There a variety of reasons that you may need to lay a concrete floor. Perhaps you are starting a foundation for an addition to your home, or maybe you are creating a patio space. Whatever you may need a concrete slab for, it is a job that can be done by a do-it-yourself homeowner. Make sure you decide ahead of time if you will need a pre-mix truck to deliver concrete or if you will be using ready mix. This will help you to better plan your time line.
Lay out the area that you are going to lay with concrete. You will use the stakes to mark out the general area that you are going to lay. Then bring in 2-by-4 boards to make a border for the concrete.
Nail the boards together so that your wood frame does not break apart and stays in shape. Place more stakes around the outside to keep the frame from slipping.
Dig out the area in the wooden form. You will be digging as deep as you would like the concrete to be. Keep in mind that if you live in an area that frosts, you will want to dig below your frost line. If you are putting the concrete up against the home, you will follow the guide of your existing foundation.
Lay steel mesh inside your wooden form; this will help to reinforce the concrete and add strength. Use brick or small pieces of rock to elevate the mesh from the ground. The mesh ideally should be halfway in the concrete. For instance, if your slab is to be 4 inches thick, then the mesh should be lifted about 2 inches high from the ground.
Water the ground, the mesh and the wooden form.
Prepare your concrete mix. If you are using ready mix, prepare it with less water than recommended at first. Add water in slowly as you need it. If you are arranging for a mixer, this would be the time to have it arrive.
Pour the concrete into the wooden form. Use a 2-by-4 to smooth out the top of the concrete, using your wooden form as a guide. This also helps to compress the concrete while making a smooth slab.
Use a level to check the slab and make sure that it is even. Allow time to dry. This could take up to three days. Continue to lightly wet the wooden form as well as the concrete. Once the concrete dries, it will slightly pull away from the wood so that you can remove the wood form and stakes.
When the concrete is almost dry, use a broom to make swirls along it for better traction.