How to Guide – How to Lay Concrete

The successful application and laying of concrete requires a number of steps which start before the concrete has even arrived at site. Here we walk you through these steps to ensure a seamless delivery and perfect concrete finish.

Ordering Concrete for Your Project

When your preparations are complete, contact our sales office with details of your order to arrange a delivery date and time.

Please remember that a fully laden truck mixer can weigh over 24 tonnes and that sufficient access is required to support this load and to allow the truck mixer to reverse into place for unloading. Alternatively talk to us about using our pumping facility to overcome any access issues.

Preparing for Your Concrete Delivery

  • Check the delivery ticket to ensure the correct concrete and quantity has been delivered
  • Advise the driver where the concrete is to be unloaded
  • Direct the driver to the point of placing
  • Deliveries are generally scheduled 1-3 days in advance. Our busiest periods are early morning and mid-afternoon
  • The job should be fully prepared for concreting in advance of the truck-mixer arriving at site
  • Sufficient labour should be arranged to handle the concrete. At least four people should be available as each cubic metre weighs about 2 and ¼ tonnes, which is equivalent to about 25 wheelbarrow loads
  • Ground conditions must be stable enough to take a heavy lorry. Paving slabs, domestic block paving etc will not accept the weight of a truck-mixer
  • Sufficient tools should be available to place and finish the concrete and should include purpose made tamping beam (for slab work), shovels and wheelbarrows, steel rake for levelling, steel or plastic floats for final finish, stiff broom for applying a brush finish where required, and polythene sheeting for base membrane and curling
  • Brickwork, windows, tarmac etc should be protected against splashing

Spreading Concrete

  • Spread concrete between forms to a level 10mm to 15mm higher than the finished surface.
  • Compact the concrete using a tamping beam.

Levelling Concrete

  • On a moderately steep slope, work from the bottom upwards (order a lower slump mix, we can advise)
  • With one person each end holding the tamping beam, lift approximately 100mm and then drop into the concrete ensuring that each end of the beam is over the formwork
  • Level the concrete by ‘sawing’ the beam from side to side whilst advancing it slowly forward
  • Remove excess concrete with a rake/shovel. Level using a rake to fill area 10-15mm higher than finished surface
  • Compact with tamping beam. Shuffle tamping beam from side to side to level

Finishing Concrete

  • A tampered surface provides a rough low slip finish suitable for drives, paths, and external slabs
  • A wood or plastic float finish provides a smooth but textured low slip finish suitable for paths, garage, and workshop floors
  • A steel float finish provides a very smooth shiny finish suitable for house floors
  • A course brush finish is applied just prior to the concrete setting and is suitable for paths and drives where a rough tampered surface may be unsightly

Concrete Curing

  • Concrete must not be allowed to dry out quickly and must be protected from moisture loss immediately after placing
  • Moisture loss can be reduced by covering with plastic sheeting
  • Concrete should not be placed in freezing conditions and if the overnight temperature is likely to fall below zero, then an air gap should be left between the concrete and the plastic sheet. This can be achieved with wooden battons
  • Ideally curing should continue for seven days in summer and ten days in winter
  • Specific advice should be obtained regarding the time to trafficking but as a general rule, foot traffic after 2 days, vehicles after 7 days

Concrete Laying Tips

By adding polypropylene fibres to your concrete, you will enhance the concrete mix and obtain the following additional features and benefits:

  • Reduced plastic cracking
  • No need for crack control wire mesh
  • Impact and abrasion resistant
  • Enhanced surface finish
  • Longer lasting concrete

Preparation for Rain and Bad Weather

Avoid laying concrete outdoors in rainy or very cold weather. If it rains before the concrete is hard enough to allow direct sheeting, use a frame to support the plastic above the surface of the concrete to prevent damage.

Axtell Concrete Delivery Specialists

Axtell are a leading of concrete across Surrey, Hampshire and East Sussex. We have over 20 years of knowledge and experience in the concrete business and have developed a customer-first approach allowing us to provide you with the highest quality products and services at the best prices.

Reach out to a member of the Axtell team below to get a quote to find out how we can help with your domestic or commercial construction project requirements.