Installing Concrete PavingAn overview of the process of preparing, pouring and finishing new concrete
Depending on the square footage and complexity, a typical concrete installation will take a crew between one and three days. Then you may have to wait a few more days to let the concrete harden before subjecting it to foot or vehicular traffic. The process of installing concrete can be broken into three phases: preparation, pouring and finishing.
Here's a step-by-step overview of what to expect when having concrete poured at your home:
- Grading—The land on which the paving will be poured will need to be prepared. It will need to be clean, level and compact. Your landscape contractor will likely use heavy machinery for this step.
- Sub-base—In order to provide the proper support for your concrete a sub-base of gravel will be placed and compacted.
- Forming—Next your contractor will place the forms for the concrete. At this point the shape of the concrete will begin to be visible, make sure it is what you want before the concrete is poured.
- Placement—Concrete will be poured within the forms either directly from a ready mix truck or with wheelbarrows and shovels if the truck can't access the site.
- Finishing—The concrete will be troweled smooth and any coloring or stamping will take place. Make sure that a quality sealer is applied as a final finishing step.
- Curing—Curing refers to the hardening process of concrete. This process lasts 28 days, with the first 48 hours being the most critical.
While many homeowners attempt to pour concrete themselves, a concrete installation will turn out best if completed by a professional crew equipped with the right tools. This is especially true if you want a special decorative finish such as stamping or staining.
The installation process may vary slightly depending on the region where you live. For example, extreme temperatures may require special curing practices to get the best results. Once your concrete is installed it is important to keep it properly maintained so that it will last a lifetime. Maintenance can include sealing your concrete and cleaning it with soap and water as needed.