When it comes to construction, concrete is often a preferred material for a firm and robust surface. Whether for driveway, patio, or flooring, it creates a solid foundation that lasts for many years. It consists of aggregate—mostly sand and gravel––bonded together with water and cement.
When planning for a new surface construction, pouring your own concrete is a part of the overall equation. However, taking a DIY route isn’t always a walk in the park, as it requires expertise, careful planning, and the right tools and materials.
Unfortunately, some people tend to run into problems with their DIY project because of their lack of experience. Fret not; we’ve prepared a rundown of four common mistakes you should be wary of:
1. Preparing the base improperly
When it comes to concrete pouring, it’s not enough that you get rid of plants and other obstacles and start digging the ground. The rule of thumb in this step is to ensure that you create a stable and firm base. To do this, you have to use a plate compactor to level the surface, create borders, and ensure tightly packed soil. If you don’t, it will end up sitting on top of loose soil, which will lead to cracking, crumbling, and deterioration over time.
2. Using the wrong tools and materials
Keep in mind that concrete work isn’t done manually—it requires the use of the right tools and materials. When you think about the process of excavating the area, laying the materials, and combining the aggregates, heavy-duty tools become extremely necessary! Equipment pieces required include a large wheelbarrow, mixer, bull float, and broom or groover. On the other hand, you need to procure the appropriate materials used for your concrete (water, aggregate—rock, sand, or gravel—and Portland cement). As pouring it is time-sensitive, be wary of the right mixture and it with proper timing.
3. Having no safety measures
It’s worth knowing that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set safety standards in place for construction workers. Even if you’re planning to take on the project by yourself, it’s best to strictly follow these guidelines for your own protection. Below are some safety measures appropriate for mixing and pouring concrete:
- Wear long pants and sleeves.
- Use safety glasses, sunglasses, or other eye protection.
- Have earplugs or other ear protection when operating heavy equipment.
- Use alkali-resistant gloves
- Wear work or rubber boots
- Wear a face mask
- Have soap and water nearby to wash your eyes and skins.
4. Not considering the weather condition
An important part of the overall project is the weather condition. Keep in mind that heavy rain and strong winds will affect the concrete after you pour it, which is why these outdoor elements can impact the surface’s overall appearance and durability in the long run. For this reason, be sure to monitor the weather and pursue your project at the right time.
At this point, you now know what to avoid with your DIY concrete project. As discussed above, be wary of preparing the base improperly, using the wrong tools and materials, having no safety precautions, and not considering the weather condition.
If you don’t have the knowledge, skills, materials, tools, and expertise, it’s best to hire a professional contractor instead to perform the job. Ultimately, doing so ensures a durable, high-quality, and visually appealing concrete that you deserve!
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