Have you been dealing with uneven concrete slabs in your driveway, walkway, garage, patio, or elsewhere? Uneven concrete slabs are not only an eyesore, they are also dangerous. You don't want your kids or guests to trip and hurt themselves. It's tempting to want to get it over with and try to fix the issue yourself, but leveling is a little more complicated than just pouring down some new concrete. To cut down on time and money wasted, read the following tips.
DIY Concrete Leveling Mistakes
Using Self-Leveling Concrete
When working with self-leveling concrete, you need to be very careful. It is a finicky material and it's easy to make mistakes. The product is quite expensive and labor intensive, one mistake can unwind an entire project.
One huge mistake is using warm water. Warm water causes the concrete to set up much too quickly so, when it's all set up, it will have hills and bubbles in it. The concrete may be too soft or the subflooring may not have been properly leveled so the new concrete slopes.
You also can't assume that if you've used it before in a small patch you can use a different brand on a whole floor with the same results. Every brand has a different set of instructions based on their own mixture.
Not Getting Enough Mix
For floors, foundations, driveways, and load bearing support, it is essential that you understand how much concrete you will need. If the concrete is too thin, it will crack and collapse. You can use an online calculator to get a translation of the three-dimensional measurement into cubic yards. Once you have your number, round up. You don't want an exact amount because then you leave no room for adjustments. You can always return unused bags of mix.
Common slab thicknesses:
- Sidewalks: 4 in.
- Residential driveways: 6+ in.
- Commercial driveways: 8-10 in.
- Loading docks or dumpster pads: 10-12 in.
Assuming All Concrete is Equal
Concrete is made out of three ingredients -- Portland cement, water, aggregates (i.e. sand or gravel). Every type of concrete mix has a specific purpose so the mixtures will have different ratios of dry ingredients, as well as requiring differing amounts of water. While it sounds easy enough to just follow the directions and get whatever the internet suggests, it's still not that easy. There are five types of Portland cement, all used for different sorts of projects, and they may each have different admixtures to create different products. Some admixtures are made for moist areas, some for dry, some slow corrosion and others allow the concrete to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle.
Not Consulting a Professional
As soon as you want to get started on leveling your concrete slab, you should contact an expert near you. They will give you an estimate and their advice on how to proceed. It might just pay off to take advantage of a special they have going and save yourself some time and money.You will feel better knowing the job will get done properly and you don't have to mess around with it.