Concreting Melbourne is one of the world’s most commonly used building materials, yet many people still don’t understand what it is or how to work with it.

This guide offers assistance for design professionals, construction contractors and public agencies when creating concrete trails. It covers design steps, construction methods and maintenance needs of concrete trails.

What is Concrete?

Concrete is one of the world’s most versatile construction materials. It is strong, affordable and fireproof – making it suitable for use in buildings, floors, sidewalks and highways alike. Concrete’s versatility means it is used extensively throughout many projects worldwide.

Cement acts as the primary binder to connect and strengthen aggregates into one solid mass.

Aggregates used in concrete must be free from soft particles or vegetable matter as contamination can cause chemical reactions that lead to weaker concrete structures. Sometimes admixtures are added to improve its properties or speed up or slow down curing time.

Ready-mixed concrete (RMC) is a pre-mixed product that can be easily transported and installed at project sites using containers, trucks, or rotating concrete lorries. RMC contains water, cement and sand mixed together along with various amounts of coarse and fine aggregate to form concrete that has specific strengths or characteristics.

Mixing Concrete

Concrete is an incredible yet simple material to work with and can be utilized to complete a wide variety of projects. However, working with it requires certain skills not all DIYers possess – one of the more challenging parts of working with it being mixing concrete.

Too much water being added to bagged concrete mix is one of the most commonly made mistakes by homeowners and can have serious repercussions for its strength, workability and appearance.

To avoid this issue, pour in the appropriate amount of water (this varies based on the bag size) and continue mixing. If your mixture becomes soupy, add additional dry concrete mix to absorb any extra liquid. It is also wise to wear eye and dust protection when mixing concrete to protect yourself against its potentially abrasive silica aggregates; wear a dust mask as well. Work only on hard surfaces covered by either tarps or plastic sheets in order to keep working spaces free of dust particles.

Preparing the Area

Preparing the area in which you want to create concrete requires proper care and preparation, regardless of whether you’re hiring professional contractors or doing it on your own at home as part of a home improvement project. You must follow all the same steps that professionals do if you want your surface coatings to look fantastic and bond correctly.

Before beginning the pouring process, the area must be cleared of debris that might obstruct it – this includes grass clippings, rocks, shrubs and old concrete. You should then prepare this space by laying a 4- to 8-inch (10.2-20.3 cm) thick subbase layer and compacting it using either a hand tamper or plate compactor (these might be overkill for smaller DIY projects).

After this step is completed, use a large floating device known as a bull float to press down on aggregate and encourage cream (gravel-free concrete) to rise to the surface.

Pouring Concrete

Concrete can be an intricate material to work with and it requires special handling techniques and equipment such as wheelbarrows or concrete mixers with motors to make this task simpler and quicker.

Before pouring concrete, ensure the area is free from obstructions that would impede its process, such as grass, rocks or old concrete that may obstruct it – and clean until raw earth has been exposed.

Make sure your forms remain stable by nailing stakes every two feet around each form and checking on them during the pour process. This will keep them from shifting as concrete sets.

Screed your concrete as it sets with a screed board or long plank of wood that reaches both sides of the form, dragging it across until you have smooth, flat concrete – this process is known as screeding – creating a professional-looking finish.