A concrete deck can be a cost-effective way to add living space to your outside area. All work for the project can be done with a little know-how and some manual labor, making the highest costs the cement itself and the wood for the mold framework. If you are really looking to cut costs, find some used wood at the local dump -you'll be throwing it away when you are finished anyway. The following plan creates a deck that is 12 feet by 6 feet. Obviously, measurements can be changed to make any size deck you are wishing to add, although the bigger the slab the more complicated the project becomes.
Things You'll Need
- 75 feet of lumber (2-by-4s or 1-by-4s work best)
- 6 bags of 94 lb. cement
- 22 feet of 3/4 inch gravel
- 15 cubic feet of sand
- 60 feet of #3 rebar
- 3 inch nails
- measuring tape
- hose with water access
- finishing trowel
- 8 gardening pegs
Prepare the ground by removing all vegetation, packing the dirt and leveling the area.
Cut the wood for the framework for your form. You will need two six-foot pieces and two 14-foot pieces. These can easily be purchased from the store in these lengths or purchased as two 14-foot lengths and one 12-foot length to be cut in half.
Construct your form. You will want the interior measurements to be six-feet by 12-feet, leaving an additional foot of board on the end of the long sides.
Ensure that the framework is squared off before continuing on to the next steps. Once square, nail a board diagonally across the top to guarantee the form does not lose its shape while you construct the deck.
Place the frame in position and secure by attaching to pegs secured in the ground. Ensure that the pegs can easily be loosened and removed from the form.
Dig a small trench around the inside perimeter of the form that is approximately four inches in depth. This will help with the solidity of the deck.
Make sure the pegs are not sticking up higher than the form. This will allow proper leveling as you continue with the concrete work.
Dampen the ground within the form.
Mix your concrete. Depending on your abilities, help and health, this can be hand-mixed as needed or you may need to rent a mixer. Hand-mixing can be rigorous and time consuming. Remember: You will need to move fast once the concrete is mixed.
Remove the diagonal support beam from your form.
Pour half of the concrete into the form. It is now time to place the rebar into the concrete to provide the deck with more structure. Follow the perimeter with the rebar approximately two inches from the edge with a good overlap where the two ends meet.
Pour the remainder of the concrete into the form, or as much concrete mix can be used until the form is full.
Tap around the outside of the form with a hammer. This will help settle the cement and release air bubbles.
Use a board to level the concrete. Make sure this board is at least seven feet long so that you are level from board to board on the short end. Since you already leveled your frame before you began, this should keep the deck level.
Trowel the area smooth. This could take more than one going over to get the surface as smooth as you would like, just let the deck dry some between times.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear gloves, goggles and mask for safety.
- Photo Credit concrete image by Empath from Fotolia.com
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