How to Pour a Concrete Slab?

Concrete slabs are multi-purpose surfaces for homes and gardens. Used for walkways, patios, and floors, concrete slabs are inexpensive to install and durable enough to last for years. When you pour your own concrete slab, you're giving yourself a design material that is adaptive to many of your outdoor design needs, while saving money that would have been spent on a contractor.

Working With Ready-Mix Concrete

For most do-it-yourselfers, the best material for building a concrete slab is a ready-mix crack-resistant concrete product. The wet mix is poured into a prepared wood form, then left to cure. After the concrete has hardened, the sides of the form are knocked off and the slab is ready to use.

Ready-mix concrete is a blend of gravel, sand, cement, and other additives. Bagged and available in most home centers, ready-mix concrete contains all of the materials to make concrete, except for the water.
To avoid setting a reinforcing bar (rebar) for strength, buy crack-resistant ready-mix. Its synthetic fibers eliminate the need for rebar on small-scale concrete slabs.
Working concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow requires strength, organization, and speed. For this 3-ft x 3-ft slab, you will need two assistants. Two people will mix the concrete in the wheelbarrow, while the third person spreads out the mixed concrete in the form.

When to Pour a Concrete Slab

Wait for dry, warm conditions to pour your concrete slab. For most ready-mixes, the temperature should be 21° C or higher for five days after pouring. You can pour the slab in colder temperatures (10—21° C), but the curing time will be extended to seven days.