Tips for Crack-Free Concrete
In the construction industry, there’s a saying that goes “a concrete does two things — it gets hard, and it cracks,” and while there’s truth to that statement, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any ways to minimize the cracking of your concrete. You can implement good finishing techniques to make it look pristine, but there’s another secret: it all lies in executing proper ground preparation.
Why a good base matters
You can’t expect your concrete to look flawless with minimal cracks if you don’t pour it over a solid, stable base. As a rule of thumb, your subbase — aka the material on which the concrete rests — should be clear of any objects that may interfere with the pouring process. Think grass, rocks, trees, or shrubs. Make sure that it’s as clean as possible to ensure seamless concrete pouring.
However, it’s possible to pour concrete directly on sandy or gravelly soil without an additional base. If your home is situated in an area where there are cold climates and heavy clay or organic soil, the base layer should be around 10 to 12 inches.
To make sure that you have the right base depth, you should enlist the help of a concrete supplier. They will take into account your soil conditions and the slab’s intended use to recommend the correct base depth suitable for your project.
Preparing for concrete pouring can be time-consuming, but remember that it’s a crucial step in guaranteeing that the end result will be sturdy and last as long as possible.
Tips for preparing a good base
- Smooth out the ground: A good tip would be to use a shovel or rake to completely level the ground within the form. Do this with the utmost precision to ensure that the ground is completely flat.
- Dampen the base: A completely dry base won’t compact well. If you’re doing the prepping under dry conditions, you must add a bit of moisture by spraying water using a garden hose. This will help you achieve maximum compaction. You’ll know your base material has enough moisture if you’re able to grab a handful and compress it into a ball. If it retains its shape, then it’s ready. If it crumbles, that just means that you need to add more water. But make sure not to oversaturate that the water starts pooling.
- Tamp the ground: In addition to smoothing and dampening the ground, tamping it out using a hand or mechanical tamper is also recommended. The tool slams a heavyweight against the soil to ensure that it’s compact and provides a stable base for the foundation. If the project involved is particularly big, a tamper will not suffice. You might have to use a steam roller instead. When tamping, keep in mind that there’s no such thing as too much tamping. You have to pack the soil down as much as you can. You’ll know you did the right job when there are barely any footprints on it.
Preparing a good base is key to a stable and crack-free concrete. If you need an experienced contractor based in the Bay Area to help you with your concrete needs, get in touch with us.
Bothwell Corp has conducted concrete services for San Jose, CA for over 30 years. Our service area has grown and extended to the entire Bay Area. We conduct all your concrete needs and help you from start to finish. We try to make it our goal to stay on budget and give quality results. Our experienced staff is one of the best in the bay. Call us today for an inspection!