New Concrete Pouring
There's something about seeing uneven, out of level concrete all day every day for years, that gives the folks at A-1 a unique perspective on what it takes to pour a good concrete slab. We see slabs that were poured improperly, either with poor sub-bases, too thin slabs, or draining the wrong direction. Our new concrete professionals will create that new concrete driveway or basketball court of your dreams. And you better believe we'll do it in such a way that it'll most likely never move or settle.
Don't dream about new concrete, get it done today (or at least get the ball rolling.) Take a look at some reasons why new concrete might be the best option for you and your property, and find out why A-1 is the best company for the job.
In its simplest form, pouring new concrete isn't a complicated process, but it does take a high degree of skill to get it right. There is some variation, but for the most part, pouring new concrete will follow these steps:
- Preparation - Depending on the desired final surface height of the concrete, you may need to excavate the area to be poured. A gravel base of 4" - 6" is recommended for proper drainage under the slab. This is especially important in colder climates where there are high occurrences of freezing and thawing. The base should be compacted thoroughly before moving onto the next step. Depending on the level of compaction needed, using a compacting machine is often the best practice.
- Building Forms - Once your base is prepared, it is time to build the forms. This is typically done with either wood or pre-cast forms. In most cases, with driveways, sidewalks, patios, etc... your contractor will pour the concrete 4" thick, so the forms will need to be this height. The forms are held in place with stakes driven into the ground every few feet to keep them in position. If there are curves in the concrete drive or sidewalk, a strong, flexible masonite can be used to get the desired curve. This will need to be cut in 4" strips to keep the thickness of the slab consistent. Using screws to connect the form to the stakes is a good idea as it will be easier to disassemble the forms after the concrete is finished.
- Add Reinforcement - For larger slabs, like driveways or patios, it is important to have reinforcement mesh or rebar embedded in the concrete. This needs to be floated in the middle of the slab, so depending on the reinforcement product used, it will need stakes or bent rebar holding it up. For a 4" slab the rebar should be 2" off the ground.
- Pour Concrete - Concrete is typically poured, either using a wheelbarrow or directly from a cement truck, starting in one corner and working outward. It's important to pour complete slabs at the same time. The concrete shouldn't be moved around too much while it's poured because that can cause the stone aggregate in the concrete to settle, leaving the surface strength reduced. Contractors will be using a leveling board to even the concrete out. Usually, one person on each side of the board will work in a sawing motion, with the board resting on the forms. Shovelfuls of concrete will be added to any low spots to get the concrete flat.
- Concrete Finishing - There are different methods for finishing concrete (and the desired finish can vary by region.) Typically the concrete contractor will use a tool called a float to smooth out the surface. This often involves working the stone aggregate down into the surface of the concrete so it is just beneath the surface. Once the concrete is smoothed out, it is often brushed with a broom to give it a texture. This keeps the concrete from being too smooth and slippery. Finally, finishing tools are used to create rounded edges and expansion joints within the slab.
- Concrete Curing - It is important to cure concrete correctly to make sure it is as strong and long-lasting as possible. This typically means keeping it from curing/drying too quickly. There are various methods to achieve this. Sometimes a plastic material will be draped over the concrete. This allows moisture that is escaping the concrete to remain trapped keeping the concrete from drying out too quickly. There are also chemical curing compounds that can be sprayed on the concrete's surface. This actually works by creating a layer of cured concrete on the surface that seals moisture in the slab, allowing it to cure more slowly.
- Remove Forms & Enjoy - The forms can be removed after about twenty-four hours. Concrete can usually be walked on within just a day or two (be careful not to scuff the surface if it has a brushed texture in it.) For driveways, it is typically recommended to wait seven to ten days before driving on it.
- Sealing - Finally, most professionals recommend sealing your concrete to help prevent future issues with the surface. This can be done almost immediately, or it can be done anytime within the first year. Then, depending on the sealant used, it should be re-sealed every few years to keep the concrete looking new for decades to come.
New concrete can help your home in a multitude of ways.
- Safety - Smooth, new concrete is a much better surface for walking and playing. Not to mention the safety and easy of clearing it of snow in the winter months.
- Beauty & Enjoyment - New concrete boosts the curb appeal of your home and gives you years of enjoyment.
- Increased Value - Both of the benefits above add up to an increased value of your home. Whether you are planning on selling your home now, or ten years down the road, having new concrete will entice buyers that might not normally be interested in looking at your listing.
- Years of experience in the concrete industry
- No job is too large or too small
- Our work is guaranteed
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Supported by our National A-1 Franchise Network
- A-1 is a fully insured contractor
- Professionally-trained technicians
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