The next time you’re thinking of doing or re-doing your driveway, walkway, retaining wall, patio or backyard play area, consider the versatility of poured concrete. One of the most durable and inexpensive building materials available, concrete has gotten a bad rap in the design arena. Typically, when people think of creating a beautiful space, they leave concrete out of the equation. Au contraire!
Many people think of concrete as essentially powder with water added; however, there are several ingredients that go into making a good concrete mixture. These include sand, cement, and a mixture of various size small to medium aggregate materials to give it strength. It’s a good idea to hire a professional for guidance on what ratios to use in your poured concrete, depending on the purpose and location.
Planning and preparation is very important because concrete begins to set right away once poured. In order to get your site ready, certain steps will all but guarantee your success. Before you begin digging, mark the area you plan to pour with stakes and string. Once your excavation begins, you’ll want to dig down as far as needed to give you the required depth of concrete as well as the sub layer. This may be just aggregate or sand on top of the aggregate. You’ll want the surface to be level and stable. The aggregate you choose will determine drainage and stability, so don’t hesitate to get professional advice.
Your next step is to build or purchase forms. If your shape is outside of the typical round, square or rectangle, you’ll need to build a form. Once done, you’ll want to secure them with stakes, as they will have a tendency to move under the pressure of the concrete as it sets.
Whatever direction your poured concrete design takes you, with the proper preparation and tools, the work will go much more smoothly. You’ll have a project you can be proud of and your friends might even think you hired a professional!