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Steps To Pouring Concrete

Steps To Pouring Concrete Steps To Pouring Concrete 300x199

Installing concrete, whether for a concrete driveway, slab, sidewalk, footing or patio can be a very challenging job. Each and every
concrete placement is different. Size, shape, color, finish and depth of a residential project all have to be considered when pouring concrete. Once these items are decided on, the steps to placing concrete are relatively always the same in regard to layout, preparation, and concrete placement.

We’ve created a nine step guide to preparing and placing concrete in a residential installation so you can get a better understanding of what takes place before, during and after concrete is placed. So, what are the steps to pouring concrete? Keep reading.

Step 1

Once the decision is made to go with Harmon Concrete, the price and logistics have already been worked out. It’s time to go to the playing field, mark out exactly what work is going to be completed and what is to be expected. It’s always a good idea to remain with the contractor during the initial phase of the project just in case any last-minute questions arise.

Step 2

Before concrete can be placed, the site needs to be prepared. The area needs to be cleared and/or cleaned. Most often earth moving equipment is used to clear the area to speed the process. All grass, rocks, trees, shrubs, and old concrete needs to be removed, exposing raw earth. A sub base of a minimum 4 inches of granular fill or road base is recommended, unless the soil is very compact and stable. The sub base fill is placed and compacted over the entire area where concrete will be placed, with special attention on the edges. Proper sub base preparation is important to allow the concrete to cure properly as well as reduce the chances for heaving from expansive soils and frost heaving.

Step 3

Once the Harmon Concrete crew has the sub base prepared, forms can be set. Concrete forms are made from wood, metal or plastic, and can range in height from 4 inches to many feet. For most residential concrete projects, wood forms will be used, held in place with metal or wood stakes. The forms are attached to the stakes with screws or special nails to allow for easy removal of the forms after the concrete has cured. Harmon Concrete forms are set to provide the proper slope or grade for drainage and form clean corners where they meet each other or other structures.

Step 4

The sub base is compacted; the forms are set, now it’s time for the concrete. Hamon Concrete orders a concrete mix that meets the requirements of the slab being placed. No matter where you live the minimum cement content for any residential concrete should be 470 lb. per yard of concrete, more for colder climates. If you live in a freeze thaw climate, a minimum of 4% of air entraining admixture should be used to help prevent scaling and spalling. We use small stone as aggregate in the concrete if it is going to be stamped, vs. regular ¾ inch stone for broom or smooth finish concrete slabs. The concrete will arrive in a ready mix concrete truck. The drum on the back of the truck will be spinning slowly to keep the concrete inside from settling and getting hard. The ready mix truck may be able to pull up to the site and pour right into the forms. If the site is on the other side of the house or building, the ready mix truck may pour into wheel barrows or a concrete pump to get the wet concrete to the site. The Harmon Concrete crew will pour wet concrete into the forms until they are full to the top edge. While the wet concrete is being poured, we begin using shovels, rakes and come alongs (a special concrete rake) to move the concrete to make sure there are no voids or air pockets.

Step 5

Once we’ve placed the wet concrete into the forms, a large magnesium or wood board is used to screed the top of the concrete. This screeding process helps compact and consolidate the concrete, and begins the smoothing and leveling of the top of the concrete. Once the surface has been screeded, the concrete is floated. This involves using a special trowel called a float. Floats can be a small hand held trowel for edges and detail work, or a large trowel called a bull float for working large areas of the concrete surface. The surface is floated to further compact the concrete, even out any depressions or high areas, and create a smooth finish on the surface. At the same time early finishing takes place, joints and edges are worked into the concrete with special hand tools.

Step 6

If the concrete is only going to receive a rough broom finish, no additional finishing may be needed after the floating procedure. If the concrete will be smooth troweled or stamped, a steel trowel finish is needed. The concrete will be left to rest until the surface begins to firm up. Once firm, steel troweling is performed to create a smooth, hard and uniform finish across the concrete surface. Steel troweling can take place by having contractors float across the surface on knee boards troweling small areas at a time, or with larger trowels on poles known as “fresno” or “funny trowels”.

Step 7

Once the troweling (float or steel) is complete, the final finish can be applied to the concrete. The most basic type of finish is known as a “broom finish”. A special broom is pulled across the concrete surface creating a rough textured surface. Other types of finishes include stamped, textured, or smooth trowel to name a few.

Step 8

Once all the placement and finishing is complete, the concrete can rest and begin to cure (get hard). The curing process actually lasts 28 days, with the first 48 hours being the most critical. It is recommended that a liquid chemical curing and sealing compound be applied to the concrete as soon as the finishing process is complete. The curing compound helps the concrete cure slowly and evenly, which helps reduce cracks, curling, and surface discoloration. You can also use a water sprinkler to keep the concrete moist.

If concrete is placed in weather below 30°, curing blankets should be used to keep the concrete warm during the initial few days of the curing process. Concrete should not be placed when temperatures will drop below 20°. The colder the temperature, the longer it will take concrete to cure. You can start to use your concrete for light foot traffic 1 to 3 days after placement, and you can drive and park on your concrete 5 to 7 days after placement.

Step 9

Concrete is a durable product, and if placed, finished and cured properly, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last a lifetime. While concrete is often viewed as a NO maintenance product, consider the following simple maintenance procedures to increase the service life of your concrete.

A good quality sealer is always a good idea. A cure and seal may be used the same day the concrete is placed, or a high quality sealer may be applied a month after the concrete is placed. Exterior concrete sealers can last anywhere from 1 to 5 years, depending primarily on environmental conditions. Occasional soap and water cleaning is also advised to keep your concrete looking its best. Sealing and regular maintenance will also minimize the chances from staining and discoloration caused by natural or manmade contamination.

Concrete has been around for thousands of years, and remains the most popular choice for residential patios, walkways, and driveways. When you make the decision to go concrete, understanding the basic steps will make the entire process run smoother for all parties involved.

Serving The Central United States Since 1987

Harmon Concrete proudly services Tulsa, Oklahoma, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Bentonville, Arkansas, Rogers, Arkansas, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, Harrison, Arkansas, Branson, Missouri, Springfield, Missouri, Joplin, Missouri, Neosho, Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, Jefferson City, Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, Wichita, Kansas, Kansas City, Kansas, Dallas, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, Houston, Texas and the entire Central United States of America.

If your city is not listed, please rest assured that Harmon Concrete services all of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.