DIY Porch: How to Pour a Concrete Patio

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So you want to create an oasis in your backyard…and you’ve decided to start with a concrete patio.

You consider yourself handy, so you’re going to pour a concrete patio on your own. It will cost less, for sure, but you’ve never done concrete before, so you’re a little nervous.

Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered!  Here’s how to pour a concrete patio, step-by-step.

Prepare the Site

First, outline out the dimensions of the proposed patio on the ground using string. Drive stakes into the ground around each corner of the layout, about a foot away from the string. Next, tie strings between each stake to outline the patio, using the 3-4-5 triangle method. Finally, use a level to make sure all strings are consistent in their height.

To provide a runoff method for rain, your patio surface must have a slight slope of 1/8″. To do this, multiply the distance, in feet, between the stakes on any side of the project by 1/8″. Then, shift the strings on the downward side of the project (usually farthest from the house) by that amount.

When determining concrete patio thickness, decide if you want the patio to be higher than, or level with the ground, and dig 4 or 8 inches deep, respectively. Excavate your site with any garden tool, getting rid of all grass and roots within and 6 inches beyond your project boundaries.

Compact the dirt with a tamper, and then lay the foundation with @4-6inches of gravel, again depending on preferred thickness. Compact the gravel for evenness all around.

Creating the Form

Second, construct a form around the perimeter to contain the concrete. Using 2×4 wooden boards cut to the correct dimensions, position them on the gravel along the perimeter of the project area. Using your stakes/strings as a guide, set the boards so that their inside edges hit right below the strings.

Drive 1-foot-long wooden stakes along the outside edge of the form, spacing them 3 feet apart. Use three-inch screws to fasten these stakes to the form. Again, use a level to make sure all the form boards are consistent in height, and then screw the entire form together.

Finally, coat the form with a commercial release product, or even vegetable oil, so the form can easily be removed at the end of the project.

How Much to Pour a Concrete Patio

Calculate how much concrete to buy, and mix according to instructions.

Pour the concrete into evenly spaced mounds and use a hoe to distribute over the area. You can use another 2x 4 to level the mounds. It’s important to use a sawing motion when leveling the concrete, so the gravel below will lower. Use a bull float to continue to level the concrete and smooth the surface. Finish the concrete with a stiff broom, which will give it a non-stick texture.

As a final step, cut grooves in the concrete every 8 feet. These are control joints that will prevent random cracking over time. Allow 48 hours for your new patio to dry, and then coat it with a sealer to prevent water damage.

If all of these steps seem overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a reputable concrete contractor. They’ll have all the answers as well as all the materials you will need.

How to Pour a Concrete Patio

You’ve just learned how to pour a concrete patio! Make sure you share this post with all your DIY friends and don’t forget to enjoy your new space for backyard fun.

Want more home, garden, and lifestyle improvement tips? Keep reading posts here and spruce up your living space, inside and out!