Pouring concrete to construct a floor is a very simple task. All it takes is a tipping of the concrete mixture’s container so that the cement mixture will flow out. The greater challenge is not in the pouring but in the preparation of the site for the reinforced concrete floor, especially in preparing the reinforcement before pouring the concrete. In this article, you will not learn how to pour concrete (as that is very easy to do); instead, you will learn the procedure that will set up the reinforcement and prepare the site for pouring of concrete for the floor.
- Measure the area and start digging. Follow the plan or blueprint. Use markers to set off boundaries and dig the ground up to the depth specified in the blueprint or plan for the floor.
- Set up a board frame to serve as mold for the shape of the floor. The boards will stand around the perimeter of the floor area. You will need to hold up the boards securely with stakes.
- Compact the subsoil. You can do this by tamping. Add a base layer on top of the subsoil; gravel is the most commonly used, but recycled concrete is also another option. Tamp this base, too, to make it stable and compact.
- Prepare the reinforcement. Welded wire mesh is the most common reinforcement material for concrete floors. It is effective in preventing crack formation. However, if the floor is intended to sustain a bigger load capacity, you will need stronger reinforcement. For this, you can use reinforcing steel rods or reinforcing bars (also known as rebar). The reinforcement material should cover the floor area and should be placed above the base layer. However, the reinforcement should be about two to three inches from the floor’s perimeter. If you use wire mesh for reinforcement and you need more than one sheet of wire mesh to cover the floor area, make sure that the sheets overlap by not less than half a foot. If you decide to use rebar, place them in the form of a grid of squares measuring 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet. In cases of bar overlaps, make sure that the overlap is not less than one foot. The overlaps should be securely held together by wiring.
- Set up the reinforcement. Place the reinforcement about halfway through the floor’s depth. This means that if the depth of your floor is six inches, your reinforcement should be three inches above the subsoil. You can make this easier by holding up either the wire mesh or rebar grid with concrete blocks so that it is raised to the right height. Avoid using bricks to hold up the reinforcement; bricks are porous and will be weak points on your floor.
- Pour the concrete. Spread it evenly into the mold by using a rake. Use a screed to level the surface with the board edges. Float the concrete afterwards to smoothen the surface. When the concrete begins to thicken and is no longer soupy, you can use an edger to round and smoothen the edges.
- Properly cure the concrete. Curing takes time. Make sure that the concrete does not dry up fast. To keep the concrete damp for about three days as it cures, cover the surface with a polyurethane sheet. Concrete usually cures completely and achieves its peak strength after about a month.
With these instructions, you can now construct a reinforced concrete floor more proficiently and more effectively.