Concrete slab pathway

Do It Yourself Concrete Slab – Renovate Your Yard

Do you want to create a patio but do not have a huge budget? Do you want to make time for a yard project? Well, we have something that we think you are going to enjoy. You can create a do it yourself concrete slab design.

Benefits of Do It Yourself Concrete Slab Designs

Do you want to know why you should create your own slabs? Here are a few reasons to convince you.

Affordable for Homeowners

When you are a homeowner, you have a lot of ideas about how you want to make your house your own. But, we all know that renovations can be costly. This is particularly true when you are talking about yard work. But, there is a way you can keep your costs down.

Compared to other materials and methods, a do it yourself concrete slab works out a very cost-effective way to renovate your property. Concrete is a material that you can easily purchase from a local hardware store in premade bags. All you have to do is mix it with water and you can make slabs. This is going to save you a lot of money compared to choosing another material or purchasing already made concrete slabs.

do it yourself concrete slab

A Durable Solution

Once you have made your do it yourself concrete slab, you are going to have a long-lasting and durable surface. There are not many other materials as resilient for outdoor use other than concrete. It can last for over 50 years without showing a lot of aging. This means that as a homeowner, you can look forward to having a hardwearing patio that is not going to age quickly. You can have a surface that endures a lot of foot traffic but without showing wear and tear. This is exactly what you need if you use your yard a lot and you have an active family.

Quick to Make

A do it yourself concrete slab is actually very quick to make. This is particularly true if you live somewhere with a warm climate. Concrete dries quickly compared to some other materials, which means you can look forward to seeing your results. Before you know it, you can have a lot of slabs in your yard ready to use for a path, patio or shed base.

What’s more, there is often minimal groundwork and excavation required before making a do it yourself concrete slab. So, you are going to spend less time preparing your yard before you begin.

How to Create a Do It Yourself Slab

If you like the sound of completing your own yard project, then you are going to want to know how to do it. So, let’s take a look at how you can create a do it yourself slab design for your property.

Start with the Groundwork

A do it yourself concrete slab project can be very exciting. Everybody cannot wait to start pouring. However, there is a lot of work you have to do first. Namely, you have some groundwork to do in order to clear an area for slabbing. Thus, the first part of this project is clearing the area. This means that you should remove any shrubs and trees, as well as any old concrete you have there. If you have a lawn, you are going to have to dig up all of the turf so that it is just earth left underneath. Ensure that it is flat and an create a level surface.

Lay a subbase for Your Do It Yourself Slab

A lot of people rush in and think that you can pour concrete onto the soil. However, over time, your slabs can sink and all of your hard work can be wasted. This is especially true if you live somewhere that experiencing a lot of rain and bad weather. So, you want to take your time and make sure that you lay a subbase. There are several materials that you can choose from in your local gardening store for this. The purpose of a subbase is to create a strong surface for the concrete.

Compact the Surface

Once you have your subbase down, it will be important to compact it. This is going to ensure that nothing moves over time due to the weather. You can use a tamper, which is a handheld tool for compacting. You can also hire a plate compactor, which is a machine that is going to do the job for you. If you do choose to do it by hand, just make sure that it is tightly compacted for the best do it yourself concrete slab results.

Create a Wooden Perimeter for Do It Yourself Concrete Slab

Wood for do it yourself concrete slab

Next on the agenda is creating a form. This is a wooden perimeter that is going to go all the way around where you want your concrete slabs. The purpose of this is to hold it in place and help the concrete. It also creates a neat area for your yard too. You can decide how larger your form is going to be. Most people create a square or rectangular form, which has 90-degree angles.

Create the Concrete Mixture

Now that your preparation is done, the fun part is about to begin. Let’s start by mixing the concrete bags. Often, it is just a case of adding water. This is going to create the concrete you need for your slabs.

It is best to hire a concrete mixer for this job. This is going to make sure that it is combined properly and to ensure that the concrete you get at the end binds together properly. It is possible to mix it by hand. But, this can be a lot of work and you have to make sure that you mix it completely. Make sure that you wear eye goggles and a mask for this step.

