Concrete Pouring Services that Result in Beautiful, Smooth Surfaces
Have you ever seen a concrete truck with its drum spinning, and wondered what it’s like to pour it successfully? If you’re considering having concrete laid for a home foundation, deck, driveway, parking lot, walkways or other uses, you may wonder what your contractor will do as they provide the services you’ve hired them to perform for you.
The pouring process doesn’t have to be mysterious. In fact, it’s good for you to know exactly what to expect from your concrete services company so you can have confidence that you’re getting the results you desire for your home or business. Here’s what you can expect when your concrete is poured.
Concrete Pouring 101
Let’s break down the concrete services you’ll receive when your slab is laid for your home or business.
1. Site Preparation
The first step to installing your concrete surface is to first prepare the area thoroughly. The surface needs to be clean and even for a smooth pour, so the concrete company will remove grass, trees, old concrete and other debris. Often, earth-moving equipment will be brought in to make the process go as quickly as possible.
2. Sub-base Creation
Once the site is properly cleared, the next step is to prepare the sub-base—the area where the concrete will be placed. A proper sub-base consists of at least 4 inches of granular fill, road base, or highly compacted, stable soil. It’s important to get this step right because it gives the concrete the best opportunity to cure well, while minimizing the likelihood that the soil will shift, damaging the concrete slab.
3. Form Setting
Next, the concrete company sets forms in place around the edges of the sub-base to help ensure the concrete is laid as it should be — with the necessary slope for drainage as well as neat slab corners. (Think of the form as if it is a mold for gelatin, giving your concrete the right shape.) The forms are held in place with stakes that can easily be removed, leaving behind beautifully laid concrete.
Now, it’s time to actually pour the concrete, which will be crafted from a mixture suited to your geography and other factors. Depending on the site’s layout, the contractor may be able to pull their mixing truck right up to the slab area, or they might need to use a pump that delivers the concrete from the truck to your slab. During the pouring process, the crew will rake the malleable concrete to eliminate air pockets and ensure a smooth surface.
Immediately after laying the concrete, the surface is evened and made to look uniform. To do this, the contractor runs a large metal or wood board across the surface, which compacts the concrete and makes it smooth—a process known as “screeding.” The smoothing process is then repeated at a smaller level with trowels (called “floats”) that are handy at smoothing out edges and smaller areas of the slab. Joints and edging are also added into the concrete at this stage
This step is optional, depending on the goals for your poured concrete. If a rough, unfinished basement or storage space is sufficient, troweling may be skipped. But it’s a necessary step if your concrete will later be stamped. Special troweling tools are used to yield a hard, smooth, uniform surface.
At this stage, the final surface of the concrete is established. This is when a broom can be run across the concrete for a rough finish, or more polished styles such as stamped and textured designs can be applied.
The final stage of concrete laying is the curing process. At this point, everything else is finished, and now the concrete simply has to harden fully into place. The process takes 28 days to be complete. Most contractors will apply a curing substance as soon as the finish is completed, so that the concrete dries slowly and evenly—which helps prevent cracking, discoloration, and other issues. Your contractor will give you guidelines for proper care of your concrete during the curing stage, but a general rule of thumb is that the concrete can handle light foot traffic 3 to 4 days after it is laid, and parked cars 5 to 7 days after it is laid.
9. Ongoing Maintenance
At last—your concrete is fully cured and ready. Now, all you really need to do is care for it well so that it retains its beauty. Concrete is low maintenance and long-lasting, but you will need to apply a sealer within a month of its initial placement to protect the surface from wear and staining. Resealing is useful within a few years, depending on how much use the surface gets. And to keep your concrete clean, simply wash it with soap and water regularly.
Concrete Services that Give You Peace of Mind
When your home or business needs a new driveway, parking area, sidewalks, decking, or other concrete surfaces, our team is here to help. Contact us to learn more, and in the meantime, explore our gallery for inspiration.