Installing concrete is not as easy of a job as it may seem, and for that, we believe concrete contractors deserve a round of applause. 

Are you done clapping?

Now, if you are thinking about installing concrete yourself, there are numerous pitfalls you should be aware of. You should be aware of the calculations and tools you will need, as well which type of concrete is best for your project before you begin.

Calculating Dimensions

If you don’t take into account all three dimensions of your project, you could easily underestimate the amount of concrete you will need. Remember that you are calculating the volume of material needed. That may sound easy enough, everybody knows the formula for volume, which is length x width x height. 

However, the calculation can become a bit more complicated if you aren’t working with a perfect square or rectangle. For example, if you are installing a patio with a rounded edge or a set of concrete stairs the math becomes much more difficult. 

If you are determined to do the project yourself we recommend buying more than you need. As the installation of concrete is time sensitive, you won’t be able to run to the store and grab more in the middle of your project.

Selecting the Wrong Variety

Another common mistake for the first time concrete installer is using the wrong type. Many people don’t realize that there are many different types of concrete mixes available on the market. Each type has its own characteristics, with each having a unique curing time, chemical composition, and overall strength. And each is uniquely suited to different applications. 

Poor Planning

You can’t just mix up a batch of concrete and pour it in your desired area. Well, actually you could, but we guarantee you won’t be happy with the results. You need to do your due diligence, and that means planning and preparation. You need to make sure the surface is level and that the earth is compact. Make sure the area is clear of tree roots, loose topsoil, or other organic materials like grass. Drainage is also very important. Without proper drainage you run the risk of your install being ruined completely by the swelling ground. You may need to dig a trench in order to be sure that the area is able to drain properly.

Improper Support

Concrete is such a great material when it is properly cured. However, getting it to cure in the shape that you want requires a little know-how and a little finesse. Concrete needs support while it is allowed to form to the desired shape and then harden. Steel rods like rebar may also be needed for use as a structural support to strengthen the final form and prevent it from cracking later on down the road.

Failure to Level the Concrete

The pouring or laying of concrete is very sensitive. When it is being applied to a large area, it needs to be agitated during the pouring process. This ensures that the final installation is even and level. While it may be true that self leveling concrete can be bought at your local hardware store, that doesn’t mean that is foolproof. Proper technique should be used during the pouring process to ensure an even application.