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Pouring Your Concrete Slab - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Whether you’re building a residential project or an industrial one, making mistakes early can lead to unsightly and costly damage to your slab.

That’s why you want a proper pour for your concrete slab, no matter how big or small the project is.

How you approach the project will depend on many factors, but here’s a general checklist of things to consider when you’re pouring your slab.

Compact the subgrade. Completing this step improperly can not only damage your slab, but also plumbing and other materials buried deep in the ground. In some instances, you may also need to improve the subgrade via soil stabilization.

Determine the correct concrete mix and reinforcement for the slab. This means understanding the exposure and traffic that the slab will need to sustain. This will help you determine the proper water/cement ratio and the air entrainment requirements (which change depending on the climate) to make sure that your slab is going to perform as intended.

Plan for wire reinforcements, control joints, and curing. What kind of support and wire reinforcement will you use? Do you know how to properly place your control joints and maintain adequate curing? Control joints spaced too far apart will result in unwanted cracks in the slab. Curing your slab — which means maintaining proper moisture and temperature — for seven days can result in a slab that is 50 percent stronger than uncured concrete.

What compression strength will your concrete have? Concrete strength is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Standard concrete mixes range from 2,500 to 5,000 PSI, though custom mixes of over 10,000 PSI can be created for specialized projects. At 2,500 PSI, you can lay driveways, floor slabs, and walkways, but 3,000 PSI is standard for a lot of construction uses. It can be laid wet and dries with a nice finish and adequate strength. 3,500 PSI is good for curbs, beams, and floors where heavy loads are moved regularly. 4,000 PSI is for high-traffic areas or floor slabs in workshops and warehouses, where the slab needs to withstand significant loads and wear. 5,000 PSI gives you an extremely durable mixture which is largely limited to specialized projects where you can expect extreme conditions and a need to withstand high-impact loads.

Determine cubic yards needed. Ready mix concrete is generally sold in cubic yards. To help you determine how much you need, let’s convert the measurement to feet. A cubic yard is 3’ x 3’ x 3’, or 27 cubic feet of space that a cubic yard of concrete can fill. To figure the area you need to cover, multiply the dimensions as done above, then divide by 27, and you’ll find out how many cubic feet your project has. As an example, let’s use a slab that will be 10’ x 20’ x .5’ (six inches). Multiply the measurements to get 100 cubic feet. Divide that by 27, and you know you’ll need 3.7 cubic yards of concrete to create your slab.

Getting a slab right is crucial. You want it poured and to not have to deal with it again. You want to have enough concrete, have it laid out correctly, and finished in a fashion that prevents future cracking and spalling whenever possible.

Get in touch with Angelle and we can talk about your project needs, whether it’s cement for soil stabilization work, slurry for dust sensitive locations, aggregate, fill or concrete. We’re the only company in the market with front discharge trucks, NRMCA-certified delivery professionals, and plant locations across the greater Baton Rouge area, including Plaquemine and Port Allen.


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