The basis for any concreting service is the concrete itself. What most people don’t realise is that, while most concreters will know how to make concrete from scratch (ie using cement powder and the other basic ingredients o water, sand and an aggregate) most of the time they are not actually doing the mixing phase. Why? Because this is time consuming and there are other larger companies that can do this for you and deliver it to your door. Further, as they deal in bulk supplies, the price is competitive and perhaps even cheaper than if a single contractor were to have to mix and create their own batches on site. This is why when you order work to be done, the concrete contractor will do the pre-work, which involves any earth works and providing the template for the pour, and then once the concrete has been poured and distributed, they will work and form the slurry, malleable material to the desired shape and level.
While the above process has been broken down to its most basic points, it is rarely that easy (we wish that it was).
Making room for a slab can be anywhere from super easy, and involving next to know work if it’s above ground, to downright hard and difficult if major earthworks is involved. While a lot of the earth works can be normally dug via machinery, the difficulty is increased dramatically when objects get in the way and hand digging is required, or rocks or other materials need to be removed.
Creating the form also can vary in difficulty, although the parts you see, the plastic moulds or steel bracing, is not normally the hard part. No, the difficulty increases when the levelling or shape becomes hard. A good concrete contractor requires a very thorough attention to detail as if something isn’t right here, it will affect the whole job. Once the slab is poured, it is often too hard to go back and move form work so the contractor will do his best to ensure that the shape is perfect and most importantly, the level required will be achieved.
The pouring of the concrete is next and while this also seems like a basic move, I mean, surely you can just let it slop to the ground anywhere, a practiced contractor will decide where exactly they want it. Sometimes (due to access reasons) there may only be one option but the concreter will normally have a plan and will want to work the concrete in one direction. Larger and more difficult jobs may take several loads.
From there the concrete will be moved into the form so that all edges are even and the desired level reached. This is where you see them smoothing edges and working the wet concrete until it is hard. Once again, this can vary in difficulty. Large pads may have access difficulties making the concrete hard to form from a distance and more intricate edges may require more work. Further on top of the basic finishing that every slab requires, if the extra aesthetic touches involved as with colouring or stamping, this also normally increases the difficulty.
All in all there are a million tiny steps that most people don’t see when a concreter is at work (similar to most jobs).