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Dangers of DIY Concrete Pouring and When to Call in a Professional

If you’re planning to put in a new concrete driveway, patio, or other surfaces, you might be considering pouring the concrete yourself. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to run into practical and aesthetic issues, or even safety concerns, when pouring concrete yourself.  Keep reading to find out what you need to know before you start your…

The post Dangers of DIY Concrete Pouring and When to Call in a Professional appeared first on GWC Decorative Concrete.

Republished by Plato



If you’re planning to put in a new concrete driveway, patio, or other surfaces, you might be considering pouring the concrete yourself. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to run into practical and aesthetic issues, or even safety concerns, when pouring concrete yourself. 

Keep reading to find out what you need to know before you start your own DIY concrete project and when you should call a professional.

Pouring Concrete Yourself: What Can Go Wrong

Pouring your own concrete is a lot more complicated than laying pavers, spreading gravel, or even pouring asphalt. Doing it correctly requires knowledge, skill, and careful planning, along with the right materials, tools, and equipment.

While pouring your own concrete is doable in certain situations, it’s important to do plenty of research to make sure it’s something you want to tackle yourself. Here are some common DIY concrete mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

Improper Preparation

Excavating the area with a shovel and clearing plants and debris is not enough to prepare a site for pouring concrete. If your concrete is sitting on top of loose soil, it will quickly start to crack, crumble, and degrade as the soil settles.

To achieve a long-lasting concrete surface and avoid cracks, it’s important to create a firm base. This involves using a plate compactor to make sure the soil is tightly packed, carefully leveling the surface, and building, installing, and leveling forms (borders).

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions (like rain and wind) can damage your concrete in the hours and days after you pour it. It’s also important to consider the long-term effects of your area’s climate on your concrete’s durability and appearance.

If you live in an area with freeze/thaw conditions in winter, you’ll want to make sure you use air-entrained concrete to prevent cracking, scaling, and crumbling over time.

The Wrong Tools

Using the wrong tools can leave you with an uneven surface and lead to bumps, holes, and cracks. Strong, heavy-duty tools are necessary when working with concrete since wooden or plastic tools can snap while you work. Since pouring concrete is time-sensitive, it’s critical that you have everything you need on hand before you begin mixing your concrete.

Here are the most important tools you need:

  • Large wheelbarrow to transport your concrete
  • Concrete mixer (electric mixers are most efficient)
  • Bull float or darby to flatten the wet surface
  • Magnesium float to smooth bumps
  • Heavy-duty concrete groover for installing control joints
  • Broom or concrete brush to create enough texture to avoid a slippery finish

The Wrong Amount of Water

One of the most common DIY concrete mistakes is using the wrong amounts of water and dry concrete. The ratio of water to dry concrete in your mixture is very important to the appearance and durability of your concrete surface. Wet concrete should not be runny or chunky, but smooth and malleable. 

It’s common for homeowners to add too much water to the mixture because softening the concrete makes it easier to work with. But even a small excess of water tends to weaken your concrete mixture, leading to a runny, uneven pour and compromising the strength of your concrete.

Insufficient Safety Precautions

There’s a reason that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific safety standards for construction workers. Any time you’re working with heavy equipment and potentially hazardous tools and materials, it’s important to take safety precautions.

Concrete is a relatively safe material to work with. That being said, it’s important to protect your eyes, ears, respiratory system, and skin when mixing and pouring concrete. You also want to be careful lifting heavy items to prevent injury.

At a minimum, you should have the following when mixing and pouring concrete:

  • Long pants and sleeves
  • Safety glasses, sunglasses, or other eye protection
  • Earplugs or other ear protection (when operating heavy equipment)
  • Alkali-resistant gloves
  • Work or rubber boots
  • Face mask
  • Soap and water nearby to wash skin and rinse eyes if necessary

When to Call a Professional

The best way to make sure you end up with high-quality, durable, and aesthetically pleasing concrete is to work with a team of knowledgeable, experienced professionals who are local to your area and know your climate.

If you’re pouring a basic slab of concrete on level ground in the middle of a mild, dry summer, you may be able to handle it yourself. You’re most likely better off calling a professional if any of the following are true for you:

  • You’re unsure of what you want or need
  • You have a particular (or custom) design, color, or texture in mind
  • You’re dealing with a slope or uneven ground
  • You don’t have the right tools

If you just don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself for any reason, contacting a professional is the way to go!

Are you looking for a professional concrete company you can trust? Have questions about your project?

With more than 75 years of combined experience working with decorative concrete, we offer customized solutions and can promise you a safe, clean, and timely process. Whether you’re looking to replace your old, cracked concrete driveway, install a new pool deck, or design a unique custom porch with incorporated lighting, we’ll give you a beautiful, functional result that will last for years to come.

Call us today at (503) 849-0901 or contact us online to get a free estimate.

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Feb 16, Concrete Yardage Calculators – How Much Do I Need For Any Type of Job

Find the perfect concrete calculator to figure cubic yardage (and cubic meters) for any type of concrete project. Floors, slabs, walls and much more.

Republished by Plato



Calculate concrete cubic yardage for slabs, walls, footings, columns, stairs, blocks, curbs, and gutters using the many different concrete calculators on this page.

Estimate the volume and weight of concrete you’ll need for any given area.

Figure out how many cubic yards of concrete you need in both US units of measure (feet and inches) and International system of units or metric units (meters and centimeters) of measurement.

Concrete calculator


The best way (and fastest way) to calculate concrete yardage is using a concrete calculator.

These concrete calculators are very accurate and will help you determine the volume of concrete you need for the type of project you’re doing.

Always add a little extra to the quantity estimated just to be on the safe side. 

Rarely is any concrete project perfect and you don’t want to be left short on the amount you need.

You’ll be able to calculate concrete cubic yardage, weight, and how many bags you need for:

  • Concrete slabs
  • Concrete Walls
  • Concrete Footings
  • Circular slabs or Tubes
  • Columns or Sono-tubes
  • Concrete Curbs and Gutters
  • Concrete stairs

Concrete calculator formula for a slab or floor

If you want to use a formula to calculate concrete volume, I have a whole page like the picture above that shows you a written formula for:

  1. Square or Rectangular Slabs
  2. Round Slabs
  3. Concrete Walls
  4. Concrete Footers
  5. Square Columns
  6. Round Columns
  7. Concrete Stairs and Steps
  8. Concrete Curbs and Gutters

Concrete calculators for specific applications

Use the concrete calculators below to help you determine concrete yardage for your specific project.

Use the calculators above for estimating purposes only.

Always double check your calculations when you figure concrete for a project. Not having enough concrete to finish can be both frustrating and problematic.

Concrete is made from aggregate (stone), sand, cement, and water.

You can make your own concrete using the raw materials and my concrete mixing ratio formula or you can buy pre-mixed concrete in bags that you just add water to.

For large projects, ordering concrete from a ready mix concrete company is usually easier and faster. 

Learn how to do your own concrete slab by taking my concrete slab course.

The concrete calculator APP for the Iphone and Android smartphone is terrific! I use it daily. The free desktop download is courtesy of Meet-Mr-Concrete.

Learn how I check the sub-grade to find the average thickness of a concrete floor on either the floors or slabs calculator page.

When I order concrete from a ready mix company, I always add 1/2 to 1 yard more than what it says on the calculator.

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