How to Concrete Patio Yourself
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How to Concrete Patio Yourself
Concrete patios will be an alternative beautiful additions to your home, but the owner of the home should consider the advantages of having a concrete patio with the costs of having somebody work the construction. In order to save much money for this project, nevertheless, you have to consider building a concrete patio yourself. This will be good for you and your family.
Preparing the Site for the Concrete Patio
You have to decide the place you plan to build a concrete patio, how big it must be, and its fixed dimensions. The size of the concrete patio regulate the amount of concrete needed and if you will have to use a concrete mixer or not. If the concrete patio is too big in area, it could not be an easy DIY job. The spot is quite significant. You need to choose a generally even area so that you do not need to level the uneven ground before you pour the concrete patio. You need to check local building codes to get and understand if a permit is needed, how far the patio must be from the property and house boundaries, or any other county or city regulations. Before you try to dig anywhere in your location, you have to know where underground lines, septic tanks, or other utilities are located. Check the picture below for illustration.
Drives enough stakes into all of the corners of the concrete patio area. Tie the string between the driven stakes and get a line level to decide the slope of the concrete patio. The stakes and string should help you to get a understandable picture of how the planned concrete patio should fit. You should adjust some spots or area if you think that it is needed. Creating pointed end stakes can make them easier to be driven into the planned ground. If the ground level is not even, you will have to choose one of two choices: build up the low side or dig the high side out. Check the picture below for illustration.
You have to clean all of the roots, grass, weeds, and topsoil from the roped off planned area. This is much better to be done with a shovel, a hoe, or other typical gardening tools. Check the picture below for illustration.
Preparing the Base for the Concrete Patio
You have to determine whether you will make your concrete patio to be at the same level with the ground or raised. Dig 4 inches (which is about 10 cm) deep for raised and 8 inches (or 20.3 cm) deep for level. You can compact the ground soil if needed. If you are planning to have something extraordinarily heavy such as a brick barbecue on the concrete patio, you have to pour a strong concrete foundation to get more stability. Check the picture below for illustration.
You should add a gravel or crushed rock layer on top of compacted ground soil. Similarly, this base will be 4 inches (or approximately 10 cm) deep. Make sure that the gravel or crushed rock layer is well compacted and laid evenly. Fluctuation in the level of the base layer will be able to make shifting or cracking in the concrete patio over time. Check the picture below for illustration.
Drive the stakes around the new boundary of the concrete patio, make space at least 2 feet (about 0.6 m) apart. These driven stakes must be slightly outside of your previously driven stakes. These stakes can be used in a later step to assist support the outer boundary of the concrete patio. Ensure that the driven stakes are firmly embedded in the planned ground. Concrete patios must slope to allow for water runoff. The common slope is 1/8″ per foot. You can check the local building codes to be sure about this exact slope dimensions. Do not underestimate the weight of wet concrete. Use strong wood or it would bend or even break under the weight. Consider to use steel formworks to avoid this trouble. Check the picture below for illustration.
Preparing the Formwork for the Concrete Patio
Cut 2x4s to create the form. The form will hold the concrete patio. Cut the 2×4 to the length so that the inside part dimensions are similar to the concrete patio area. The form can be removed after the concrete patio is done, so you need to ensure that you do not count the boundary of the form into your dimensions; if you work on this, the concrete patio should be smaller than you originally planned.
Line the 2x4s with the string boundary of the concrete patio. When you put the wooden board into your concrete patio site, they must be aligned underneath the prepared string. The 2x4s are working as the outer walls of your concrete patio, you have to ensure you put them in the right space.
Nail the 2×4 to the driven stakes. The driven stakes are the support for the form so it does not bend against the concrete. Ensure the nails, driven stakes, and forms are firm. Use nails which are strong and long enough. You may use screws on this subject. This needs a screwdriver. When you are nailing every four forms to the driven stakes, ensure the patio forms are level. Use the prepared string or a level to make sure the patio forms are level. If the patio forms are not level, you could end up with uneven concrete patio.
Saw off all of the tops of the driven stakes. The driven stakes must be just below the boundary of the patio forms. They must not be visible above the concrete.
Coat the patio form wooden boards with vegetable oil or a specific releasing agent. This is to make sure that the concrete will not adhere to your form wooden boards so they can be removed after the patio concrete has done setting.
Create a concrete mix. This may be created by hand or with a mixer. Always follow the guidance on the concrete bags. They must list how much water you must provide and how you will mix it. You can count the number of concrete bags you will require by measuring the cubic yards of the concrete patio site. Multiply the the width, thickness, and the height of the planned or designed area to decide how many concrete bags you will require. You may also work on a concrete calculator. If you want to mix the concrete by hand, you can put the provided concrete mix into a mortar tub or a wheelbarrow. Mix with a shovel or a hoe. Ensure that while mixing concrete by hand you must wear protective eye wear and special gloves. If you want to use a mixer, ensure that you can move the concrete mixer into the planned area where you want to build the concrete patio. The concrete amount required for the concrete patio project must decide whether you can mix by hand or with a mixer.
Pour the mixed concrete. Do all of this work at once to avoid settling and independent shifting of concrete slabs. If you want to use a wheelbarrow, create a ramp so that you are able to pour the mixed concrete into the planned area. Ensure that the ramp will not disturb or move the patio forms. The ramps may be created with 2x4s or other long pieces of wood.
Lay the concrete evenly into all corners with a shovel. Concrete is quite heavy, that is why you have to ensure to lay it near to where you need it. If the concrete patio planned area is wide, you could utilize a longer tool to spread hard to get the concrete to the inside areas, or wear rubber boots to step in the mixed concrete as you spread.
Utilize a flat piece of aluminum or wood screed (a long 2×4) to level the top part of the concrete. Work the leveling from one end of the concrete patio to the other in a sawing motion.
Use a kind of bull float make the concrete surface smooth. Move the bull float back and forth to make the concrete patio smooth and level. Water of the concrete mix will float to the patio surface during this stage. You have to wait until the water vanishes to finish the concrete patio.
Do the finishing touches carefully. You can use an edger, then slide it between the patio forms and the concrete to make a rounded edge. While the concrete is able to hold your weight, cut grooves in the concrete patio every 8 feet. These can be used as control joints which can assist if the concrete changes or shifts over time. The last step is to hand float the patio concrete with a magnesium float or steel to finish smoothing the surface out.
Allow the concrete cure for at least two days. At these two days of concrete curing, protect the concrete patio well. Do not let anything touch it. Cover the concrete patio with a curing compound or simple plastic to make sure it keeps moist. After this process, you can remove the patio form boards. Be very very careful during this step, do not chip your newly done concrete.
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