DIY projects have become more than just a hobby – they’ve become a massive industry worth billions of dollars every year. Homeowners have so many resources to tackle projects themselves these days, from endless hours of YouTube instructional content to specialty “kits” sold by home goods stores. Why wouldn’t they start doing more without the help of professional contractors? In some cases, if you have basic tools and an average amount of skill, you can finish basic projects for less than it costs to hire a professional. This many not, however, account for your time and effort.
Concrete is one of those areas that more people have been thinking about doing themselves. Mixing and installing your own concrete is something you hear about routinely, after all. It’s not as if every concrete installation, no matter how small, absolutely needs to be done by a professional. There are things that people can do themselves. A basic walkway, for instance, might be installed on a DIY basis if great care is taken to plan and execute the project properly.
One of the best things you can do, if you’re thinking about doing your own concrete work, is learn about common mistakes. Here are three common DIY concrete mistakes to keep in mind:
1. Poorly made forms
“Forms” is a word often used in professional concrete applications to describe the frames or braces that must be constructed in order to hold your poured concrete in place while it’s installed, and while it dries. Impeccable forms are critical if your concrete installation is going to be everything it can be. When forms are sloppy or poorly built, the finished result will reflect as much. Rushing through the process of building the right forms is a very common DIY mistake.
2. No texture, too slippery
There may be situations in which you want to create a perfectly smooth concrete surface, but keep in mind, this perfect smoothness can and will be slippery. Small amounts of texture are often added by professionals in order to create a subtle aesthetic value, and to make the surface is safe to walk on. A wet broom is often used to create a fine texture on the surface, but getting a professional result is easier said than done.
3. Uneven or wrong height
The height of concrete is a hugely important detail, especially if you’re talking about a floor or driveway. If you’re just “eyeballing it” and don’t know ahead of time how high or thick or concrete surface should be, you’ll likely end up with a lopsided result. Professionals avoid this mistake through years of training and experience, but DIY homeowners have to work a little harder to avoid this common (and costly) error.
Or you could simply hire a professional…
When you add up the cost of materials, tools, time and stress involved in pouring your own concrete – not to mention the quality of the final results – you may decide that hiring a professional simply makes more sense. If that’s your situation, it becomes a question of finding the right concrete specialist. Sometimes it’s all about the lowest bid, but only if the lowest bidder is also the best professional, and represents the best overall value. Concrete installed by experienced and reputable pros are likely to last a lot longer – and save homeowners money in the long run.