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caper 04-10-2008 09:23 PM

concrete deck
hey folks ...plan on pouring a deck this summer.16x30..any advice or tips that might benefit me would be helpful. I am up here in nova scotia so we still have winter 8 months of the year(lol) lotta frost and freezing,,,,,but just looking for some good advice in general...ex..what should be my biggest slab.....what about colour dye,,,thxs...caper ,

dchaban 04-16-2008 10:46 AM

Cold weather slab
Sounds like most of your work will be in subgrade. That means digging at least 3X the thickness of your concrete down from finished grade and applying a 1:6 ratio of sand to gravel layers. (Ex. 1" sand, then 5" gravel) Be sure to compact each layer. This helps general drainage, but being so far up north it won't help with larger frost heaves.
The best way to keep heaves and shifts from damaging your patio is to ensure you have expansion joints (seams) for every so many square feet..think mini slabs or a tic-tac-toe pattern in the larger slab. What these provide are a natural place for the concrete to expand (crack) should the slab twist/turn/raise/lower with weather. On that note. 4"x4" rebar grid is another handy item you can use in strengthening (if you're slab is thick enough)...I don't know off hand the minimum thickness before using rebar, but I'd guess at least 4". (I'm sure it depends on the thickness of rebar too, something you can look up) The rebar grid should be 'elevated' and supported in a way that it sits halfway between your finished subgrade and your finished concrete grade (to end up in the middle of the concrete). Be sure when pouring to work the concrete into/around each rebar grid to leave no air pockets.

I have no experience with dyes, and have heard when incorreclty applied dye causes spalling or flaking over time. Perhaps a nicer look would be something called stamping, where you can buy usually a 2'x2' stencil of sorts that will leave a finished look of cobblestone, or pavers, or whatever pattern you desire. Stamping must be applied with somewhat specific timing of working the concrete.
Though stamping won't cut in as deep as the necessary seams, it might also provide a lesser avenue for cracking.
You must still level and work your concrete, but stamping often replaces the "finishing" step of sweeping and edging, which provide that rough, non slip surface in a nice 'picture-frame' look, respectively. Good luck! :thumbup:

concretemasonry 04-16-2008 01:09 PM

1. Good compacted base. - To minimize settlement

2. Air entrained concrete (5-6%) - for durability in your climate

3. Create control joints (sawed or deeply tooled) within 24 hours of initial start of placement. - For crack control.

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