Concrete’s affordability and durability make it a popular choice for all sorts of DIY and home building projects, but working with concrete also requires unique tools and skills that other materials may not. In general, amateurs and DIY enthusiasts are perfectly capable of working with concrete so long as they take the time to prepare and learn how to properly use it, but there are a number of common mistakes first-time or amateur builders may run into. Here are the most common mistakes to look out for when installing concrete. 


Buying too little concrete 

It’s always better to have a little more concrete than is actually needed for a given project than to have too little. The last thing you want to discover when pouring your freshly mixed concrete is that you don’t actually have enough to fill the slab. A slab that isn’t thick enough may end up being too weak to bear the necessary loads, greatly reducing the lifespan of the concrete. 


Adding too much or too little water

The typical water-to-cement ratio is 0.50, and getting this ratio correct is essential to any project involving concrete. Too little water in the mix and the concrete will be impossible to pour and spread properly, but too much water and concrete becomes soupy and loses its strength and structural integrity. 


Removing forms too soon

Concrete forms are used to shape the concrete into the desired shape, ensuring the concrete doesn’t spread or leak out beyond the forms. The forms are meant to be removed once the concrete has dried and is able to hold its own shape. Removing the forms too soon can cause the concrete to crack and deform, leading to costly repairs. 


Letting the concrete harden too much before leveling

Special tools called screed boards are used to level concrete once it has been poured, ensuring the surface is flat and level. This has to be done when the concrete is dry enough that water is no longer visible on the surface, but while the concrete is still malleable enough to be leveled by the screed board. 


Working with concrete without much experience is doable, but it can be tricky to get right. It’s always best to consult with concrete professionals before beginning to ensure things are done right. Razorback Concrete is always ready to help. To learn more, visit today.  


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