Three Indispensable Guidelines for Installing a Concrete Slab
Concrete slabs are durable and reliable bases for exterior and interior residential construction. However, the performance of the structure will depend on the installation process. Therefore, if you are interested in using this material for building a new surface, choose a professional concrete contractor for the project. The expert will ensure proper pouring of the material for a stable and long-lasting slab. If you are set on handling the construction work without professional help, use the below guidelines for good results.
Excavate the Ground
Concrete slabs need to be placed on compact ground. If the ground is unstable or filled with debris, the new structure will not perform well. For instance, the ground could shift during adverse weather and cause slab cracking or sinking. Therefore, excavate the ground and remove materials like stones and vegetation along with the soft topsoil. The depth will depend on the desired thickness of the slab. Once a hole of sufficient depth is formed, tamp down on the soil. This process will make the ground compact and firm for concrete pouring.
Prepare the Concrete
If you are unfamiliar with concrete construction, the best approach to preparing the right mix for your slab is purchasing pre-blended material. The pre-blended concrete consists of cement, sand and aggregate in the appropriate proportions for a strong structure. This type of product can be acquired at building supplies stores. However, if you are building a large structure like a driveway or a patio, the cost of premixed concrete is high. Therefore, plan on purchasing the cement, aggregate and concrete sand separately and preparing it on the construction site. Consult an expert on appropriate proportions for the materials for the best outcome.
When pouring concrete for your slab, think about potential drainage issues. Poor drainage is highly detrimental to concrete because of the porosity of the constructed surface. Simply speaking, if water such as runoff during storms settles on a slab, some moisture will seep into the concrete. Over time, the moisture will freeze in the concrete on cold days and thaw on warm days. The repeated cycle will cause internal slab cracking. The cracks could expand and even form potholes. Therefore, minimise the accumulation of water on the slab by planning for a slight slope. Use the formwork for your slab to indicate the slope for the best results.
Finally, ensure the concrete slab is protected from damage during the curing process after installation. Keep the surface damp to prevent cracking and prevent all forms of contact.