If you are planning to upgrade your backyard by building a porch or shed, laying a new driveway or concrete slab for a basketball court, it is important to prepare the ground before you pour the concrete. There are several factors to consider prior to pouring concrete, including checking if you have an uneven ground since this could likely break apart or sink in the long run and even cause significant cracks.
Pouring concrete is relatively straightforward but prepping the ground and framing the area can be quite daunting. So, depending on the type and size of the slab you want to create, the prep time will take five to seven hours, sometimes even longer. Therefore, it is essential that you plan and properly level your surface.
Here are our recommended steps for this task:
It is important to measure the area where you will pour the concrete, so you will need to dig to a depth of at least three to five inches. Also, you need to check if the soil beneath is mostly clay because this will require digging at least 2 inches more to hold the gravel and make way for the drainage. Finally, you can use spray paint to mark the area.
You may also need to dig a trench around the spot where the concrete will be poured. Make sure that it's 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide. This is commonly done to ensure that the concrete surface will be stronger and less likely to crack with time.
It is important to create a level surface. You can use the flat side of a rake to smooth the ground. Try filling the pits with dirt and always check accuracy by using a level measuring tool.
Another important thing to do is to tamp down the surface with a manual hand or machine tamper. This will pack the soil thoroughly and make the concrete less susceptible to cracks. You also have the option to add gravel on the surface and tamping it down to ensure that the ground is levelled correctly.
We recommend using stones at the base of the new slope because this will serve as added protection or low wall to prevent erosion or loose soil. Although you will need a professional for specialised projects like building a larger retaining wall for more safety and stability.
Most importantly, don't forget to place a level on several parts of the ground and always check they are levelled correctly. If you noticed that there are uneven spots, try to fill those parts with the removed dirt or gravel from other areas.
Overall, it's essential to do your research and determine if you need to reinforce the concrete. This will greatly depend on the requirements of your project. After following all of these steps, you have now created a great outdoor living space the whole family can enjoy!