Concrete Slab Preparation and Pouring Tips for a Durable Patio

Posted on: 15 December 2020

A concrete pad for a patio slab is essential when you spend time in your backyard enjoying the sunshine and weather, grilling for friends and family, or working on your landscaping.  A well-built concrete patio will provide a solid and level surface that is free of dirt and mud and looks great as a result. Here are some tips to consider as you install a concrete patio slab on your property.

Plan For Slab Stability

Before you can pour a new patio slab onto the ground, you need to look at the type of soil that is already present. Soil that supports your concrete slab should be a specific combination of good drainage particles and also strong support. So if your soil in the area contains a lot of clay and is not the type of soil that will let moisture drain but will hold moisture trapped inside, this is not an ideal soil for your concrete. In fact, this type of soil will cause your concrete to crack and heave upward as a result of freeze-thaw patterns and poor drainage. 

To correct your ground soil it is best to remove the soil and replace it with that of a good type of drainage, which includes sandy soil that is well compacted or a layer of gravel. Angular gravel poured into place and compacted below your concrete's base will give your concrete full supportive strength and also allow moisture to drain full from below the slab without trapping it for future problems.

Look at the Weather Conditions

Another important detail to look at when you install new concrete is the type of weather and climate conditions. If your concrete becomes too dry or too wet, or the moisture within the uncured concrete freezes during the cure process, your concrete slab will not cure properly and can have a variety of problems. Look at the weather in your area before you pour your concrete slab to watch out for rain in the forecast, freezing overnight temperatures, or extreme heat and try to work around the weather to pour during a more moderate weather.

The reason for this recommendation is due to your concrete's curing process. If the concrete curing chemical reaction can not fully process, such as if too much moisture evaporates during extreme heat, or the moisture freezes into ice crystals, the concrete will crack from a weakened strength or the surface will flake off with spalling. 

Your concrete professional can provide you with assistance during the pouring process to work around the weather or provide supportive treatments to help the concrete cure properly. For example, if the temperature falls, they can apply an insulation concrete cover to hold in heat while it cures, or add additional moisture into the concrete to compensate to an overly-dry and hot climate.