When you want to convert part of your yard into a concrete parking pad, you don’t have to hire out all the work other than hiring Bobcat rentals. By preparing the site and setting the concrete forms, you can save yourself some money. Then, call in a professional concrete contractor to pour, smooth, and finish your new parking pad. Here are tips to help you prepare the area for a new concrete pad.
Level and Prepare the Ground
Before you can set the forms for your concrete pad, you need to excavate and level the soil to make space for the concrete pad. It is important your site is level because your concrete pad will hold up better and last longer when the ground is not sloped or uneven. First, call your local utilities to make sure no lines are buried in your work site.
If your soil is fertile or contains clay, you will need to remove enough soil to lay a six to eight-inch foundation of gravel below the four inch thick concrete slab. To accommodate both of these layers, you will need to remove up to twelve inches of soil depth to make your concrete level with the surrounding soil. If you have sandy soil, you only need to remove enough soil for your four-inch-thick slab, plus an optional layer of gravel. Use your Bobcat with a loader to remove the excess soil from your concrete pad site and level the remaining dirt.
Set the Foundation
Pound two-by-four wooden stakes into the corners of where your concrete parking pad will be located. These will be the corner posts for the form boards that will frame in your poured concrete pad. Make sure the stakes are long enough to go into the ground at least eight inches, with at least three inches protruding above ground. It is important that the top of the stakes are slightly below the top of the wooden two-by-four forms when you attach them together. This will make smoothing the poured concrete easier as the stakes won’t be protruding above the forms and be in the way.
You will need enough two-by-four wood form boards to frame the area where the concrete will be poured to hold the concrete in place as it sets. Measure the perimeter of your concrete site and buy enough two-by-fours to accomplish this. Standard two-by-four boards are eight feet long, so you may need to attach several for each side of your concrete pad frame.
If you need to attach two-by-fours together to create a longer form for any side of your concrete form, use a cleat to hold the ends of two two-by-four board together. (A cleat is a four-foot long strip of two-by-four wood that is nailed over the seam of two forms to hold them together.) Overlay the cleat across the seam of two connecting form boards, then nail the cleat onto both form boards.
Nail the form boards onto the four corner stakes to frame in the area, with the stakes and any cleats on the outside of the boards. Next, position and attach additional two-by-four stakes along the edge of the concrete forms, spacing them no more than four feet apart. This will help anchor the forms and prevent the stakes and forms from moving during concrete pouring.
Pour and Level the Gravel Foundation
Use the Bobcat loader to haul and dump the gravel inside your concrete forms. Then, using a shovel and a rake, evenly distribute the gravel over the concrete site. Use a vibrator compactor to compress the gravel as a foundation for your concrete. As you spread and compact the gravel, measure the depth from the surface of the gravel to the top of the forms to make sure you will have enough space for at least a concrete pad four-inches thick.
Use this information to get your yard ready for a new concrete parking pad.