It is relatively easy for the average homeowner to pour a concrete patio on his or her property without hiring an expert to do that work. This article discusses some tips that you should follow so that your new patio doesn't develop any avoidable problems.
Dig Pilot Holes
It is advisable to dig a few pilot holes in the area where you would like to pour the concrete patio. Those pilot holes will give you an accurate idea about the type of soil at the pour site. This information gathered will help you to make several decisions. For example, you may need to amend the soil in case you discover that it has a high sand content. Such soil can cause the concrete to shift laterally if no amendment is done.
Add the Sub-base in Layers
It is better to pour the gravel that you would like to use as a sub-base a few inches at a time until you reach the desired thickness. This approach is better because it will be easier for you to compact those few inches instead of trying to compact the entire lot of gravel at once.
Use Isolation Joints
Many homeowners prefer a concrete patio that is near an existing structure, such as the verandah of the house. It is important to keep those two structures separate from each other by placing a board between the existing structure and the patio before you pour the concrete. This will ensure that the patio and the other structure will move independently during contraction and expansion cycles. In this way, none of the two structures will be damaged by the movement in the other structure.
It is advisable to place rebar in the excavated patio site after you have poured the sub-base. That reinforcement will limit the damage that can occur in case you are pouring the patio on a site that is likely to shift or settle due to the type of soil that is present there. Clay soil is of particular concern because it shrinks significantly during the dry season. You may not need to use any reinforcement in case the soil is firm and has a high load-bearing capacity.
Different locations may require you to tweak the specifications of your concrete patio. For example, you may need to dig a deeper excavation if you live in an area with a high water table. It is therefore helpful for you to do sufficient research about other patios in your area so that you don't make the same mistakes that other homeowners made.