Billy using the jackhammer.

Although not as glamorous, perhaps, as the actual pour, careful preparation is needed to prevent your concrete from shifting and cracking. And an untidy preparation may wreak havoc on your yard; we try to keep such damage to a minimum.

We typically use the following process to prepare for a pour. First, we remove the existing concrete. If the front-end loader can access the area with little damage to your yard, we use that; otherwise, we work by hand. Next, we roughly grade the area, so that we can set up forms. After we set up forms, we bring in class five fill, if necessary. For normal slabs, we grade the area to four inches deep. We then tamp the area, so that the ground does not sink and cause your concrete to crack. Next, we put in 1/2-inch steel rebar tied together in a four by four foot grid, to strengthen the concrete. (Using rebar makes the concrete less likely to crack than using wire mesh.) Finally, we put expansion joints against any adjacent concrete, again to avoid cracking.

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