Pouring your own small slab, using a mixer, saves money as well as teaches a new skill set. The mixer will help you attain the proper consistency in the concrete, not too thick or runny. It also keeps the mix fresh as it turns. Once you place the frames/forms and mix the concrete is mixed, you are ready to pour and shape it to meet your specific project needs around the home.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring tape
- Wood stakes
- Construction string
- 2 x 4 boards
- Box of 2 inch nails
- Roll of concrete wire
- Wire cutters
- Water hose
- Mason's float
Establish the area where you will pour the slab. Measure and drive a stake into the ground at each corner location for the slab. Use the hammer to drive the stakes into the ground. Run and tie the construction string to each of the four stakes. It will be a reference point for where to lay the forms and to keep them straight.
Dig out four inches of dirt out of the area for the slab. Use the level to check for high or low spot, and add or take away dirt as needed until the area is flat and level and four inches deep. Use the wheelbarrow to remove or haul the dirt away.
Lay the 2 x 4 boards end to end starting with one corner stake and work your way around the layout until the area is enclosed. Cut the boards to fit as needed, with the saw. Secure the form boards in place by hammering additional stakes into the ground every four feet. Attach the form boards to the stakes using the nails. The stakes should be hammered into the ground on the outside of the boards.
Roll out the concrete wire onto the ground inside the form boards where the concrete will be poured. Cut the wire to fit, using the wire cutters, and roll additional wire out as needed, until the area is fully covered. The wire will help reinforce the concrete as it sets.
Lightly dampen the top of the ground where the slab will be poured. This will help prevent the ground from soaking up the moisture in the concrete and causing it to dry unevenly.
Turn the mixer on, and run about a half gallon of water into the mixer. Toss in two shovels of sand and gravel. Allow it to mix for a minutes or two. Then shovel in three to four shovel loads of concrete. Slowly add water to the mixture as it tumbles in the mixer until it is a thick cake-like consistency. Once it is thoroughly mixed, pour it into the frame for the slab. Repeat this step until the frame is full of concrete and ready to be spread out.
Spread the concrete by laying a 2 x 4 from one edge of the frame-top to the other. Work it back and forth in a sawing motion to roughly level the concrete.
Use the mason's float to smooth out a fine top on the concrete. Allow it to set for a day or so before use.
Wash out the mixer and the tools with the water hose, once the work is complete, to avoid damage to the equipment from hardened cement.
Tips & Warnings
- It will be helpful to have an assistant help, mixing the concrete with you and smoothing the final product.
- Avoid prolonged contact of the concrete to the skin, as the aggregate in the concrete can cause skin irritation or burns.
- Photo Credit Concrete mixer image by zalisa from Fotolia.com
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