Concrete Slab
Whether you wish to install a concrete driveway, patio or even sidewalks, you will need to first properly prepare the ground before you can eventually lay the concrete. As such, making sure the surface of a concrete slab remains level may be best done by preparing the subsurface correctly. If this is not done, you risk getting your concrete damaged in a rapid manner or getting crooked and manifesting a variety of surface defects. To this end, there are a number of ways to properly level the ground, which simply requires some very basic equipment and some effort on your part.

So long as you find the time to level the ground and create a solid base, your concrete is bound to stand the test of time without cracking or sinking. On the other hand, should you feel you aren’t up to the task, it is always prudent to enlist the services of a seasoned Concrete Contractors Omaha NE professional. Such a contractor will be able to prepare the ground in the right way to ensure your concrete will be built to last. With that fully understood, here then is a step-by-step guide on how you can level the ground before constructing a concrete slab.

Consult utility firms to determine if there are subterranean lines beneath your property

Before doing anything else, first take the time to contact your electricity, gas and water providers to alert them you wish to dig in your property. In most cases than not, reputable utility firms will be more than willing to dispatch someone to check for pipes or lines and notify you whether it is safe to dig. Should there be any pipes or lines traversing the area you want to lay your concrete slab, consider choosing another location to avoid causing damage to such essential utility lines.

Mark out a rough outline for the concrete slab

When you get the go-ahead to dig, take all the time you need to lay a rope on the ground to mark the area the slab will occupy. Whenever you arrive at a corner, bend the rope and continue to outline the slab’s shape. Once this has been accomplished, drive stakes 1 foot away from every corner of the rope outline. This will make sure that the stakes remain in line with one side of the outline. Using a hammer, drive the stakes deeply into the ground and leave no more than 8” sticking out from it. Repeat this process for all corners of the outline to form a rectangular shape. When you are done placing the stakes, you may then remove the rope. Try as much as possible not to place the stakes at the places where the corners of your slab will be positioned. This is simply because you will have to level the ground beyond the slab’s perimeterto prevent it sinking.

Tie a mason’s string around the stakes to outline your concrete slab’s perimeter

Generally speaking, measure between 2” to 3” beneath the tops of the stakes and then tie some mason’s string around them. In the first place, start by pulling the string straight towards the stake that is directly across the one you first tied to mark the concrete slab’s side. Next, make use of a new mason’s string and link the stakes on the other side, ensuring it will intersect the first piece of string you tied. Where the 2 strings cross each other will be the corner of the slab. Lastly, ensure you tie the string at a similar height on all stakes in order to allow them to remain level. If you feel the need to do so, you can draw lines 2” to 3” down from the upper parts of the stakes to form a reference mark.

Slope the strings way from the foundation of your home

Always try to avoid making the concrete slab flat if it is directly next to your house as water might pool on its surface and cause damage to it. To which end, determine the length of the slab’s side in feet and then multiply the figure by 1/8 to arrive at the suitable slope in inches. Determine the 2 stakes which are further from your house and then adjust the mason’s strings down in accordance with the measurement you reach. For instance, if the side of the slab is 14 feet, then multiple 14 x 1/8 that is equals to 1¾ “.

Excavate the site where you want to install a concrete slab

First of all, take as much time as you require to do away with the grass and sod in the area surrounded by the stakes. You may utilize a shovel to break the ground’s surface, which will allow you to remove the grass in a hassle-free manner. Then, remove the clumps off the ground to expose the soil beneath. Ideally, leave no less than 4” of grass in between the stakes and the edges where you have dug. Continue to dig out the area until it is no less than 6” below the strings. Begin at the outer edges and work your way towards the center of the hole. This will go a long way in making it even easier to ensure the depth of the hole is consistent. Should there be tree roots or big stones within the soil, make sure you eliminate them too. As you proceed to dig, make sure the depth from the strings to the ground is no less than 6”. While the strings mark the outer edges of the slab, dig 6” out of them. This will ensure you create a bigger base to avoid the slab sustaining damage with the passage of time. Next, rake the soil to fil low spots. Flip the rake upside down with the tines pointing upwards and proceed to drag it to flatten raised spots and fill in any spots you dug to deeply.

Compact the soil with a tamper

Position the tamper in the corners of the hole and proceed to press it flat using your weight. Also, move it over to ensure it overlaps the first section by at least 2” before pressing it down again. Work your way through the entire hole until the moment its surface is even. It is important to note if you fail to tamp the soil, your concrete slab might sink deep into the ground as it starts to settle. Lastly, determine if the soil is flat by using a level.

Also read: Benefits of Having a Concrete Driveway

Fill in the subbase

Use gravel to fill in the hole and then spread it evenly across the perimeter of the hole. You may utilize a shovel or a rake to evenly distribute the gravel in the hole. Keep adding the gravel until it is no more than 2” from the upper part of the hole. Next, use a garden hose to wet the gravel. Doing this makes the more diminutive pieces of the gravel to sink deep, making the subbase more compact. You should then compress the subbase using a tamper. Finally, use a level to determine whether the subbase is perfectly centered. If this is not the case, continue pouring in more gravel and tamp it to raise the low spots. The moment the ground is level, you can then proceed to pour the concrete.