Cement patios are a great way to expand your outdoor living space without a lot of expense. A brand new patio can be created in one afternoon and be ready to for you to host your outdoor event by the weekend. With all of the concrete stains available, you can even customize the look of your new concrete patio to compliment your house or create your own outdoor oasis by using outdoor furnishings and plants and fountains. Pouring concrete can be a challenge so you will need to follow a few simple guidelines to ensure that your project will flow smoothly.
The first step is to excavate the area by digging out the grass and dirt to the depth of what the new patio will be. Generally 4 inches deep will suffice. You will then build a form. Measure the space where you will be laying your new concrete patio and using the 2x6 wood boards, nail them together to form a frame around the area. The frame will hold the wet cement into place while it is drying. Use the level to make sure that the area is flat and level for pouring the cement. This will help to keep the cement from cracking once it is dry. To reinforce the cement, you may choose to place a rebar support inside the form before pouring the cement.
Mix the cement by first adding water to the cement mixer with the garden hose, then add the cement powder. Add water again, then more cement while running the mixer. When ready, the mixture should be a a shiny gray color. Starting at the area farthest away from the mixer, pour the wet mixture into the form. Have a helper spread the mixture with the rake working quickly as you are moving backward to fill in the area.
Speed is crucial as the cement will dry and set rather quickly. After the area has been filled in, use the trowel to smooth the top of the cement and remove any excess from the top. Use the level to level off the top of the cement before it starts to harden and set. This is the point that you may add any designs into the wet cement. Let the cement dry for a minimum of three days. Finish off with cement stain to customize your own look.