Concrete work does not always need to be completed by a contractor, as there are many DIY concrete projects for you to tackle on your own. With the help of a ready mix concrete supplier and a wheelbarrow, you can order or mix up your own concrete. Here are some recommendations to help you as you install and work with concrete to pour a new concrete slab in your yard.
Use a Proper Mixing System
Some concrete projects can be done over the space of a day or weekend, and they only require smaller batches of concrete, so you can mix it up yourself. A batch of concrete to pour into concrete molds that you are using to build a walkway, for example, does not have to have an identical consistency with all the rest of the batches because each pour can be completed separately. So, if you are mixing and pouring individual molds for your concrete, you can combine one or two bags of dry concrete mix at a time. Because you are not mixing up multiple bags of concrete at the same time, you don't need a large concrete mixer, and you can make the concrete in something as simple as a wheelbarrow.
However, if you plan to pour and install a larger concrete patio, for example, and you would need to mix up a combined total of twenty to thirty bags of concrete, you will need a larger capacity concrete mixer, or order a ready mix concrete. Combining a larger capacity of concrete in multiple small batches, such as in your wheelbarrow, will give you inconsistent concrete mixes and a weak concrete slab after your pour and level it into one surface.
Prepare Your Concrete
When you are ready to mix up your concrete, whether you are using a wheelbarrow or a portable concrete mixer, be sure you follow the mixture measurements to get the consistency right. If you mix your concrete to a consistency that is too watery or too dry, it will give you a concrete surface that is brittle, peels off its surface, and fails soon after. Your concrete should have the consistency of thick oatmeal, so when you score it down the middle with your trowel, the sides of the gouge hold their shape consistently.
Pour the Concrete
When you pour your concrete into the molds, use a trowel or a concrete mixer to loosen the concrete and release any trapped air bubbles down inside. You don't want air bubbles in the concrete when it cures because it will not be as strong a surface as you need. The air pockets will promote premature cracking, and your slab will end up damaged and in need of replacement.
After pouring and smoothing the concrete, watch for the surface to form a sheen of water. At this point, you know that the concrete has begun to cure, and you can apply a broom texture to give the concrete a non-slip surface. This is recommended for walkways, patios, or other areas that may encounter ice formation in the future.