Pouring concrete isn’t as simple as adding water to your mix or ordering a concrete delivery. There is a lot of thought, knowledge, and math that goes into a successful large-scale concrete project. That said, working with concrete around the home is not beyond the scope of most homeowners who have even a modest handy streak.
There are some steps you should follow before beginning any concrete project. Conforming to these guidelines can mean the difference between results that instill pride or a project that ends in an expensive debacle. You need to know the dimensions of your project, what type of concrete to use, and how much concrete you’ll need. There are tools that can help you along the way, like a ready mix concrete calculator. But you’ll still want to follow these tips to make your project as hassle freer as possible.
Bagged or Ready Mix?
Bagged concrete is ideal for small projects. You probably won’t have to pay delivery charges since you can pick it up yourself, and though mixing concrete can be a tiring chore, it is tolerable for small projects. Bagged concrete is perfect for walkways, small patios, footings, and setting posts. Ready mix concrete is more appropriate for large projects. You can order it by the yard, and it is delivered to you. It comes pre-mixed, which takes a lot of the labor out of the project. It is perfect for large patios, driveways, pool decks, and residential foundations.
How Much Concrete?
There are some simple online concrete calculator tools that can take the mathematical heavy lifting out of the equation. But if you’d rather do it the old-fashioned way, you can calculate how much concrete you’ll need by starting with the desired thickness. Measure length and width, the multiply them to get your square footage. You then convert the desired thickness from inches into feet and multiply that number by the square footage to get the cubic feet of your concrete project. Convert the cubic feet to cubic yards, and you’ll know how much concrete you need. Finally, if using bagged concrete, figure your cubic yard number by the yield. A 40-pound bag yields .011 cubic yards, a 60-pound bag yields .017 cubic yards, and an 80-pound bag yields .022 cubic yards.
Can You Adapt?
When planning concrete projects, you would like to have the entire job accomplished in one session. For example, it’s better to pour a whole slab at once than to pour it in sections at two different times. That can cause the concrete to dry unevenly or become otherwise compromised. Therefore, it’s important that you make sure to have plenty of concrete delivered or mixed. It’s better to have a little too much than not enough. It’s also wise to add a ¼-inch to your overall slab depth to accommodate any leveling that must be done during the process. Have enough concrete on hand to adapt to potential pitfalls that can ruin your project.
When planning a concrete project, be sure to use a ready mix concrete calculator and the tips above to eliminate potential problems. It’s better to have too much concrete than not enough, as the latter can ruin your concrete project.