The Tool Barn

Pouring a Concrete Pad

Whether providing a solid foundation on which to put your stairs or keeping your feet out of the mud in front of a door, a concrete pad is an easy (if labor-intensive) project. Working with concrete can be a physically demanding task as the bags are heavy and once water is added it gets worse. Fortunately, it doesn't normally require many bags to pour a small concrete pad. Make sure you read the directions on the concrete. Portland cement can burn your skin and is hazardous to breathe. Take appropriate safety precautions.  One other thing: if the slab you are working on is longer than about 4 feet you will need expansion joints to prevent the slab from breaking up.

Items needed:
1x4 lumber
Safety Suggestions and Tips
Concrete normally contains Portland Cement which can burn your skin and is hazardous to breath. Please follow all safety precautions when mixing and handling concrete.
Level of difficulty

Time Required:
 2 hours


Locate pad

Step 1:

The first step when pouring a pad is to locate where it has to be and how big it needs to be. In this case, we are pouring a pad for the stairs to rest on. The pad itself will be at ground level so it does not have to be big enough to act as a first step.

Excavate if necessary

Step 2:

When pouring a simple pad, it is acceptable to pour the concrete directly onto the soil but we chose to dig down a bit in order to make the pad a bit thicker. This will help keep it in place and also resist cracking.  In any event, the slab should be at least 4 inches thick.


Step 3:

Once the dimensions of the pad are known and any excavation performed, it is time to build a form for the concrete. For most small pads, 1x4 boards are sufficient to support the concrete. Thicker/wider pads may require 2x4's for additional support. Build the frame with nails appropriate for the job. If the form is to be rectangular, ensure it is square and true.


Step 4:

Once the form is built, it needs to be secured to the ground so that it does not move when the concrete is poured. "Surveyor" stakes are available at most home-improvement stores or you can easily cut your own. Drive one stake at each corner but do not secure it to the form yet.

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