How to Pour Concrete in Small Spaces

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We usually think of cement and concrete structures as large expanses, such as streets, driveways, and patios. The easiest way to deliver this volume of concrete is with a cement truck. But concrete repairs happen in the most unlikely of places. Plumbers, electricians and carpenters frequently need to break concrete to gain access. How do you go about pouring the needed concrete into those small spaces under stairs, behind toilets, in closets? With a little ingenuity these small jobs need not become big headaches.

Things You'll Need

  • Five-gallon bucket
  • 6 inch PVC drainpipe
  • Jigsaw
  • Trowel
  • Small spade
  • Cement
  • Empty bleach bottle or milk jug
  • Carpenter's square
  • Permanent marker
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Folding utility knife

Preparing to Pour

  • Cut a section of drainpipe long enough to reach into the area to be repaired from the nearest open space. Using the carpenter's square and marker, draw a straight line along the whole length of the pipe. Mark a second line directly across from the first, dividing the pipe into halves. Jigsaw along these lines to cut the pipe in half. You now have a mini cement trough that can carry small quantities into hard-to-reach places.

  • For small holes you may need a "funnel" to place at the end of your trough. With the folding utility knife, cut the bottom from your milk jug, and cut around the top to widen the opening enough to allow the cement to pass through. Leave the handle intact for easy support.

  • Place the pieces of the old removed cement in your five-gallon bucket to get an idea of how much you will need to mix. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and mix enough cement to make the repair. Use spade to mix thoroughly all the way to the bottom of the bucket. You may want to add a little extra water to make pouring easier. Be careful not to thin it too much or you will weaken the cement.

Pouring the Concrete

  • Set up your half-pipe trough, making sure the pipe is slanted down and positioned directly over your milk jug funnel. You may need an extra pair of hands to help hold it in place. Pour a small amount of concrete down the trough, allowing it to travel the whole length of the pipe to check the operation. Make any necessary adjustment and pour until the repair area is full.

  • Using the trowel, smooth the surface and scoop up any spilled concrete. If you have leftover concrete, it can be used to fill cracks and chips in driveways and sidewalks. It will begin to set quickly, so don't delay.

  • Clean the pipe trough with warm water to avoid cement setting up in it. Also wash your trowel and five-gallon bucket to remove any excess concrete. Store the trough in the garage or the shed for next time you need to pour concrete in a small space.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try to mix only what you will use to avoid waste and messy disposal. Lay down plastic sheeting along the concrete delivery route to catch drips.
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