Pouring & Finishing Concrete Slabs | QUIKRETE: Cement and Concrete Products
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A great way to view and understand your building or repair project before you get started. Find out just about everything you need to know by watching the video below.

Pouring & Finishing Concrete Slabs

Concrete is one of the most economical, versatile and durable building materials available. Build a sidewalk, patio, or floor with QUIKRETE concrete mixes no matter your skill level.

QUIKRETE Crack Resistant Concerete Mix

Project Instructions

When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

Step 1
Prior to placing concrete forms:

  • Construct the form with 2x4 or 2x6 lumber and secure in place by wood stakes and deck screws.
  • Excavate the slab area to a depth of about 7 inches, allowing 3 inches for a gravel base and 4 inches for concrete.

Step 2
Check the forms for level (¼ inch for every 12 feet is sufficient to allow for rain run-off). Patio and sidewalk forms should slope evenly away from structures.

Step 3
Evenly spread 3 to 4 inches of QUIKRETE All Purpose Gravel and then level the gravel.    

Step 4
Compact the gravel base using a tamper.

TIP: a solid sub-base will help prevent erosion and slab settling.

Step 5
Dampen the gravel base using a garden hose to prevent shrinkage cracking especially in hot temperatures.

Step 6
Pour the concrete mix in evenly placed leads; the top of the concrete mounds should be about 2 to 3 inches above the forms before leveling.

Step 7
Consolidate and distribute the concrete evenly using a hoe. The surface of the concrete should be relatively flat and slightly above the form.

Step 8
Screed the concrete using a straight 2x4 by moving the board back and forth across the surface of the concrete in a sawing motion to remove the excess concrete and smooth the surface.

Step 9
Add concrete to any low areas and screed level.

Step 10
Once the concrete has lost its sheen, smooth the concrete surface using a wood float in an arching motion.
NOTE: use a stiff-bristle broom to create a non-slip broom finish (all broom strokes should be made in the same direction).

Step 11
Cut in control joints using a groover and straight-edge (a 4-inch thick slab will require control joints a minimum of every 10 feet in each direction).

NOTE: control joints should be cut a minimum of ¼ the depth of the slab.

Step 12
Use an edging tool to consolidate and shape the edges of the slab. Several passes should be made in each direction for a smooth finish.

Step 13
Freshly placed concrete should be water cured for a minimum of 3 to 5 days with a fine water mist.

TIP: water curing can be eliminated by applying QUIKRETE Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal immediately after finishing the concrete. Acrylic Cure & Seal can be applied with a roller, garden sprayer or a brush.

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