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Simple tips for a DIY concrete patio

(BPT) – The centerpiece of any backyard is a beautiful and vibrant patio. It seamlessly extends the interior home living space to an adjacent outdoor area where families and guests can enjoy each other’s company on a regular basis.

1The exceptional durability, versatility and strength of concrete makes it a popular choice for patios that transform ordinary backyards into warm and inviting outdoor living areas. Not only will a concrete patio stand up to inclement weather and other everyday wear and tear, but it can be shaped, stained, stamped, painted and finished in a decorative manner that matches other design features of a home like siding, fences, walkways and pool decks.

While it may seem like a challenging project, the technique for making a concrete patio is simple and straightforward, especially when using a pre-blended bagged concrete like QUIKRETE that only requires water in the mixing process. In addition, making a concrete patio yourself is less than $4 per square foot, which is a fraction of the cost of hiring a contractor using a ready mix concrete truck. With the help of a friend or family member, mixing, pouring and finishing a concrete patio can be completed in less than a day by following these instructions.

Note: when working with cementitious products, always wear eye protection and gloves.

* Construct the concrete patio form in the desired area with 2×4 or 2×6 lumber secured in place by wood stakes and deck screws.

* Excavate the concrete patio area to a depth of about 7 inches, allowing 3 inches for a gravel base and 4 inches for concrete.

* Check the forms for level while accounting for 1/4-inch decline for every 12 feet to create a slope that allows rain run-off from the house.

* Evenly spread 3 to 4 inches of gravel and compact using a tamper to create a solid sub-base that helps prevent erosion and slab settling.

* Dampen the gravel base using a garden hose to prevent shrinkage cracking, especially in hot temperatures.

* Mix the concrete according to the instructions on the bag and pour in mounds about 2 to 3 inches above the forms before leveling. Renting an electric concrete mixer will make the process easier and faster.

* Consolidate and distribute the concrete evenly using a hoe so the surface is relatively flat and slightly above the form.

* Screed the concrete using a straight 2×4 by moving the board back and forth across the surface of the concrete in a sawing motion to remove the excess concrete and smooth the surface.

* Add concrete to any low areas and screed again.

* Once the concrete has lost its sheen, smooth the concrete surface using a wood float in an arching motion.

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