As we head towards summer, you may be thinking of undertaking some DIY concreting jobs that you’ve been putting off, such as a new concrete shed base or driveway. However, concrete can be difficult to handle if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is why we hope this guide to laying concrete yourself will help you.
Safety is important
Wet concrete is a highly alkaline substance, which means that it can cause nasty burns, irritation or allergic reactions if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. If you do get concrete on your skin, it’s suggested that you wash the area with plenty of water and see a doctor for severe reactions. To avoid this, you should ensure that you wear long sleeves, waterproof gloves and boots, trousers and eye protection whenever you handle wet concrete mix.
Set out your framework
You’ll need to build a wooden framework to mark out where you want your concrete project to go and also keep it in shape whilst it cures. You can first mark out the area using pegs and string, which will act as a marker whilst you dig down to the correct depth. You should allow at least 100mm depth for the concrete as well as a further 100mm for a hardcore base. The top of your wooden framework should be at the height you want your finished concrete surface to be once laid.
Create your hardcore base
A hardcore base is a mix of hard, low absorbency aggregates that is important for providing a strong foundation for your concrete. It also helps ensure that you have an even surface to work with, as you will need to compact the surface using a tamper before continuing. This should be around 100mm deep.
Measure up and order your concrete
Now is the time to figure out how much ready mix concrete you will need for the job - you can use our handy volume calculator for this. Once you know how much concrete you need, contact a concrete supplier such as ourselves, specify the amount and choose a delivery slot.
Take into consideration any access problems, as concrete mixing trucks are large and sometimes will be unable to deliver directly to your lay site. You can use wheelbarrows to manually transport the ready mix concrete yourself, or consider a concrete pump for larger projects.
Receive the concrete and start pouring
Concrete typically remains workable for a couple of hours before it begins to harden, so you’ll need to be proactive once the concrete arrives. It's best if you have friends and family to help you with this, especially if your job is too big for one person to achieve in this time.
Pour the concrete into your framework, ensuring an even distribution with spades or shovels. Once the framework is full completely, use a tamping beam to compress the concrete into place before using a straight beam to even out the surface.
Once you’ve laid your concrete mix, then you’ll need to cover the area using a polythene sheet to make sure that it does not cure too quickly, as this can cause cracking. Allow at least a week for the concrete to cure enough to carry significant weight.
Do you require ready mix concrete for your DIY concreting project? We can help! We deliver the exact amount of concrete you need and endeavour to offer same-day delivery wherever possible across the South West and Wales. Contact us on 0117 9582090.