The art of pouring concrete doesn't sound like it would be too much of a challenge, but with this versatile material, every pour is different.
In this blog, you'll find a handy guide to preparing, pouring and perfecting the installation of a concrete surface.
Prepare your site area
Before you think about doing anything with concrete, you need to make a plan of action. Where is the concrete going? How much will you require to fill the space? We recommend using an excavator to clear the ground of any debris, ensuring the site is clear from rocks, shrubs, and old concrete.
If you are planning to replace old degraded concrete flooring, you should prepare for this by hiring a breaker to help break up the concrete for easy removal.
You should prepare the now-cleared area with a type of gravel that will enhance the strength of your concrete flooring, making sure the base layer is sturdy and compacted using a roller.
The next step in concrete laying is creating forms. Forms are typically made from wood and are used to hold the concrete in place whilst it dries. Once dry, these forms can be removed. Concrete forming should be carefully thought through, with sturdy sides that won't wobble or move while you're pouring the concrete.
Greenplant hire road forms to help with difficult aspects of pouring concrete on road surfaces.
Mixing your concrete
If the area you'd like to concrete is small, you have likely purchased dry bagged concrete. Mix the concrete according to the instructions. You can mix concrete by hand but using a mixer will speed up the process and make the job much easier.
Placing the concrete
Start to pour your concrete. Use shovels and rakes to move the concrete, making sure there are no voids or air pockets. Air pockets weaken the concrete and can cause imperfections such as cracks and holes later on. Depending on the quantity of liquid in your mix, the concrete will vary in pouring speed and moveability.
If you have deep concrete, it is very beneficial to use a concrete poker to help to settle the concrete. Concrete pokers are put into the concrete and vibrate, moving trapped air bubbles and making sure there are no holes or imperfections in the concrete. Concrete pokers are also very helpful when the mould for concrete is an intricate shape - The concrete poker vibrates and moves the liquid to fill smaller gaps.
Greenplant have a range of concrete pokers available to hire.
Initial Finishing Process
You can use a large wooden or metal board to screed the surface of the concrete, which will begin the levelling process early. Next, use a float to further compact the concrete, levelling uneven areas, and creating a smooth finish.
Small hand-held floats are good for edges and detail work, where large bull floats work well on large areas. Bull floating is performed on freshly poured concrete during the initial finishing process before surface bleed water appears. You can hire Bull Floats at Greenplant.
Fresno brooms are designed to fit on the end of a long-reaching pole, allowing quick work over large areas without the need to walk onto the concrete.
Final Finishing Process
The most basic final finishing process is simply called "broom finish" which is when a special broom is pushed across the concrete surface, leaving fine lines to act as textured grip on the surface of the concrete. There are many types of texture you can make your concrete surface, but a broom finish is the most popular.
In order to reduce cracks and increase the strength of the concrete, it must be left for 28 days to "cure". This time will allow any water to evaporate from the mixture and create a solid internal structure. You can walk and drive on the concrete from 7 days after laying it. This process can be helped by adding a liquid chemical sealant to protect the surface.
After the concrete has finished curing, we recommend getting a good quality sealant to help further protect the concrete.
Once your concrete is hard, if you have found that you have not got enough grip on your surface, you can use a floor scabbler to roughen up the top layer.