A concrete slab is a common structural element of modern buildings and other construction sites. These slabs consist of a flat, horizontal surface made of cast concrete. Sleet-reinforced slabs, typically 100 to 500mm thick, are used to construct floors, ceilings, etc. At the same time, the thinner slabs made by mud are used for exterior paving. Basically, a thick concrete slab is supported on a foundation or directly on the sub-soil in domestic and industrial buildings. These slabs are used to construct the ground floor and are classified as the ground bearing or suspended slabs. For a multi-floor building, there are numerous types of designs available.
Pouring a concrete slab
Concrete slabs are of various types varying from beam-block to the hollow core. Beam-block slab exhibits residential or industrial applications. The slit is manufactured by pre-stressed beams and hollow blocks, which are temporarily propped together for about 21 days. The hollow scarab slab is precast and then installed on the construction site with the help of cranes. Other types are skyscraper and pre-cast concrete slabs, slung between steel frames to build the floor and ceiling. Now the question arises, how to pour concrete slabs?
Well, it depends upon your construction site, i.e., walkways, patios, and floors, etc. The concrete slabs are really inexpensive and durable enough to last for years. While pouring a DIY concrete slab, you have to keep in mind the design and layout you will create.
The best material to pour a concrete slab is a ready-made mix crack-resistant mix. The wet mixture is poured within the wood boundary and is then allowed to dry. After the hardening, the sides of the form concrete are removed, and the slab is ready to use. Ready-mix concrete is a mixture of gravel, cement, and sand, and it has all the necessary materials for the preparation except water. Working with concrete requires strength, speed, and organization. One must be quick in spreading the concrete as it will dry soon, so it is better to seek out someone’s help.
What you’ll need to build a concrete slab
- 380-pound bags of ready-mix crack-resistant concrete
- 850-pound of all the-purpose gravel
- 4 wood stakes
- Deck screws
- Twine or mason’s line
- 16d galvanized nails, 3 1/2 –inch
- Vegetable oil
- 2-in to 4-in board
- Concrete mix
- Concrete cure and seal
- Landscape stakes
- Electric meter saw or circular saw
- Margin trowel
- Finishing broom
- Mixing hoe
- Measuring tape
- Eye and breathing protection
- Latex and nitrile gloves
- Duct mask
- Concrete edger
Instructions for DIY Concrete Slab
While working with concrete and cement material, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves. The procedure can be explained in the following steps.
1) Outline the slab location
Before pouring the concrete pad, construct the imaginary form with 2 into 4 or 2 into 6 lumber by the wood stakes and deck screws. You can also use their tap measure and a rope or hose to mark the outline. Set the perpendicular lines by using the carpenter’s square. Dig the slab area to a depth of about 7 inches, including 3 inches for a gravel base and 4 inches for concrete. Check the construction site with a level to maintain a height of about 12 feet for the water to run-off. Sidewalk forms should slope down evenly from the structure.
2) Stake the location
Using a hammer, drive the four stakes in the ground at 4 corners of the intended slabs. To define the slab area, run the twine tightly between these stakes.
3) Remove the turf
Use a turf cutting tool to remove the turf or lawn about 6 inches beyond your marked area. The intention of doing this is to provide you with extra Outer space for proper working.
4) Lay the gravel
Open all the gravel bags and then evenly spread about 4 by 4 inches of the gravel and then level it. Compact the gravel using a temper as a solid base will help prevent erosion and slab settling. Damp the gravel base using a garden hose to prevent shrinkage or cracking, especially in hot weather, when extreme heat and sun rays can lead to cracks.
5) Build the concrete slab form
Mark 3-inch sections each 3-by-4 and use the circular saw or electric meter saw to cut them. Drive a16d galvanized nail into the board to build the foam. Cut four scrap pieces, sharpen each of them, and pound them in the ground near the form’s corner. Screw each stake by using a cordless drill to stabilize the form.
6) Coating and pouring
Coat the inside of the form with vegetable oil. Slightly wet the surface by using the water hose. Now pour the concrete mix in evenly placed leads. The thickness of this concrete mound should be 2-3 inches before leveling it. Distribute concrete evenly using a hoe, in such a way that the surface of the concrete must be flat and slightly above the hoe.
7) Screeding the wet concrete
Screed the concrete by moving a 2 by 4 board back and forth across the concrete’s surface in a sawing motion to remove the excess concrete and smooth surface. Add the concrete to any leftover areas and level it up. Keeping on moving the board until the concrete lost its sheen. Smooth the surface with a wood float by moving in an arching motion. You can also use a stiff-bristle broom finish. Cut the control joints using a groover and a straight-edge; a 4-inch-thick slab will require control joints at every 10 feet distance. At the very end, tap all around outside with a hammer to remove any air-spaces on the edges.
8) Float and wet the concrete
Finalize the slab by equalizing the edges, and for a smooth outcome, several passes should be made in each direction. The freshly prepared concrete slab must be supplied with the water continuously for a minimum of 3 to 5 days by creating a fine water mist.
9) Let the concrete cure.
Let the concrete cure for about 48 hours while keeping it covered in plastic. Full strength is achieved after 28 days, although it can be used previously.
Some safety precautions
While pouring the concrete, one must have patience. Wait for the dry and warm conditions for laying the concrete, avoid the cold or rainy season. Let it take its time while curing and attain a favorable temperature. Be mindful of concrete hardening time. You can lay more than one slab by using the same forms adjacent to each other. Letting the concrete dry too fast can cause cracking, so keep it moist and avoid using it before it hardens properly.
Always use breathing protection when working with dry concrete since it can irritate the breathing passage and lungs. Wear safety gloves and a mask while building a concrete.
So now you know the answer to “how to pour a concrete slab?” and it is not rocket science as you might have thought of it. Grab the equipment now and build one by yourself.