Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, gravel and water which hardens over time to form a stone-like substance. This man-made material is extremely valuable in all kinds of building projects because of its hard, strong and durable characteristics. Concrete can be made in the form of slabs, which are used as structural elements in a building.
There are two types of concrete slabs, prefabricated and in situ. Prefabricated concrete slabs are constructed in a factory environment and transported to your building site where they will be ready to be put in place between concrete or steel beams. In situ concrete slabs are constructed on the actual building site using framework. Framework is a structure made from wood, plastic or steel that wet concrete is poured into.
Concrete slabs can be made in varying sizes and thickness. Thick concrete slabs are mostly used in homes and commercial properties to construct floors and ceilings, while thinner concrete slabs are used for exterior paving. You will find the majority of concrete slabs being used for walkways, patios, porches, garden sheds, garages and even dog kennels. Concrete slabs can be built by a professional, however this is not necessary as it is a very easy project.
Pouring a concrete slab is not a difficult do-it-yourself project so long as you have everything planned. Planning involves thinking about the location and size of the concrete slab and calculating the correct amount of concrete needed. Once these have been considered, you are ready to start building your concrete slab. The following are instructions for building a concrete floor slab.
The first step in building a concrete slab is marking the slab’s boundaries. Place stakes in the corners of the concrete slab’s location and connect them with a string. Then, dig up the grass and soil inside the area and make sure it is level. Trench the footing around the perimeter to about six inches in depth and about a shovel’s width wide. This footing will give stability and strength to the concrete slab.
Next, make the framework using lumber and according to the dimensions of your concrete slab. This framework is the frame that borders the concrete and prevents it from spreading. Make sure the border is straight and the shape is even before nailing the lumber pieces together. After that, steel mesh should be laid in the footing to give extra strength, especially since this is the part of the concrete floor slab that will support the wall.
Now it’s time to pour the concrete into the framework of your concrete slab. It is easiest to rent a portable cement mixer and use that. Position the concrete mixer’s chute to aim into one end of the framework and begin pouring. Work quickly and use a shovel to even out the concrete and fill the corners. Once the framework is filled with concrete, level it by using the edge of a long piece of lumber. Push and pull the lumber in a sawing motion across the top of the framework from one end to the other.
Allow for the concrete to cure. When it is completely dry, remove the nails from the framework and dismantle it. Clean around the concrete slab and then backfill around it to bring the soil even with the top of the concrete slab. For concrete slabs used for a garage, protect the front edge by making a ramp. A ramp can be made by packing together wash out (a leftover aggregate when concrete is made) at an angle away from the concrete slab.