Pouring concrete is probably pretty routine for those who do it day in and day out. But to the layperson who’s never touched the stuff, it looks kind of treacherous…and messy….and, well, fun. (Caution: for those who work in concrete this article may be boring, and even different from what you know—so feel free to ‘Leave A Reply’ at the bottom of the page!)
Usually the first step in pouring concrete is to figure how big a slab you’ll need, since—guess what!—that determines how much wet concrete you need to mix or buy to pour a “concrete yard”.
Ready Mix concrete is sold by the cubic yard, and quantities of concrete are usually talked about in yards, but it’s fine to start by measuring the length, width and height (or depth) of your desired slab in feet and inches.
You would start by measuring the space in feet and converting inches to decimals (for example, 12 feet and 6 inches becomes 12.5 feet). You would then multiply L x W x H to get the cubic feet. Finally, you would divide this by 27 to convert it into yards!
One Fun Concrete Term: “Bull-Floating” – After the screeding is done, in which a “screed board” made of wood or an aluminum tool is pulled across the freshly-poured concrete to flatten it out and level it with the forms (the wooden shape holding the concrete in place), bull-floating is done. A bull-float is an object not unlike a Swiffer, except made of wood or metal, which is pulled systematically over the poured and screeded concrete to pack down any inconsistencies. This is part of the finishing process.
Want to learn more? A couple of good concrete resources: