How do you determine level grade?

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Topic by BobD posted 10-08-2010 03:47 PM 2884 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 3863 days

10-08-2010 03:47 PM

I’m pouring a concrete walkway/porch/landing area to replace an old sidewalk. I’ve torn our the old concrete sidewalk and am down to dirt. I want the landing area and porch section to be level with each other. I’ve determined my starting point to be 1 1/2” below the exterior stucco vent down by the house footing. My yard slopes away very gradually from the front of the house. How do I find level at any given distance from the starting point? Here’s how I have done it so far. Tied a string to a rebar stake and fixed it at the 1 1/2” mark as my starting point. Pounded small stakes about 6 foot from starting point and using a 6’ level adjusted the stake until the level bubble was centered. Then did the same thing for another 6 feet, and repeated this process several times.
Is there a better and/or more accurate way to find level grade?

-- Bob, San Diego

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4680 days

10-08-2010 04:33 PM

Yes! Get yourself a length of clear vinyl hose. Fill it with water, pour in a little bit of food coloring. The height of the water on one end will be exactly the height of the water at the other end. It kind of takes two people to wrangle this (and you’ll be lifting the hose to raise and lower the water on both ends), but this way you don’t get the cumulative error that can come from measuring 6 feet at a time.

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

View traupmann's profile


12 posts in 3761 days

10-09-2010 09:13 PM

Dan’s suggestion is a great one. Remember that level across the front of the house is exactly what you want, but not going away from the house. You want a drop, this will allow water (I know there isn’t much in SD) to flow away from the foundation. You might consider a slight crown on the flat areas to avoid puddling areas.

Good Luck,

-- chas

View PaBull's profile


694 posts in 4628 days

10-11-2010 06:36 PM

Good sugetion Dan.
Maybe get some wooden stakes, and on every corner of your project put a stake and mark your “grade” or 0 point. Now your have a level plane and you can measure down or up from there. Be sure you put the stakes just far enough away from your project so you can keep this reference point even during the actual puring of the concrete.

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