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How to Pour a Concrete Slab

Aug 14, 2023 | Blog

Pouring a concrete slab might seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, materials, and a bit of knowledge, it’s completely doable. Whether you’re laying a foundation for a shed, creating a patio, or setting up a driveway, this guide will break down how to pour a concrete slab in simple terms. Let’s dive right in!

Tools and Materials Required


  • Ready-mix concrete (or Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water if you’re mixing your own)
  • Concrete reinforcing mesh or rebar
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Wood for formwork (2x4s or similar, depending on the thickness of your slab)
  • Concrete sealer (optional)


  • Measuring tape
  • Wooden stakes
  • Hammer or mallet
  • String line
  • Level
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow (if mixing concrete manually)
  • Concrete mixer (optional, but makes the job easier)
  • Float or trowel
  • Concrete edger
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Concrete boots (optional)

Steps to Pouring a Concrete Slab

    1. Site Preparation:
      • Measure and Mark: Measure and outline the area where the slab will be poured. Use wooden stakes to mark the corners.
      • Excavation: Dig out the area to the desired depth. For a standard slab, aim for a depth of 4-6 inches.
      • Leveling: Ensure the ground is level. If not, remove or add soil as needed.
    2. Set Up the Formwork:
      • Using the wooden planks, create a perimeter around the excavated area. This will serve as a mold for the concrete. Secure the formwork with wooden stakes, making sure it’s sturdy and level.
    3. Add Reinforcements:
      • Lay down the concrete reinforcing mesh or rebar. This helps prevent cracking and adds strength to the slab. If using rebar, tie them together at intersections.
    4. Prepare the Concrete Mix:
      • If you’re using ready-mix concrete, follow the supplier’s instructions.
      • For a manual mix, the general rule is 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts sand, and 3 parts gravel. Add water gradually while mixing until you achieve a thick, pourable consistency. Avoid making it too wet as it weakens the final product.
    5. Pour the Concrete:
      • Start pouring the concrete into the formwork. Use a shovel or trowel to spread it evenly.
      • Tip: Pouring concrete is a time-sensitive process, especially in warmer weather. Make sure you’re ready to smooth it out immediately after pouring.
    6. Smooth the Surface:
      • Once poured, use a trowel or float to smooth out the surface. Remove any air bubbles and ensure the concrete is evenly distributed.
      • Use a concrete edger around the perimeter to create a rounded edge. This prevents chipping at the edges.
    7. Curing the Concrete:
      • Once cured, remove the formwork.
      • Optionally, apply a concrete sealer to protect the slab from moisture and staining.

Understanding the Science
Concrete setting is an exothermic chemical reaction between water and cement. As the mixture hydrates, it solidifies and gains strength. Maintaining moisture during the curing process ensures that the chemical reaction completes, providing the slab with its full strength potential.

Note: make sure there is not anything that needs to be done before you pour, such as a plumbing rough-in.

Now you know how to pour a concrete slab. Pouring a concrete slab is a straightforward process with the right preparation and tools. With attention to detail, patience, and understanding of the basics, anyone in the construction industry can achieve a durable and functional concrete slab.