Do It Yourself
Thinking of doing a sidewalk or patio project yourself? It can be rewarding and doing it yourself
can save you some money. But be prepared—pouring concrete is hard work and you'll need
forms, the rights tools and plenty of help.
As you start planning for your project, take into consideration what you will need...
•Possibly a permit—check with your local building inspector
•Enough room and a passageway to bring in a mixer truck within 12 feet of where the concrete is
to be dropped off. A loaded mixer can weigh up to 70,000 lbs. and is 13 feet tall. If the ground is
soft, the wheels can make deep ruts. The heavy trucks can also damage existing walkways and
driveways. Don't forget to look for overhead wires, underground sprinklers, septic systems, etc.
that would be in the path. Once the truck leaves the road, any damages arising from the delivery
will be your responsibility. If the truck cannot access the job without damaging your property, you
may want to consider hiring a pump or conveying company; or you will need to plan on using
wheelbarrows to transport the wet concrete.
•A couple of shovels, rakes and a variety of concrete finishing tools (these can be rented)
•Lumber for forms such as 2 x 4's, stakes, and hardboard siding (if your project has curves);
carpenter's tools; and gravel or sand for the bed of the project.
•Protective gear for you and your helpers—minimum of rubber
boots, rubber gloves and protective eyewear. WARNING—wet
concrete is caustic and can cause permanently disfiguring
•Helpers—you will need at least two helpers (and up to six depending on the size of the job.)
Placing and finishing concrete is strenuous labor that must be accomplished within a limited time
frame. It is a perishable product and once it leaves the truck's chutes, it is your responsibility to
place and finish it. It is always better to have too much help rather than not enough.
You may have decided by now to hire a concrete contractor to do the job for you. You can
contact one of our plants where our dispatcher can recommend qualified, skilled contractors for
you to choose from. If you're still interested in doing it yourself, continue reading for some tips
and general information about pouring concrete on small jobs.
Dig out the area where the concrete will be poured. Remove tree roots, stones and heavy clay.
Use sturdy 2-by lumber for the straight areas. Use 6 inch strips of hardboard siding for the
curved edges. Hammer in stakes and attach lumber to them. Place stakes at frequent intervals to
prevent blowouts (every 3 feet). To prevent water from collecting on the pad, slope it by dropping
one side of the form _ inch for each foot of concrete.
Apply sub-base materials if needed. Some conditions warrant the use of steel fiber or steel mesh.
Put in expansion joint (every 30 feet and where you abut to other masonry surfaces) to prevent
heaving, cracking or buckling.
Have on hand the following tools to place and finish the concrete. These can be purchased or
rented from your local hardware store or rental company.
•bull float with handles
•protective clothing, rubber boots and rubber gloves
Order the Concrete
Schedule the delivery on a day when rain is not expected. A rainstorm in the middle of an
outdoor project could be a disaster.
For a five-yard pour, you will need between three to six hours to complete the job.
Arrange to have your helpers available.
Call the dispatcher to place your order. To secure a time slot, place the order two to three days
ahead of time if possible. We can deliver as quickly as within _ hour notice if our schedule allows.
We will need the following information:
•Address including directions
•Telephone number (optional)
•Description of the project to determine mix design (ex: exterior)
•Number of cubic yards you need. Dispatcher will assist you on your quantity.
•Will you want any product upgrades or enhancers
•Date and time of desired delivery
•Method of Payment (Cash, Check or Credit Card) Please note that payment by credit card must
be done before delivery. Our trucks are not equipped with credit card terminals.
Before the truck arrives you should:
•Arrange a passageway for the truck. Remember, if the ground is soft, the wheels can make
deep ruts. The heavy trucks can also damage existing walkways and driveways. Don't forget to
look for overhead wires, underground sprinklers, septic systems, etc. that would be in the path.
Once the truck leaves the road, any damages arising from the delivery will be your responsibility.
If there is any doubt that the truck cannot access the job without damaging your property, you
should hire a pump or conveying company; or plan on using wheelbarrows to transport the wet
concrete. (This will require a minimum of two commercial grade wheelbarrows.)
•Find a place for the truck to wash out after the pour is complete.
•Put on protective clothing, boots and gloves. Avoid working in concrete soaked clothes,
concrete filled boots or concrete soaked gloves. Wear eye protection to prevent splashes from
getting in your eyes. If you find your skin in contact with wet concrete, rinse off thoroughly with
soap and water. Flush eyes with water. Do not continue working in saturated clothing. Wet
concrete is a caustic material. It can cause alkali burns of your skin and eyes.
As the concrete is unloaded, start with the concrete that was placed first and finish with the
concrete that was placed last. (When working on a slope, work upwards on the slope.) Spread
the concrete with a square ended shovel, a concrete rake or a come-along. Avoid using a
garden rake or other tools that will segregate the concrete. Lightly tap the edges of the forms
with a shovel or 2x4 to release air bubbles and consolidate the concrete.