Things to know when pouring concrete

Things to know when pouring concrete

Is there a concrete pouring project on the schedule, but you’re not too familiar with the subject? Or maybe you’re interested in learning about the subject?

As a popular DIY project that many homeowners do themselves, pouring concrete might not be as easy as it seems. There are a few factors you need to consider when working with concrete yourself to get the best results. Here is a guide on hot weather concreting to get a picture.

Depending on the project concrete transportation to the site of work, making sure the surface is level and proper weather conditions are all factors that will affect your concrete pouring project. Even for smaller casts, if you’re doing decorations and such, it’s good to consider these points as even small crafts might get heavy fast.

If you are looking at new surfaces for the landscape, pouring a slab or doing some decorations, here are a few pointers to keep in mind when pouring concrete.

Can you lay concrete on soil?

Stability of the ground

Though concrete is a substance that is durable, installing it properly will make all the difference on how long your driveway or patio holds up. Part of concrete’s strength is dependent on its mixture, which varies according to locations and projects.

Many times, concrete surfaces are created from water, cement, gravel, and sand but the ratios that are correct are what create the strongest possible concrete combined with curing time. You need to make sure that the concrete is also poured to the correct thickness, according to how much traffic the particular area will have.

One example is that patios and driveways will need different thickness as cars weight more than people. Same applies to heavy vehicles vs lighter ones.

Additional reinforcement is also required by various projects through grids of rebar selections or wire meshes that set into the concrete and gives it the needed strength. Putting in the grids correctly is left to concrete professional contractors.

The rods used need to be in the correct formation for providing the ultimate stability. Rods that are improperly placed can cause sinking and breakage over time.

Can you lay concrete on soil? Yes, you can, but without proper drainage made from gravel, you will probably have trouble depending on the ground. I’d always go through the extra trouble to have the soil properly done before the pour.

Location of the project

Concrete location is inherent to your project’s success. The ground will require correct preparation, including surface leveling.

It’s also worth to notice that pouring a slab on the slope might need different measures than doing it on flat ground.

Soil compacting and drain grading are also factors to consider. You need to make sure that it will be easy to transport concrete from the driveway to the site you will pour it into. If contractors are available to deliver the concrete to the desired location using wheelbarrows, the labor will be more expensive than if a truck was utilized with a concrete pump.

If it’s a wheelbarrow transport, you want the ground to be hard or something under the wheel as when you load it full of concrete, it will sink miserably into the soft ground. Imagine doing that tens of times with a long distance. Carrying buckets would be even more miserable.

So if you can get concrete delivered, make sure it can get as close to the site as possible. If you’re mixing dry bags, you want them to be near the pour as well as it’s a lot of work to mix and transport. Eliminate useless work from the pour day.

Concrete finishing

The moment that the concrete has been poured, it needs careful finishing to give a smooth surface for driving or walking on. This involves leveling the concrete surface which is a process called “screeding.”

When you have poured the concrete, you usually do it to the top of the form. Maybe some extra to help with the following. Then you take your screeding tool and slowly start to move it in sawing fashion from the end you’re working on towards the unfinished end.

As you “saw” the extra concrete forward, and level the surface while you’re at it, you throw some concrete to the slow spots and screed over them again. By doing this and using a vibrating tool to help the air escape, you get a level surface.

After the concrete has been screeded, it is usually floated so it looks all smooth and the surface looks “creamy”. Depending on what you’re doing, this might be it or there is still a few steps left.

Joints need to be created to make sure that cracks will appear in locations that have been pre-determined. This is done with the bigger pours as big concrete surfaces will crack without control joints.

Sometimes, texture finishes are applied to concrete before drying. This is an important step in the process of pouring concrete and must occur without a hitch. Properly accomplishing this step gives you an aesthetically pleasing concrete surface.


There are always more things to know when pouring concrete, but these are the basics. If you understand these, it is easier to build on top of that. If you’re interested in curing times, here is an article on how long it takes concrete to dry.

Besides pouring concrete, there is also the process of preparing the ground, making forms, and even the process of pouring that can be taken to a deeper level. Here is a how-to-do forming and how to pour a concrete slab for deeper understanding.

Keep in mind that this is a complex process left to professional contractors. If you are expecting a big project, it will require additional reinforcement and a lot of material. You might want to speak to a professional before attempting to do this particular process yourself.

If you have a small project to start with, I encourage everyone to do some concrete crafting as it’s a relatively easy and harmless way to get involved with your own property. Once you start small, it’s easier to move on to bigger projects.

With anything valuable, it’s good to consider consulting professionals as they can go more deeply into the math and quality of concrete needed for different projects. There is also a matter of safety when building with concrete and building on the concrete. We want the structures to have the proper strength to carry weight loads.