How to Prep a Dirt Basement Before Pouring Concrete


A basement just is not livable until it has a smooth concrete slab for a floor. The moisture from the ground will always be coming up and the air will smell like a dirt floor. By pouring a concrete floor, you almost eliminate the moisture problems and get a storage space in short areas or a living area in 7-foot or higher basements.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • 6mm polyethylene sheeting
  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • No. 4 reinforcement bars
  • Level out the dirt on the basement floor as much as possible with a shovel and a garden rake. Scrape off the surface of high areas and fill in the low areas. Work right up to the edge of the walls for a straight surface.

  • Bring in 2 to 4 inches of gravel or sand to top off the dirt, forming a surface that it easier to level. Check with your local building codes to see what the requirements are for your area. Drag a 2-by-4 over the layer to level it out.

  • Cover the aggregate with a sheet of the 6mm or thicker polyethylene to form a moisture barrier between the ground and the concrete slab. The sheets must overlap by 6 inches at all the seams and at the edges.

  • Space the No. 4 reinforcement bars every 18 inches across the floor to add extra rigidity to the slab and reduce the chance of cracking over time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't call for the concrete truck until everything is ready.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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