Preparing a Site for Concrete Placement

Everyone checks out the finished product of company concrete construction. But few give much thought to how a site is prepared for concrete placement.

Both the site preparation and the actual pouring demand precision concrete construction.

What’s Required for Site Preparation

If you’ve ever tried to create even a small cement pad or a short driveway, then you know the job is a lot more than just pouring cement and finishing the surface. For those who may be unaware of all that happens before a cement surface is installed, here’s a short crash course on site preparation.


First Things First

If the base upon which you plan to pour concrete is not prepared properly, the concrete will crack or chip. Your concrete must have a stable base.

The first step is to bring in a half a foot of compact base. How much you need to add to what is already there depends on the condition of the present soil. Of course, you also need to consider the climate, and what will be parked on or moving over this cement.

You may not need much if any base soil. The type of soil and how cold your winters are must be taken into consideration. If heavy machinery or constant traffic will be crossing this concrete, adding more base and using gravelly base materials are both considerations. Turn to an experienced concrete supplier for advice for base materials.

Compacting the Base

Use a plate compactor each time you a couple of inches of base materials. A good tool is a vibrating plate compactor. It will compact your base.

Dampen the Base

If your base isn’t compacting well, try dampening it. Spraying down each 2” of base material with a hose to get the best compaction. You can tell if it is damp enough by grabbing a handful and squeezing it to form a ball. Properly dampened base material holds its shape. If it crumbles, add more water. If it won’t form a ball, then it’s too wet.

Straight Forms

Once your base is compact and deep enough for your needs, create a form. Stretch a string between screws at the edge of the form boards. Use it as a guide for straight form boards straight. Concrete slabs need a minimum slope of an eighth of an inch for every foot. This prevents water from pooling.

Securing Forms

Drive a stake every three feet or closer. Align the form board to the string. Stakes should be as straight and flush with the board as you can make them. Backfill the forms with dirt to keep them straight. Brush old motor oil along the inside edges of the form boards to keep the concrete from sticking.

Secure the Stakes

Screw the stakes to the form boards. A good choice is Torx-head screws . Hammering in nails often loosen stakes and throws form boards out of alignment. The screws can protrude into the pour area. Then you can spin them out easily after concrete is poured.

Making Stakes Flush

Cut stakes even with the top of the form boards. That way they won’t be in the way when you’re pouring or screeding.

Use Rebar Reinforcement

Install half-inch rebar in a two-foot. grid pattern. Tie with rebar ties and fasten with a tie-wire twister.

Cut Rebar

Fit your grinder with an abrasive metal-cutting blade. Cut the rebar. Then bend corners with a rebar bender .

Tie Existing Slabs

If you must join two concrete slabs, connect them with rebar. This ensures they are the same height. Drill the entire length of the bit, so rebar fits snugly. Tie chunks of rebar into the grid.


Whether it’s a concrete driveway, a patio, or a huge barn, your concrete project should last for decades. But it won’t if it isn’t properly installed. No matter where they are pouring concrete, good concrete finishing company knows that good finishing techniques are important.