How to Prepare to Pour a Concrete Pad


Pouring a concrete pad is an affordable and efficient way to install a strong, flat surface for a patio, walkway, shed or other structure. Preparing to pour a concrete pad involves laying a base and building a frame to ensure the pad has adequate support and drainage. When poured, concrete is in a thick, semi-liquid form that will take the shape of the frame in which you pour it.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compactor machine
  • 2-by-4-inch boards
  • 2½-inch screws
  • Drill
  • 1-by-3-inch garden stakes
  • Aggregate
  • Rake
  • Wire mesh
  • Rebar
  • Excavate the site for the slab, digging an 8-inch-deep recess in the ground. Level the area by digging out high spots and compact the soil with a compactor machine to squeeze out air pockets.

  • Assemble 2-by-4-inch pressure-treated boards against the interior sides of the recess to form a box frame, with the 2-inch side on the bottom. Set additional boards directly on top so that the frame is the height of two boards, in order to cover the 8-inch-deep walls. Screw the boards together with 2½-inch screws and a drill. Brace the frame by inserting 1-by-3 inch garden stakes along the outside of the boards and in the corners.

  • Pour 4 inches of aggregate and rake it evenly over the bottom of the recess. Compact the aggregate until the surface is hard and flat.

  • Lay wire mesh over the top to reinforce the concrete. If you're pouring a large pad, lay rebar near the ends and through the center.

  • Dampen the aggregate when you are ready to pour the concrete pad to help it adhere to the base.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're pouring a large slab, have someone help you spread and smooth the poured concrete before it begins to harden.
  • Wait to pour the concrete if rain is expected or the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

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