I'm looking to install a concrete walkway on the side of my house,
about 40 feet by 3 feet, plus a slab to hold a hot tub.
Due to the expense in hiring people to do cement work around here, I'd
like to try to do it myself with a few other people. Can anyone
recomment either a website or a book that I can refer to with a good
set of instructions (I've only done minor cement repair work in the
On Apr 20, 4:16 pm, email@example.com wrote:
Not a bad overview -- I'd make a couple of comments.
Need to be in decent physical shape -- that is, used to manual labor
of at least moderate level of strenuousness (if that's a word ;) ).
Unless you can get a truck where you need it to go, by the time you
tote that much concrete that distance, you're gonna' be pretty beat,
otherwise. The driver ain't gonna' hang around nor push on the
wheelbarrow and there's only so far he can get it to run on a
horizontal, level lot, and it's only about a third that distance at
Then, once the material is in place, you have to screed and start
finishing in a relatively quick time so there's no time to rest and
recover in between.
Depending on how bit the slab you envision is and the size of the tub/
spa, your slab for it might need some wire and possibly, even a little
deeper pour. Depends on what you envision.
You need good firm foundation bed and preferably at least some gravel
and sand under it, not "just dirt". Also, unless you stack it at
closer intervals, I'd recommend 2x instead of 1x forming to prevent
bowing and to make screeding a little more certain. Be sure forms are
set straight and level or have slope for drainage in the proper
direction(s) to avoid pooling or directing water the wrong way.
I'm not that fond of the plastic over the top of fresh pours, either,
unless it's very hot. Too easy to leave ugly marks where it lays.
All you really need is to mist it a little now and then if the air
temp is above 80F or so and it's in the direct sun. Otherwise, it'll
be just fine on its own...
Pouring and finishing a sidewalk is fairly simple as the width is such
that screeding w/ a 2x is pretty easy and you can trowel it from the
side(s). A larger slab, otoh, isn't necessarily that easy. If it's
larger than you can reach comfortably from one edge in any direction,
you'll have to have a float and handle to trowel it. It also becomes
harder to avoid high/low spots the larger a slab becomes. Again, this
all is dependent on just how big an area you're thinking of....
I would grade and set the forms the day before you order the concrete.
Depending on how large your hot tub slab will need to be you will be
pouring aprox 2.5yards. With a couple buddies and a couple of wheel
barrows you can have most of it finished by noon, weather permitting.
On 20 Apr 2007 16:15:55 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
This will be wonderful, if he orders concrete. Thinking DIY; he might
use a flat nose shovel and other assorted instruments.
"The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!"
i would try a small piece of concrete ,maybe a trash pad or something first.
If you are satisfied that it looks ok then go ahead and read your do it
yourself books (the local library usually has a few with good
illustrations)and do your walk and pad but heres a little tip,it definately
isn't as easy as it may look.
That is a pretty good sized pour for the first time. Yes, you can do it
yourself, but it is hard work. You are looking at 2.5 to 3 yards for the
job. You need at least two, preferably three people. One of you should have
at least minimal experience in pouring a slab. If you make a mess of the
job, it is very expensive and very labor intensive to replace it. If you
know anyone else doing a job, offer to help just so you can learn.
Read about it, watch a video or three, buy the tools you'll need, plan
ahead, get the forms and materials well ahead of time. Have a place in mind
to get rid of any excess. Plan access for the truck, or for wheelbarrows
and strong backs to move it. Can he pull along that 40' path and dump as
you go? If so, you want two guys spreading and screeding. You do have a
little time to finish.
The truck has a limited time to spend with you. Expect no help from the
driver, his job is to be sure it is properly delivered, but has no
responsibility to assist the pour. . If, in fact, he does lend a hand if
you bungle, be ready to tip him.
In addition to the other good advice, one other point I intended to
Be _SURE_ these "other people" are the kind that will --
1) show up -- all of them. Once you order that truck and it's on its
way, you ARE going to unload it, and you're going to unload it THEN,
not after you've phoned around to round up some help in an hour or so.
2) actually will work and accomplish something, not just stand around
w/ a beer in their hand watching or making motions w/ a shovel but
doing nothing but stirring the top inch or so around a little.
WHOA BETSY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some nicely put warnings above pal.
This is NO DIY project for a beginner crew.
Perhaps you might read and do all the prep work yourself.
Such as site work (scalping, leveling, forming with lumber,sand-fill,
and reinforcing (metal mesh or rebar) raised above the sand base (not
laying on it).
Then hire a finishing crew to actually apply the delivered concrete.
Maybe they will discount since they are only doing part of the job.
Also remember to have a clear path to all of the job for the
wheelbarrows. I have seen the forms block the only route around to the
other end of job in a tight backyard DIY layout.
If you use friends and other Nimrods expect a spilled wheelbarrow or
two. And you better have more than one whelbarrow on hand.
I cant recall how many wheelbarrow loads to a yard but I'd guess
around 7. Thats alot of muscle work. And the third on will really tax
you unless you are aan athelete.
Also you gotta have these being the heavy duty type wheelbarrows.
If a wheelbarrow load is spilled you gotta get it up or at least hosed
down fairly soon, this can entirely offset your plans especially if it
blocks a narrow access path.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the difficulty of pushing a Wheelbarrow ful of
wet cement thru grass from the front curb thru a narrow gate around
the backyard etc. IT IS NOT EASY..
Lastly there are thousands of wetback in the US now that know the
concrete trade. However don't just think you can go down to the pickup
spot for illegal labor in your area and get 4 caballeros who know how.
They will all probably say they know how, but don't believe it.
Also you must wash out the wheelbarrows pronto (as well as other
tools) or they will be forever concrete encrusted.
So if you rent them you might just end up having to buy them at
just another small thought. If you have sprinklers and you are going to run
wheelbarrows on the grass ,leave the sprinklers off for at least 2 days
before the day of concrete.
good luck and may the force be with you.
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