When you decide that you'd like a concrete patio in your backyard, you may be considering pouring the concrete yourself. It may seem like a straightforward process, but if you don't have much experience, you might make mistakes that result in a patio riddled with cracks and bumps. Here are a few mistakes you should be aware of, and try to avoid.
Not Setting the Form Correctly
Because you don't want concrete to spill out onto the rest of your backyard, you need to have a form in place to contain the concrete. You can make a form out of pieces of wood or metal, if you choose.
Some people simply place the form on top of the ground they have leveled, and start pouring concrete. This can lead to problems, as the form is not secure and may shift around, causing concrete to seep outside of the form.
Instead, make sure the form is secure before you pour any concrete at all. Dig trenches for the form to sit in, and fill the trenches in with soil so that the form cannot be moved. Then you can pour the concrete, and know that it will stay within the boundaries provided by the form.
Improperly Finishing the Patio
You may think that concrete will settle over time and eventually become a smooth, level surface on its own, but that is not true. After you've poured the concrete mixture into the form, you need to use a trowel to make sure that the concrete is level over the entire space of the patio. If possible, use a screed to smooth out and level the concrete, as it allows you to work on a much larger area at a time. That way, the concrete won't dry out before you finish.
Not Allowing Concrete to Cure Properly
You may be eager to start using your concrete patio and want the concrete to dry right away. However, if you don't allow the concrete to cure in its own time, it won't be as strong and durable as it could be. Concrete that dries too quickly will have a lot of cracks.
To make sure that the curing process happens properly, cover the patio you've poured with a tarp. The concrete should remain moist for about a week after you've poured it. If it seems to be drying out prematurely, use a hose to spray water evenly on top of the patio you've poured.
If, in spite of your best efforts, you do make some mistakes with concrete, get in touch with a professional concrete contractor. They will be able to do concrete resurfacing or other concrete repairs, so that your patio looks much better.