How To Build A Concrete Patio: A Step-By-Step Guide
Create a space for your family to gather year-round. Averaging around $2.50-3.50 per square foot, a concrete patio is a low-cost way to build a communal area in your backyard.
Because concrete is such an adaptable material you can really customize this project as you see fit.
Want a built in grill? Easy.
Need an area for bonfires? All you need is a handful of stone.
Equipment / Tools Needed:
- Tape measure
- 2x4 boards
- Batter Boards
- Vibratory plate compactor
- Steel rake
- Wood saw
- Screwdriver Set
- Concrete mixer
- Mason's trowel or concrete float
- Concrete edger
- Dingo skid steer
- Concrete Mesh
Time: 4-6 Hours
Step 1: Plan Out The Area
Before you begin you need to plan out the area for your concrete patio. Using stakes place two sets of pairs per each corner with a batter board connecting each pair.
If you are placing any fixtures plot out and mark the area. Section off the fixture areas with batter boards if needed.
These will serve to hold your forms later and allow you to measure out the area.
Next, you will want to ensure that there are no underground pipes or wires where you're planning on placing your patio if excavation is needed.
In the US, you can call 811 which is a national service for identifying utility lines. If you were to accidently hit one of these you could disrupt service and be badly injured or killed.
To locate any pipes which may be underground you can rent a pipe locator in your area.
Remove any sod ontop of the marked patio area. If you intend to repurpose the sod a sod cutter can be a good option.
Step 2: Excavate and Level The Ground
Next, you'll want to get started on excavating the area. You need to dig 6 inches deep throughout the form area.
We recommend using a dingo or mini-excavator hear to save your self some back-pain, but you can always use a shovel. Measure throughout as you go to ensure that the ground is deep enough and relatively level.
After excavation is complete, start leveling the ground.
The best way to get started is to set up masonry lines every 5 or so feet or, alternatively, from each corner of your plotted area. You can do this easily using stakes and tying off the lines.
As you set up your masonry lines make sure that they are completely level, as they will be guiding lines to your leveled ground.
Next start excavating and removing any excess dirt according to your masonry lines.
After the dirt is removed and the ground is fairly level fire up your vibratory plate compactor or other compactor tool to solidify the disturbed ground.
Once complete take a level, at least 18 inches long, and place it vertically and horizontally throughout the area. This process should show you any areas that need additional work.
Now the ground should be level, but it never hurts to check again. Take additional passes with your level until you're certain that the ground is completely flat. If you make a mistake here your concrete may not sit right and will crack or have other issues.
Step 3: Set Up The Concrete Mesh
Position a 2-inch mesh chair under the mesh every two feet in every direction, raising the mesh to a height of 2 inches above the dirt below, and 2 inches below the top of the forms.
Lay out your concrete wire mesh over your batter board area as an outline how long and wide your mesh should be cut. From there use a tool to cut through your concrete mess and set it on your mesh chairs within the batter boards.
Step 4: Pour The Concrete
Mix and pour concrete into your batter board concrete form. Ensure the concrete is evenly spread and place more where needed using a shovel.
Grab your screed board and run it across the cemented area back and forth in even, smooth motions to create a nice evenly spread area. At this point you should have a batter board form with a flat wet concrete evenly throughout. If its not even use additional concrete and repeat the screed board process.
Now it's time to start working on your concrete finish. You can use a hand tool such as a concrete float to create a clean finish.
Kraft Tool Elite Series Magnesium Blade Concrete Float by Lewis Contractor Sales
There are a loads of online resources for getting your optimal finish according to the grain and style you'd like. We recommend Mike Day Concrete's "How to Mag Float, Edge, and Broom a concrete slab":
We hope this blog has been helpful. Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below!