Pouring & Finishing Concrete Slabs

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Summary: Concrete is one of the most economical, versatile and durable building materials available. Build a sidewalk, patio, or floor with QUIKRETE concrete mixes no matter your skill level.

Pouring and finishing concrete slabs. Concrete is one of the most economical, versatile and durable building materials available. And 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 and slab settling. Then dampen the gravel with a garden hose. This will help prevent shrinkage cracking, especially in hot temperatures.

Pour the concrete mix in evenly placed mounds. The top of the concrete should be about two the 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 two by four, long enough to rest on the opposite side 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 arcing 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 bristle 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 of the 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 a least one-fourth 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.