There’s no requirement to be intimidated by laying concrete – it becomes an easy material to do business with and incredibly versatile. The only thing to consider is that it’s hard to correct mistakes that have got made them, so always plan carefully before you begin. Our top ten tips should aid you in getting an excellent result.
1. Don’t lay new concrete over old concrete
Laying new concrete over old concrete will result in merely one thing – cracks. Before laying new concrete you have to completely separate the existing concrete and compact the surface.
2. Always use clean sand and gravel
Don’t attempt to save money by scraping up some gravel from your old driveway or pinching a certain amount of sand through the beach – always buy clean products from your local building product supplier. Even small amounts of foreign matter can ruin a full batch of concrete.
3. Be stingy with water
Too much water in your mix will weaken your concrete, causing it to shrink as it hardens. See the tip below about judging as soon as your mix is correct – don’t forget it’s better to increase the water when you need it than to take it away.
4. Concrete can burn
The concrete mix can burn your epidermis whether or not this enters connection with it, so dress sensibly in long sleeves and long pants and wear gloves as well as strong boots and safety goggles.
5. Judging a workable mix
A good concrete mix needs to be dull in appearance – a ‘shine’ to your mix probably means that there’s too much water inside the mix. To judge whether your mix is simply too wet or too dry, draw a shovel tip too much of the mix to go away a few ridges. If the ridges crumble, in that case, your mix is way too dry of course, if they settle back in the mix then it is way too wet.
6. Don’t mix concrete on the ground!
It may seem obvious, nonetheless, it isn’t for some you are mixing your concrete by hand, never mix concrete directly on the ground. Put down a sheet of hardboard, plywood or tough polythene sheeting first. Mix your concrete near in which you desire to use it so that you don’t need to transport it much.
7. Make sure the outer lining is level
After you might have poured your concrete in the formwork and you still find it finally may stop. Tap the surface in the formwork using a hammer – this will likely expel any air bubbles and also the concrete will settle again. Fill up any hollows and level again.
8. Create a non-slip surface on outside surfaces
A smooth finish on concrete can be quite slippery. To create a simple non-slip surface, after you’ve got tamped your concrete, simply draw a stiff-bristled broom across the outer lining of your concrete to produce a slightly ridged finish. Ideal for driveways and paths.
9. Concrete needs water to cure
‘Curing’ basically means the operation of concrete drying and hardening. If concrete dries too fast it might crack, so maintain newly-laid concrete covered and moist for at least seven days to stop properly.
10. Concrete takes longer for stopping in cold weather
When the weather is cold concrete needs longer to stop – be patient and you also will get yourself a better result.