How to Grade for Concrete

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Mark your grade line with twine.
Mark your grade line with twine. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

While the process of grading for concrete isn't a difficult process, it does take some effort to dig out the area for your concrete and to manipulate the sand and soil to grade. Grading for concrete is similar to grading for any other landscape project. The land needs to slope in the correct direction to allow water to run off and be drained without damaging buildings or structures. Depending upon the reason for your concrete, you may need to alter your grade according to building codes. Apartment sidewalks are typically graded to a gentler slope than a driveway or patio for easier walking. Check your local building codes for specifics in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • Stakes
  • Twine
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Tamper
  • Dirt

Drive stakes into the ground, starting where your concrete will begin and finishing where the concrete ends. Drive stakes into the ground at 10 feet intervals.

Create a line of twine by wrapping twine around all of the stakes.

Raise and lower the twine as needed to create your grade for the concrete. The twine needs to slope 6 inches for every 10 feet, sloping away from buildings so rain water drains.

Excavate your land. Dig down deep enough for 4 inches of sand, 4 inches of dirt and the thickness of your concrete. Make the slope of excavated area match the slope of the twine.

Pour your sand and tamp it thoroughly. For small areas, you can tamp it with a hand-tamper; if it's a large area, rent a motorized tamper from your local home improvement center or use a lawn roller filled with water. Tamp the sand to remove air pockets, keeping it to grade.

Bring in your soil and tamp it in the same manner you tamped the sand. Check for grade and make any adjustments needed. You're now ready for your concrete.

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