Do It Yourself

Concrete Basics

Concrete has been utilized as a construction material for thousands of years, with the modern concrete mixture utilizing Portland cement having been utilized for nearly two centuries. The four basic components of modern concrete are sand, stone, cement and water which when combined react to form a workable mix that forms a solid durable material that is also economical. While concrete appears to be a simple construction product, it is not as simple or easy to place as one might think. Additionally, if not placed and finished properly, surface imperfections and defects can and will happen.

Concrete is a very heavy product, with a single cubic yard weighing approximately 4000 pounds, which can be dangerous if not handled properly. Use of proper protective equipment and placement of forms is essential to prevent personal injury. Additionally, if forms are not shored up properly, “blow outs” could occur and if the ground or subgrades where concrete is placed is not properly compacted, mud jacking may be necessary within a few years. Furthermore, concrete will crack in two if structural reinforcement is not used as it does not have strong tensile strength or flexibility.


Concrete is a time sensitive product and requires advanced planning and preparation in order to have a gratifying experience completing your own project. Each project undertaken will require you to plan your pour, set up forms, place your order and finish your concrete within the set time.

When placing concrete, education is the best defense in preventing common concrete issues. Prior to completing a do-it yourself project, Ideal recommends that you obtain an in-depth guide to concrete placement such as “Cement Mason’s Guide to Building Concrete Walks, Drives, Patios, and Steps” published by the Portland Cement Association.

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