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Pouring your own concrete patio slab or slabs can save you money when considering the cost of labor you may have to pay a general contractor to do the job. With ready-mix concrete delivered by Liberty Ready Mix and the proper know-how, you can have your DIY patio poured and cured, and ready for the Summer.

What You’ll Need 

    • Area markers. You’ll need spray paint, stakes, 2 x 4’s, and/or string to mark off the patio area.
    • Ready-Mix Concrete from Liberty Ready Mix. Use our concrete calculator to estimate how much you need to order.
    • Tools to Dig & Clear. Consider shovels, gloves, and a wheelbarrow to properly dig and prepare the area for concrete.
    • Lumber for Forms & Wooden Stakes. You’ll need lumber to create forms and wooden stakes to keep them secure and in place.
    • Deck Screws. Enough deck screws to hold forms in place on corners.
    • A Level. It is important to ensure proper sloping of the patio to prevent pooling water and/or an unprofessional finished product.
    • A Handsaw. You’ll need to saw off the wooden stakes so they are flush with your form in order to properly screed the pour.
    • Crushed Stone. This goes beneath the concrete pour for subbase material.
    • Mesh and/or Rebar. This will reinforce your patio for extra strength and durability.
    • Concrete Finishing Tools. Strike board, trowels, and a broom for finish.

Overview of the Patio Pouring Process

Once you have all of the tools needed for the project and a helpful crew of family or friends, set aside proper time to work through the process. You may want to schedule your ready-mix concrete delivery a few days delayed just in case building out the forms takes longer than anticipated. Take time to know the weather forecast to ensure favorable weather conditions when you plan to pour your concrete.

1) Prepare the Area

Set aside ample time to mark off where the patio will go and excavate the area. You will need to dig several inches into the ground using a shovel or rented excavator tool. Dig deep enough that you are past the topsoil and reach a level that is stable and well-compacted enough to pour on top of.

2) Create the Concrete Patio Form

After your space is excavated, use your lumber, deck screws, and wooden stakes to build and secure the outside perimeter of your patio. You may want to use string along the sides of the form to ensure that the wood is straight, and use stakes every 36 inches or so to secure the straight line.

3) Square & Level the Form

After you ensure your form is squared at the corners, pound a stake into the ground at each corner to ensure the form holds it’s squareness. Then, level the form by sawing down the stakes so they are flush with the lumber, and raise the desired highest point of your patio a bit and lock it in with a deck screw. This will ensure any water runs off of the patio rather than pooling up. At this point you will also want to double-check that all adjacent top edges of the form are level with each other so you can properly and easily screed.

4) Add Crushed Stone & Reinforcement

Distribute crushed stone to fill the entire bottom of the form. This creates a more uniform pour and gives water a place to drain. For extra strength and durability, use concrete rebar or mesh to reinforce the concrete.

5) Order & Pour Your Concrete

Once you know how much concrete you need, place your order and coordinate with Liberty Ready Mix’s dispatchers on a time for drop-off. You will want to make sure you have plenty of hands to help and time to get the pour just right as it sets.

Other Helpful Tips & Hints

Pay attention to the weather.

If the weather is too hot or windy, concrete will cure and set much quicker. It can sometimes be hard to keep up with the curing process in this case as you are still pouring.

Protecting your new concrete.

You wouldn’t want all of your hard work to go to waste. Even though concrete is incredibly durable, caring for it properly during its first year of life will be key to preserving it for years to come. You can read more about taking care of new concrete here.

Beware shrinkage cracking.

Unfortunately, as concrete cures, it is not uncommon for shrinkage cracking to take place. While some of this is inevitable and comes with the territory of concrete slabs, it is important to note that utilizing ready-mix concrete that is prepared by professionals is less likely to crack than concrete that may be insufficiently mixed as part of your DIY project.

Schedule Your Des Moines Area Ready-Mix Concrete Delivery Today

Work with the professional crew of Liberty Ready Mix employees to plan out your concrete patio project this Spring. Contact us today!