Need some help with concrete work

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Topic by WoodenMedic posted 04-01-2015 05:00 AM 13410 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 4930 days

04-01-2015 05:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question concrete outdoor space patio planning

My wife and I just had a set of twins, so our annual vacation has been put on hold for a few years. We decided to put the money we usually spend on our vacation to some home improvement work.

We have an existing patio that was poured when our house was built. It is 20’ wide by 10’ deep, and sits against the back o our house. We would like to extend it to 36’ wide and 16’ deep. Now I have never worked with concrete before so I’m a true novice. We want to save money and do some or most of the work ourselves. The biggest problem we face is we don’t know what we don’t know. I have read a little bit about it in a few home improvement books, but the 3-4 pages are not near enough to know what I need too. I guess the biggest questions I have are:

1. Can I connect the preexisting patio with a new pour wit out a seam?
2. How thick do I need to pout the concrete for outside use?
3. Is there a calculator to figure out how much concrete I need?
4. What Kind of concrete do I need? (I live in Texas and will pour this Spring.)
5. Are there other things I need to know?

Thanks for any advice that ya’ll can give.

TJ Starling

View Catspaw's profile


35 posts in 5524 days

12-05-2009 01:50 AM

1. No.
2. Standard would be 4”, but, for the size you’re talking about I’d let it go thicker (less than 6”...it’s not like you could actually dig precisely 4” deep).
3. Probably.
4. The kind they’ll bring you.
5. Yes, alot.

Where to start?....hmmm. So many things….so little time.

The big things that pop out at me are boring holes into the edge of the existing concrete and stuffing rebar in to support the joint. Next, excavate and backfill with some gravel. Excavated earth will settle. You want the concrete to rest on “untouched” earth. Technically speaking you should remove all the topsoil. Organic material compresses. Subsoil does not. Chances of anyone actually removing all the topsoil are remote. But, then I have about a foot of topsoil. You probably don’t.

To calculate, you figure 1 square foot, 4” thick, is 1/3 of a cubic foot. 1 yard is 27 cubic feet. So, I measure what I need to pour in square feet, then divide by 3 to get the cubic feet then divide by 27…..or you could divide by 3×27 (81). You’re at a little over 4.6 yds (and don’t ask them to deliver 4.6 yds…..make it five or better.)

I tend to find an “additional” project to put any excess concrete in….a step, stoop, drainage tile opening or something and have it ready for the pour so I don’t waste the excess.

You’ll need the right tools. A darby, mag float, steel trowel, edger. Not all totally necessary, but, helpful.

Wow, I don’t want you to be discouraged, but, my brain is flooded with items. I’ll be thinking on this some more.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Pie's profile


5 posts in 4931 days

12-06-2009 03:51 AM

Like most new projects, you learn from your mistakes. You don’t want to learn from doing this wrong. I would find someone locally who has done this before and ask for some help. I poured a small 12×8 by 4” thick and I had help from someone who has done this before and I am glad I did. You could probably rent a machine to dig the area and save some money (maybe). In the long run, it might be easier to hire someone to do it. But money is always an issue, so of course it is your call.

I knoiw, lots of help I am but just my 2 cents worth.

View a1Jim's profile


160 posts in 4988 days

12-24-2009 11:49 PM

to late to help

-- a-1contractor.com

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5540 days

04-29-2015 10:55 PM

1. On my 19×16 slab for my workshop, the guy who poured it for me told me to put a seam down the middle of it, even though it’s reinforced by monster grade beams (it supports a living roof, so is engineered to survive anything), because concrete moves and it’s better to control where it cracks. So, yeah, you don’t want to do it as a single piece, and you can’t join seamlessly anyway.

2. I’m a “do everything myself” sort of person, except for plumbing drains, and exposed concrete pours. I would totally look to outsourcing much of this with a local contractor.

3. volume is depth times width times height, the hard part is getting your units right. If you go with a 4” slab, 4” is .33333…’, so (3616-2010)*.333333…, so 125.3 cubic feet, or just under 4.7 cubic yards. About half a truck load, depending on your supplier’s trucks…

4. I’d call your local concrete place and ask.

5. Seriously: surfacing concrete requires some specialized tools, and takes some skill, and experience helps too. By the time you buy the tools necessary to make it look good, you’re in the price range of just hiring someone to do it. I hired my neighbor to do the pour of my workshop slab for me, and am super glad I didn’t do it myself.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View dbray45's profile


157 posts in 3335 days

05-04-2015 11:30 AM

You really need rebar, hardware cloth – something to hold the cement together. Cement by its self will crumble.

-- Love woodworking and fixing most anything

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