It is pretty much a given that if you have high traffic areas on the exterior of your home, they will eventually become bare, dirty and muddy. These areas that are constantly used won’t grow grass, but you can eliminate the mud and create a more attractive area décor by pouring a concrete pad.
Materials and Tools
The basic tools for pouring concrete include a hammer, shovel, level and a wheelbarrow as well as an edger and a groover; some gardening tools can be useful as well. Several materials will also be needed for preparing the concrete: concrete, gravel, a mason’s cord, fine sand, forming beads and concrete sealer.
Choosing the Right Concrete Mix
There are several different options to choose from to ensure you purchase the right concrete mix and the amount you will need to complete your project. Available options include:
- Regular concrete mix, which is a combination of gravel, sand and Portland cement.
- High early strength concrete mix, which is a form of concrete that contains certain ingredients that will allow the concrete to be setup faster. This is your best option when placing a concrete pad.
- Fiber-reinforced mix, which is a combination of regular concrete mix and synthetic fibers to add strength to the mixture.
Getting Ready to Pour the Concrete
Your fist step in pouring the concrete is to get the concrete form set in place. The concrete forming boards need to be set up correctly. The inside of the boards should be coated with oil or grease. If you are using fiber-reinforced concrete, you need to use wire mesh. After preparing the concrete, place the wet concrete into the concrete form. Spread the concrete smoothly as well as give it a surface finish. The next step is to do edging and grooving on the concrete pad.
The Final Steps
Curing and sealing concrete pads are the final two steps. Curing and sealing help to make concrete pads stronger and last longer. To achieve curing, cover the concrete pad with plastic and leave the concrete pad covered for 48 hours. Doing so will prevent the concrete pad from flash drying. After 48 hours, remove the plastic cover and let the concrete pad cure. How long the concrete pad cures depends on the concrete mix used as well as the instructions indicated in the manufacturer’s label. After curing is complete, it is time to add a high quality concrete sealer to the concrete pad.