HOW-TO-POUR-FINISH-CONCRETE-SLAB

How-To: Pour & Finish a Concrete Slab


Concrete is one of the most economical, versatile and durable building materials available. With our help, you can pour and finish a concrete slab, build a sidewalk, patio, or floor with QUIKRETE concrete mixes no matter your skill level. Find out just about everything you need to know by watching the video below. We’ve even included a material list for everything you’ll need to get the job done right.

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Project Instructions

When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

  1. Prior to placing concrete forms: Construct the form with 2×4 or 2×6 lumber and secure in place by wood stakes and deck screws. Excavate the slab area to a depth of about 7 inches, allowing 3 inches for a gravel base and 4 inches for concrete.
  2. Check the forms for level (¼ inch for every 12 feet is sufficient to allow for rain run-off). Patio and sidewalk forms should slope evenly away from structures.
  3. Evenly spread 3 to 4 inches of QUIKRETE All Purpose Gravel and then level the gravel.
  4. Compact the gravel base using a tamper. TIP: a solid sub-base will help prevent erosion and slab settling
  5. Dampen the gravel base using a garden hose to prevent shrinkage cracking especially in hot temperatures.
  6. Pour the concrete mix in evenly placed leads; the top of the concrete mounds should be about 2 to 3 inches above the forms before leveling.
  7. Consolidate and distribute the concrete evenly using a hoe. The surface of the concrete should be relatively flat and slightly above the form.
  8. 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.
  9. Add concrete to any low areas and screed level.
  10. Once the concrete has lost its sheen, smooth the concrete surface using a wood float in an arching motion. NOTE: use a stiff-bristle broom to create a non-slip broom finish (all broom strokes should be made in the same direction).
  11. Cut in control joints using a groover and straight-edge (a 4-inch thick slab will require control joints a minimum of every 10 feet in each direction). NOTE: control joints should be cut a minimum of ¼ the depth of the slab.
  12. Use an edging tool to consolidate and shape the edges of the slab. Several passes should be made in each direction for a smooth finish.
  13. Freshly placed concrete should be water cured for a minimum of 3 to 5 days with a fine water mist. TIP: water curing can be eliminated by applying QUIKRETE Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal immediately after finishing the concrete. Acrylic Cure & Seal can be applied with a roller, garden sprayer or a brush.

Shopping List

  • 80 lb QUIKRETE Crack Resistant Concrete Mix / QUIKRETE Concrete Mix / QUIKRETE 5000 Concrete Mix
  • 50 lb QUIKRETE All-purpose Gravel
  • Gal QUIKRETE Acrylic Concrete Cure & seal
  • 2×4 or 2×6 form boards
  • Wood stakes
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Margin trowel
  • Wood float
  • Edging tool
  • Finishing broom
  • Mason’s line
  • Mixing hoe
  • Plastic mixing tub or wheel barrow
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • 5-gallon pail (optional)
  • 10 oz QUIKRETE Liquid Cement Color (optional)
  • Measuring pail
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses

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