Concrete is one of the most economical, versatile and durable building materials available. Regardless of your skill level, building a sidewalk, patio or floor with QUIKRETE Concrete Mixes can be successfully achieved. Before pouring concrete into the forms, make sure your forms are level. Place three to four inches of QUIKRETE All-Purpose Gravel and spread the gravel evenly.
Using a tamper, compact the gravel base. A solid sub-base will help prevent erosion, when the slabs settle. Then, dampen the gravel with a garden hose. This will help prevent shrinkage cracks, especially in hot temperatures. Pour the concrete mix in evenly placed amounts. The top of the concrete should be about two to three inches above the forms, before leveling.
Then, consolidate and distribute the concrete, evenly, using a hoe. The surface of the concrete should be relatively flat and slightly above the form. Next, use a straight 2×4 long enough to rest on the opposite sides of the form to screed the concrete. Move the board back and forth, across the surface of the concrete, in a sawing motion, to remove the excess concrete and smooth the surface.
Add concrete to any low areas and screed level. This will take several passes. Once the concrete has lost its sheen, use a wood float, in an arching motion, to smooth the concrete surface. This is an important step because it will consolidate the concrete and bring cement to the surface, which is necessary for a durable finish.
Immediately after floating the concrete, use a stiff bristled broom to create a non-slip, broom finish. All broom strokes should be made in the same direction. Next, use a groover and a straight edge to cut in control joints. Control joints are designed to allow for expansion, contraction, and movement in a concrete slab.
A four inch thick slab will require control joints at a minimum of every ten feet, in each direction. Control joints should be cut at least 1/4 the depth of the slab. For a finished look, use an edging tool to consolidate and shape the edges of the slab. Several passes should be made, in each direction, for a smooth finish.
Freshly placed concrete should be water-cured for a minimum of three to five days with a fine water mist. The need for water curing can be eliminated by applying QUIKRETE Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal immediately after finishing the concrete.
Acrylic Cure & Seal can be applied with a roller, garden sprayer or a brush. QUIKRETE Acrylic Cure & Seal will also provide a semi-gloss sheen that repels water and protects the concrete from oil, grease, gasoline and food stains.
When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.
Prior to placing concrete forms:
Construct the form with 2×4 or 2×6 lumber and secure in place by wood stakes and deck screws.
Excavate the slab area to a depth of about 7 inches, allowing 3 inches for a gravel base and 4 inches for concrete.
Check the forms for level (¼ inch for every 12 feet is sufficient to allow for rain run-off). Patio and sidewalk forms should slope evenly away from structures.
Evenly spread 3 to 4 inches of QUIKRETE All Purpose Gravel and then level the gravel.
Compact the gravel base using a tamper.
TIP: a solid sub-base will help prevent erosion and slab settling.
Dampen the gravel base using a garden hose to prevent shrinkage cracking especially in hot temperatures.
Pour the concrete mix in evenly placed leads; the top of the concrete mounds should be about 2 to 3 inches above the forms before leveling.
Consolidate and distribute the concrete evenly using a hoe. The surface of the concrete should be relatively flat and slightly above the form.
Screed the concrete using a straight 2×4 by moving the board back and forth across the surface of the concrete in a sawing motion to remove the excess concrete and smooth the surface.
Add concrete to any low areas and screed level.
Once the concrete has lost its sheen, smooth the concrete surface using a wood float in an arching motion.
NOTE: use a stiff-bristle broom to create a non-slip broom finish (all broom strokes should be made in the same direction).
Cut in control joints using a groover and straight-edge (a 4-inch thick slab will require control joints a minimum of every 10 feet in each direction).
NOTE: control joints should be cut a minimum of ¼ the depth of the slab.
Use an edging tool to consolidate and shape the edges of the slab. Several passes should be made in each direction for a smooth finish.
Freshly placed concrete should be water cured for a minimum of 3 to 5 days with a fine water mist.
TIP: water curing can be eliminated by applying QUIKRETE Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal immediately after finishing the concrete. Acrylic Cure & Seal can be applied with a roller, garden sprayer or a brush.
For more project ideas just like this, visit QUIKRETE.com.
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