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How To Pour A Slab Foundation

How To Build Your Own Home e-book available

Before You Begin

Tools Of The Trade

Designing Your Home

Building Permit Plans

Excavating Home Site

Laying Drain Pipes

Prepping For Slab

Installing Sill Plate

cutting Outside Wall Parts

Building Outside Walls

Framing & Raising interior Walls

Exterior Wall Sheathing

Cutting Out Openings

Wrapping The House

Preparing For Roof Trusses

Gettin Roof Trusses Ready

Raising Roof Trusses

Sheathing The Roof

Preping For Shingles

Shingling The Roof

Selecting Doors/Windows

Installing Doors/Windows

Preparing For Siding

Types Of

How To Select Siding

Siding The House

Siding Soffits & Trim

Installing Strapping


You now have a packed a level building site. Your drains are in, your forms are up, and the concrete reinforcements are in. You are now ready for the concrete. Remember that concrete has many eye and skin irritants. Be sure to wear eye protection, protective clothing, and gloves.

You will need shovels, tall boots, contractor-grade wheelbarrows, 2 x 4s, bull float with extension handle, Edging tool, 2 steel Trowels, rubber gloves, eye protection, Groover, heavy duty iron rakes, foam insulation, anchor bolts.

  • How to calculate the amount of concrete you will need
  • How to plan for the cement truck
  • Check forms for square, level, bracing, and straightness.
  • How to pour the concrete
  • How to flatten the concrete
  • How to use a Bull-float on the newly poured concrete
  • How to edge a slab
  • How to put anchor bolts into concrete
  • How to groove the poured concrete
  • How to smooth concrete with a magnesium float
  • What to do for a smoother finish

  1. How to figure out how much concrete you will need to order.

    • You must multiply in feet the length, by the width, and the depth, of the slab. This will give you the number of cubic feet.

    • You will need to take the trenched perimeter into account as well.

    • Now divide the total by 27 and add 5%. This will give you the number of yards needed.

    • There are many different types of concrete. Ask the dispatcher which type would be best for your project.

  2. Plan for the concrete truck
    • In order to reduce the risk of injuries, mistakes, and stress, make sure you are ready for the truck before it arrives.

    • Plan your job and plan the route the truck will take once at the job site.

    • Clear the site to enable the truck to have easy maneuverability.

    • Have all tools, clothing, and equipment, that you will need on hand.

    • Plan on rescheduling if rain is in the forecast as it will ruin the surface of the slab.

    • Dry windy days will cause the concrete to harden too quickly for you to finish.

  3. Double check the forms making sure they are straight, square, and level. Also make sure all of the bracing around the forms is secured.

  4. Pouring the concrete

    • The goal here is to pour the concrete into the forms and filling the forms to the top.

    • Be prepared to work quickly once the truck arrives

    • To avoid stepping in wet concrete, begin by pouring the concrete in the forms farthest away from the truck. Use wheelbarrows where needed.

    • Dump concrete where it is needed as it is too heavy to move.

    • level concrete with the rakes leaving it slightly above the forms.

    • Take care not to step on the rebar

  5. Smooth concrete to top of form boards

    • When the forms are full, begin striking off the concrete until it is even with the boards.

    • This is done with a straight, level, 2 x 4 screed board.

    • Tilt the board slightly back as you drag it toward you with a left to right motion.

    • You must fill all of the spaces with concrete but not so much to make it too difficult to drag. It helps to have someone leveling the concrete with a rake ahead of you. Make many passes with the screed board as opposed to trying to pull it all at once.

      A Screed Board Is Used To Level Out The Concrete

  6. Bull-float the concrete immediately after screeding.

    • This process will create a flat level surface by removing marks left behind by the screed board. It will also fill in low spots in the surface.

    • Raise or lower the float handle to keep the leading edge of the bull-float slightly above the surface.

    • Push the float to the end of the forms. When you reach the far side, lift the handle enough to slightly elevate the edge closest to you and pull back to the starting point.

    • Move over and repeat, overlapping the previously floated surface by about one-third.

    • Three to four passes are sufficient. Too many will bring too much water to the surface and weaken the concrete.

    A Bull Float Is Used To Smooth The Concrete

  7. How to make a smooth edge around the slab.

    • This would be a good time to edge the slab since you can do this without applying your weight onto the concrete.

    • All of the surface water must be gone.

    • Place your edging tool between the slab and the form board.

    • Slide the edger around the edges of the slab. This will create a smooth, rounded, edge.

    • Continue until the edges are solid and smooth.

    The Edger Makes A Smooth Solid Edge All Around The Slab

  8. How to insert anchor bolts in the slab.

    • Anchor bolts will be used to secure the building to the slab.

    • Before the concrete hardens, press in 1/2" anchor bolts into the concrete.

    • Place bolts 1 ft. from corners and then every 6 ft.

    • Place bolts 6 in. from the sides of door openings.

    • Leave about 2-1/2 in. of the bolts exposed.

    Anchor Bolts Are Inserted Into The Concrete

  9. How to use a hand float.

    • After the water has disappeared from the surface of the slab and the concrete has hardened slightly, begin using the hand float.

    • You can gage when the slab is firm enough to work on, by placing your thumb on the slab. If the slab resists your thumb print, then it is ready for the hand float.

    • Cut a 2' square piece of 1 1/2" rigid foam insulation to use as a pad to kneel on. This will help to disperse your body weight enough so as to not leave an imprint in the concrete.

    • Sweep a magnesium float over the concrete to smooth and flatten the surface further.

    • This is done in the same manner as the bull float except at a much smaller scale and with much more control.

      Using A Hand Float For A Smoother Surface

  10. How to make control joints in the slab.

    • Make sure the concrete can take your body weight without leaving an imprint.

    • Placing the Groover against the edge of a straight 2 x 4, run the Groover back and forth into the concrete to make a progressively deeper cut.

    • The grooves form control joints to minimize random cracking of the slab.

    The Groover Cuts A Control Joint Into The Concrete To Avoid Random Cracking

  11. You can create a smoother surface by applying a power trowel. However, this is a very tricky process and may need some practice to accomplish.

    A Power Trowel Is Used To Create A Very Smooth Surface On The Concrete

  12. If you want a course, non-slip, surface to your slab, you can drag a bristle broom accross the slab. This will create a brush like pattern on the surface of the slab.

  13. Keep concrete moist after pouring, so it cures slowly and develops maximum strength.

    • The easiest way to ensure proper curing is to spray the finished concrete with curing compound. Curing compound is available at home centers ($18 per gallon). Follow the instructions on the label. Use a regular garden sprayer to apply the compound.

    • You can also lay a layer of plastic sheeting over the concrete, although this can lead to discoloration of the surface.

  14. Let the finished slab harden overnight before you carefully remove the form boards. Pull the duplex nails from the corners and kickers and pry up on the stakes with a shovel to loosen and remove the forms. Since the concrete surface will be soft and easy to chip or scratch, wait for a day or two before building on the slab.


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