Concrete is a versatile material for any home, garden, or property surface. Concrete, which can be used for pathways, patios, driveways, and basements, is an investment that is both long-lasting and beautiful. When you install your own concrete surface, you are providing yourself with a flexible material that is adaptable to many of your outdoor design demands. However, when installing concrete there are some mistakes to avoid that could ruin the look of your concrete surface or worse, its overall functionality. It may be best to seek the assistance of a professional concrete contractor.
Lacking properly supported concrete forms
Concrete forms act as a container for the liquid concrete, keeping it in the proper shape until it can support its own weight after hardening and drying completely. Forms must have tight seams to keep concrete from seeping through, while also being stiff to keep the concrete from bending out and be strong enough to keep the concrete securely in place. Forms must also be level when possible and have enough support or reinforcement. Careful form building ensures that the completed concrete product is properly formed, which impacts its overall strength and longevity. Forms are typically made of softwoods such as spruce, fir, and pine, but they can also be made of fiber, clay, or metal.
Smoothing the side that faces the concrete is advised when utilizing wood forms, as is making a watertight tongue-and-groove junction. Braces, spreaders, stakes, tie wires, tie rods, and other types of support hold the forms in place until the concrete is poured or cured. Treat the forms with light-bodied petroleum oil to facilitate form removal or use shellac if you are utilizing plywood. The oil not only keeps the concrete from clinging to the forms, but it also keeps the wooden forms from absorbing water and warping. The concrete should naturally shrink somewhat throughout the curing process, drawing away from the forms and making them easier to snap off. Concrete can be seen as a commonly used foundation material but in order to create this strong foundation, properly used forms are needed.
The site is not ready for concrete installation
Installing concrete can be viewed as an exciting project to tackle. However, rushing in and installing concrete immediately without proper site preparation might result in countless issues. For the greatest results, take the time to properly prepare the site. For optimal results, concrete should be laid on a flat, well-drained, and compacted surface. This will necessitate some land clearance in order to remove soft topsoil as well as any roots that may interfere with the concrete in the future. The area must then be leveled and to complete this, it is more customary to remove soil than add dirt. To keep the concrete from moving and breaking, several inches of gravel is often poured over the dirt and compacted. Gravel also aids in the drainage of water that may accumulate beneath the concrete construction. However, because water can cause the earth to swell, causing the concrete to move and fracture, it is best to build a drainage channel around the concrete to let water flow around and away from it.
Trying to install concrete in poor weather conditions
Pouring concrete is best done on warm, dry days. In fact, it is preferable to have at least three days without severely hot weather, cold temperatures, or rain in the forecast. The temperature of the concrete over the first 24 to 48 hours determines whether it will reach its maximum strength. Concrete that freezes during this time period weakens significantly, hence precautions must be made to insulate the concrete. In cold weather, polystyrene foam insulation boards, insulation blankets, or heated enclosures can be utilized to maintain heat. In contrast, hot weather causes water to evaporate too fast from the concrete. Concrete must remain moist for many days throughout the curing process. Sprinklers can be utilized to keep the area moist all the time, or a covering can be placed over the concrete to keep it moist. Rainy days present a problem since the extra water might distort the sensitive cement and water ratio of the concrete when it is poured. In such circumstances, it is best to postpone outdoor concrete installation, but a weatherproof shelter may be enough to prevent excess water from reaching the installation area. There are frequently more days in a year when the weather is not ideal for concrete than days when it is just right. Knowing how weather influences the strength of concrete in the early days and what steps to take to avoid improper concrete installation.
Incorrect tools used for installation
One thing to keep in mind is the limited amount of time that concrete may be worked after it has been poured. When it comes to installing concrete, preparation is everything. Failure to have the right tools on hand can lead to a poor installation and a waste of time, effort, and money. There is no time to run to the hardware store for a forgotten tool, and there is no time to experiment with tools that are not designed for use with concrete. Before starting the concrete installation, double-check that all tools are available and that everyone on the crew understands how to use them. Industrial-grade tools, hardware equipment, and protective gear are some of the items you will need for a successful concrete installation.
Using incorrect techniques
Concrete projects that are successful are often installed in phases utilizing specialized techniques. Most projects will need additional labor, such as adding stabilization and properly smoothing out the concrete as it cures, rather than just pouring it on the ground. Leveling and smoothing the concrete is a process that appears simple but can be rather difficult. It is an important aspect of achieving a clean-looking completed product that many DIYers may overlook. Skipping processes or failing to use the right skills to complete them might result in a messy completed product that cracks and crumbles.
Concrete is an appealing material that can be used in or around any property type. To fully reap the benefits of a concrete surface it needs to be installed properly. Above are some of the mentioned mishaps that can occur when installing concrete. This can be avoided if you choose a professional concrete contractor who is knowledgeable and reliable when it comes to concrete installation. Choosing professional services ensures you get the end result you want while also saving you time. Avoid the headache of some of the most common mistakes when installing concrete.