mark out a form
A form is a secured wooden border built around the cement pouring site that, when properly constructed, will help to achieve a better finish on your concrete. For square or rectangular forms, make sure that your corners form 90 degree angles and that diagonal slats are corresponding. Building your form at a slight slant will help to prevent water collecting in the middle of your concrete once poured.
3. Get the right mix
Your concrete mix is made by adding together cement, sand and gravel at a ratio of 1:2:4. Water is then added to the dry combination to bring all of the components together. Because too much water can weaken the constitution of the final product, try to add as little as possible. A drier mix makes the concrete less likely to crack and provides a smoother consistency.
4. Avoid a big slip
Once you have laid out your concrete, a great tip is to use a broom to sweep across the surface, creating patterns. This is important as it provides traction to the concrete once it is set, preventing it from being slippery in wet conditions. Always be careful to make sure your patterned grooves are not too deep, as this can result in standing water occurring, which can damage the concrete.
5. Care for your concrete
Concrete surfacing is popular because it is durable and therefore low maintenance, however, it’s always worthwhile giving your concrete a regular scrub down to keep it looking its best. It is also advisable to check for evidence of damage and general wear-and-tear every 4 to 5 years, making sure that cracks are filled in and that any structural issues are fixed.
For all the materials and equipment you need for DIY concrete laying, please click here.