Concrete is a versatile building medium. Easy to work with and incredibly durable, you can use concrete in a variety of DIY projects, including home improvement. Two useful projects that you can do yourself will not tax your building skills. One is a new concrete patio, the other a concrete fountain. Along with adding value, either project can bring a touch of beauty to your home.
Any DIY project begins with good planning. This is especially true when dealing with concrete. Make sure you've planned and gathered all the materials you need before beginning your project, as a mistake when dealing with stone requires heavy work and equipment to undo.
Building a concrete patio can give you a place to enjoy the outdoors, and as a DIY project a concrete patio can be finished in a matter of days, not counting the time needed for the surface to cure.
You will need to excavate the area where you want to install your concrete before beginning. The hole you dig should be about 6 inches deep for a patio that's flush with the surrounding yard. Once you've dug the hole, line it with a form that's strong enough to hold the concrete.
The procedure for the poured concrete should begin with a layer of gravel about 2 inches deep, with several 2-inch-high rocks resting on top of the gravel. Place a series of crisscrossing rebar (steel bars) on the rocks, binding the cross sections, and then pour 4 inches of concrete. Level the concrete, and finish it in any manner you choose, including stamping and stenciling patterns or adding color to the concrete. Allow it to cure to complete dryness, and enjoy.
Concrete can be molded and set to any shape you wish. This makes it perfect for a DIY concrete fountain project. You can find ready-made fountain molds easily at a home improvement store or garden center. Buy a mold and position it where you'd like your fountain to sit. If you can't find the fountain of your dreams in a premade mold, you can build your own with the use of plaster, clay or wood.
Just mix your concrete, pour it into the mold and wait for it to set. When the concrete has finished hardening, you can remove the mold and enjoy your new concrete fountain.
Your concrete fountain can last several lifetimes, but there are a few precautions you should take to keep it working properly. Remove any debris from the fountain to prevent clogs in your pump system. During the cold winter months, turn off the fountain, as frozen water can expand and damage the concrete. When turning off the fountain for a long period of time, remove the water and cover with a tarp to prevent debris and standing water from collecting.
Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.