Pour the Concrete for a Do It Yourself Concrete Slab

Next, you can start pouring your concrete, start by pouring it into one corner and working your way back. This way, you are not going to be standing in any concrete. As you go, you want to spread it out and ensure that it is level. The best way you can do this is with a plank of wood. You can drag it along the surface to make sure that it looks flat. This is often referred to as screeding. Make sure that you are gentle when you are screeding. The concrete is not set and you can cause dips if you are not careful. If you have a manual compactor, you can always drag this along the top if you are struggling to reach some spots.

Create a Safe Surface

A lot of people like how smooth concrete looks. But, if you have pets and children, you may be worried about what it will be like when it is wet in bad weather. Well, the good news is that you can easily create traction on concrete. While it is still drying, take a broom. You want to sweep lightly over the surface. This is going to create lines that give you traction under your feet. Just ensure that you do not make the lines too deep. Otherwise, this can create pools of water when there is bad weather, which is not what you want on your slabs.

Leave Your Slabs to Cure

If you live somewhere with a warm climate, you will notice that the concrete dries quite quickly. But, this does not mean that you should stand on them and start using your new space in the yard yet. In total, concrete can take 28 days to cure. This is going to be when it reaches its full strength. So, leave it for this amount of time before you think about using the space. You are also going to notice the concrete changing color. This can be from a brown to a white and grey. This takes time, so be patient if it is not the color you want straight away.

Seal Your Do It Yourself Concrete Slab

Now that you have created the slab area in your yard, you want to ensure that it lasts a long time. Indeed, concrete is a very durable material. But, this does not mean that it cannot enjoy some help. In particular, sealing the concrete is recommended. This is going to protect the space from developing cracks or discoloring. This is going to be beneficial if the concrete slabs are going to be in a high-traffic area.

Tips to Remember for Do It Yourself Concrete Slab Projects

Creating a do it yourself concrete slab is not always easy. In fact, there is a lot of preparation work that goes into this project in order to make sure that you achieve the best result. So, we have prepared some tips that you will have to remember from the beginning.

Wear the Right Gear

You may think that working with concrete is a relatively safe job. Well, it is when you are wearing the right protective gear. For this job, you want to make sure that your arms and legs are covered. You want to avoid the concrete mixture splashing onto your skin. This can cause a lot of skin irritation and even burning. In addition, it is recommended that you work with gloves on too. Safety goggles for your eyes are beneficial too. You want to ensure that you are being safe with your home project.

Always Have the Right Mixture

A lot of people start to get lazy when it comes to mixing the bags of concrete. In other words, after mixing a few bags with water, they believe that they no longer have to measure how much liquid to use. They think that they can look at it and know when it looks right. However, this is a big mistake to make. If you use the wrong combination of water and concrete mix, this can mean that cracks can appear in the slabs you make. Overall, it can decrease the durability of your project, which is the last thing you want.

Therefore, always measure the right amount of water when you are making concrete for your slabs. While it can seem a tedious part of the project, it is imperative for the right result.

Know Your Soil

garden soil

It is beneficial to know what type of soil you have in your yard. This is going to dictate what type of subbase is going to be best for you. For example, if you have sandy soil, there is not a lot of work to be done. Simply take off the topsoil and you can add some gravel to create a level and well-draining surface.

However, if you have loam or clay soil, you have a little bit more preparation to do before pouring concrete. Namely, you are going to have to remove between 6 and 8 inches of the soil and put in gravel. Again, this will need to be compacted firmly.

You Can Paint Concrete

painting concrete

Do not forget that there is a lot to do with concrete. While it is a cost-effective material and creating your own slabs is going to save you money, you can still make this space your own. You can do this by painting concrete. There are exterior paints that are going to work well on your slabs and you can choose the color that you like to personalize your yard. For more Yard design ideas, you can read this article.

Choose a Concrete Slab Mold

Would you like to add a modern design to your concrete slabs? This is something you can do with help from molds. There are plastic molds you can purchase online that have different shapes. They are simple to use and all you have to do is fill them with concrete. When you take off the molds, you are going to have a contemporary design. This can make your concrete appear more expensive than it really was and make it look like it was done by a professional.

Check the Concrete Coverage for Do It Yourself Concrete Slab

When you are purchasing concrete mixtures, make sure that you check what the coverage is. This is going to tell you how far your concrete is going to go when you are creating slabs for your yard. You may be surprised by the number of bags that you need. Always do this calculation ahead of time and keep a few spare bags in case something goes wrong. This way, you are not going to start your project and going to have to stop.

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