American Ready Mix

OverviewSite Preparation Ideas

Pouring concrete for a granite step footing.

Preparing the site for a slab of concrete

Level the ground as much as possible. Unless the ground is extremely dry, place three to four inches of gravel down. This should be easier to level and provide a base for the concrete. If you are placing something extremely heavy on the finish concrete, please see a builder or engineer to insure the concrete is going to be strong enough to hold the heavy object. Keep in mind the depth of the finished concrete. Planning on a four inch depth, but ending up with a six inch depth will cause an increase of 50% in the amount of concrete needed.

Place forms around the area. Either plan to pour concrete to the top of the forms, or mark a fill line on the inside of the forms. Brace the forms so that the weight of the concrete does not push out the sides of the forms.

Pour the concrete into the forms. Pour such that the concrete appears to be sligthly higher than the sides of the forms. Use a straight edge instrument, like a 2 x 4 to tamp down the concrete as the 2 x 4 is drawn across the form in a sawing motion. Be sure concrete is pushed into the corners too.

If the concrete slab is going to be big, consider the insertion of expansion joints.

Finishing the Concrete

There are a number of ways to put a finish on the concrete, depending on your needs. The most common way is with a trowel which will leave a smooth surface. If you are looking for a rougher surface with more traction, you can brush over the concrete with a broom to leave small indented lines in the concrete.

Concrete Hardening

Cover the concrete with plastic sheeting to keep it from drying too quickly as in warm weather or getting too wet by rain. Depending on the factors such as weather and thickness of the concrete, you should wait seven to ten days for hardening to be completed. When harden, remove the forms.


To complete the concrete pour, you will need the following items to prepare the ground surface:

To build the forms:

To finish the concrete:

To remove the forms:

Pouring concrete for an outdoor residential patio

Need Help Preparing Your Site?

If you are unable to prepare your site or need help finishing your concrete project we can provide names and phone numbers for competent, insured concrete professionals able to get the job done.

Questions? Call us: 866-594-5649