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By properly preparing your site, you will not only save time and money, you will also extend the life of your concrete.

Site Preparation

Preparing the Site for a Slab of Concrete

Level the ground as much as possible. Unless the ground is extremely dry, place three to four inches of gravel down. This should be easier to level and provide a base for the concrete. If you are placing something extremely heavy on the finish concrete, please see a builder or engineer to insure the concrete is going to be strong enough to hold the heavy object. Keep in mind the depth of the finished concrete. Planning on a four inch depth, but ending up with a six inch depth will cause an increase of 50% in the amount of concrete needed. Place forms around the area. Either plan to pour concrete to the top of the forms, or mark a fill line on the inside of the forms. Brace the forms so that the weight of the concrete does not push out the sides of the forms. Pour the concrete into the forms. Pour such that the concrete appears to be sligthly higher than the sides of the forms. Use a straight edge instrument, like a 2 x 4 to tamp down the concrete as the 2 x 4 is drawn across the form in a sawing motion. Be sure concrete is pushed into the corners too. If the concrete slab is going to be big, the insertion of expansion joints is required.

Finishing the Concrete

There are a number of ways to put a finish on the concrete, depending on your needs. The most common way is with a trowel which will leave a smooth surface. If you are looking for a rougher surface with more traction, you can brush over the concrete with a broom to leave small indented lines in the concrete.


To complete the concrete pour, you will need the following items

to prepare the ground surface:

  • Gloves

  • Wheel barrow

  • Stone

  • Shovels

  • Helpers or Workers


To build the forms:

  • Wood, nails, etc to build the forms

  • Level

  • Expansion joint material

  • Order the concrete see Concrete Calculator to determine how much you need.


To finish the concrete:

  • Plastic sheeting

  • Trowles

  • Broom

  • Leveling device, such as a very straight 2 x 4


To remove the forms:

  • Hammer

  • Crow bar

Need Help Preparing Your Site?

If you prefer to hire a professional to prepare your site and/or finish your concrete project, we can provide names and phone numbers for competent, insured concrete professionals in your area.

For questions and recommendations to help you start or finish your next job, contact us or give us a call at (205) 466-7483. We look forward to hearing from you.

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