Do you take full advantage of your back garden space at home? You may have a verdant green lawn and some adjacent flower beds, but your outdoor entertainment options may be quite limited when the weather has been damp. In this case, you may be thinking about installing a concrete patio so that rain is not always a deterrent but is this easy to achieve yourself, or should you call in some support?
Firstly, you need to develop the design and remember that concrete is very long-lasting and not easy to fix if you decide to change your mind later. Also, if you count the time spent and the resources to do this well, consider whether you want to add any features now.
Before even thinking about laying concrete, you must ensure that the area has been properly prepared. For example, make sure that the underlying ground slopes away from the home to promote drainage and avoid pooling. Remove all of the existing grass and some of the soil to introduce a bed of gravel. This resource recommends about 10 cm, and once you have introduced the gravel, you will need to make sure that it is correctly compacted. For this, you will need to use a special compacting machine, but make sure that the gravel underlay is always uniform and consistent. If it is too thin in one area and too thick in another, your concrete patio may develop cracks and become unstable.
Forming and Pouring
Before you can pour concrete, you have to introduce a frame made from hardwood, also known as a form. You should have a lattice of these individual forms and work with only one square at a time. When the concrete is introduced, it will need to be spread out carefully and promptly. Make sure that you compact around the edges and in the corners, and once again, make sure that the thickness is uniform. Don't try to compact everything down with your shovel, as this may simply force the heavier aggregate towards the bottom.
Striking and Smoothing
To make everything as smooth as possible, you may also need to strike and smooth the patio surface using special tools. This will help you get rid of any high spots or fill any small undulations. Don't forget; you have to edge the concrete as well and use floats and trowels to promote a smooth surface. This must be done as the concrete begins to dry and before it hardens.
As you can see from this general overview, there's quite a lot of work involved in laying a concrete patio. Also, you must work quite quickly once you've started the process and as the concrete begins to set. If you'd rather hand this job over to the experts, bring in residential concreting contractors instead. They'll have all the experience as well as the proper tools for the project.