Do you feel like your Baltimore home could use a little spicing up before Fall? Are you an avid HGTV fan who thinks taking on a DIY concrete project would be a breeze? Before you go running to the closest home improvement store for the perfect concrete mix, read these twelve tips to help make your DIY concrete project a success — or avoid the hassle all together and contact Baltimore’s Top Rated Local® decorative concrete professionals to schedule a free consultation.  

Concrete Project Mistake 1: Not Getting The Right Concrete

Yes, concrete consists of three main ingredients: water, aggregate, and Portland cement — but that does not mean all concrete is the same. There are actually many different types of concrete for different kinds of projects. Be sure to do some research on the best type of concrete for your concrete project’s needs before pulling a random concrete mix off the shelf.

Concrete Project Mistake 2: Not Having The Right Amount Of Concrete

Once you have the right mix of concrete, the next important step is making sure you have the right amount of concrete — a common DIY concrete project fail. Do-it-yourselfers who are not familiar with concrete easily underestimate how thick they need to pour their concrete, which is essential for concrete project floors and driveways that need to be able to support heavy weight. This common mistake can cost you your whole project, as your concrete will crack easily or collapse if too thin.   

Concrete Project Mistake 3: Not Doing A Slump Test

Having the wrong water-to-concrete ratio is another HUGE DIY concrete project fail. But, how do you know if your mixture is of the right consistency? A slump test of course! Essentially, fill and pack a steel slump cone with your prepared concrete, turn it upside down, and carefully lift up the cone to analyze the concrete slump. If your concrete sand castle remains stable and upright, you are good to go! If it collapses, you’ve added too much water to the mix.

Concrete Project Mistake 4: Working Alone

Concrete projects are not easy! From building forms to curing and sealing your concrete, there is a lot that goes into your patio, driveway, or concrete floor projects — not to mention concrete is a very time-sensitive material. Say, “yes” to a helping hand to help speed up the process and ensure a successful concrete project.  

Concrete Project Mistake 5: Not Having The Right Tools

From trowels to stamps, it’s important you have the right tools to do your concrete job correctly. The right tools can have a huge effect on the efficiency and quality of your concrete project. Not to mention, when working with concrete you do not have the luxury of being able to put your DIY project aside to run to your local home improvement store. Make sure you have the right tools, before you start!

Concrete Project Mistake 6: Building Uneven Forms

Don’t rush through building your forms! Concrete forms have a huge effect on the overall appearance of your concrete project. If you build uneven forms, your concrete will be uneven as a result. Take the time to build proper forms.   

Concrete Project Mistake 7: Removing Forms Too Early

As important as it is to build proper forms, it’s also crucial that you do not remove the form too early. If you remove the forms before the concrete is fully dry, your concrete may crack, or worse, collapse, causing you to have to redo the whole entire project. Patience is a virtue.

Concrete Project Mistake 8: Failing To Reinforce The Structure

When working on a concrete project by yourself, don’t forget to reinforce your concrete with a reinforcer such as steel mesh or fiber for long-lasting durability and to avoid premature cracking.

Concrete Project Mistake 9: Overworking The Concrete

After your concrete is poured, you will want to smooth out your concrete with a screed, but be careful not to overdo it. Overworking your concrete will hinder the integrity of your concrete by causing cracking and scaling.  

Concrete Project Mistake 10: Not Adding Texture

While the look of perfectly smooth concrete may seem appealing, it’s not practical for walking on. Prevent slipping and falling by adding a texture the surface of your concrete.

Concrete Project Mistake 11: Choosing A Complex Pattern

Did you find a beautiful, detailed decorative concrete pattern on Houzz or Pinterest? If this is your first DIY concrete project, you might want to leave complex patterns to the professionals. It’s important not to take on too much your first go-around.  

Concrete Project Mistake 12: Not Sealing The Concrete

Last, but not least, in terms of common DIY concrete project mistakes, do not forget to protect your finished project by sealing your concrete. Sealing your concrete will keep it looking its best and prevent cracking and chipping over time.

We hope sharing these common DIY concrete project mistakes will save you from making them yourself!

Unsure if you want to tackle your Baltimore concrete project by yourself? Contact Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete to ensure your project gets done right the first time.