If you're planning to build a small barn for your tractor or to house your animals, you'll need to consider the type of flooring you'll install. Depending on the type of building you put up, you might get by with gravel or compacted earth flooring. However, for the best protection of your supplies and animals, you'll probably want concrete. You might be able to put in the concrete slab yourself. Here's a look at some of the steps involved.
Choose The Concrete
You can have ready mix concrete delivered to your yard where you plan to use it or you can mix up concrete by the bag yourself. There are advantages to buying ready mix. For one, when you let the company know the intended use of the concrete, they can make it to the right strength so you won't have problems with cracking when you park a heavy tractor on it. Plus, the concrete mixture will be uniform when it's mixed in a truck in a big batch. When you mix individual bags in a wheelbarrow, some batches may come out different than others if you get lax about the amount of water you add or the amount of mixing you do.
Working with ready mix is quicker too. It's quicker out of necessity. You have to work fast when the concrete is delivered or it will dry and get too stiff to work with. You'll be able to complete the slab in a single day rather than prolonging the job by mixing up concrete a bag at a time. Choosing ready mix concrete is usually a good option when you're making a big concrete slab for a barn floor and the cost could be close to what you would pay for several individual bags and renting the equipment needed to mix the concrete.
Prepare The Area
Working with ready mix concrete will probably be one of the easiest parts of the job. Preparing the soil is often the most labor-intensive. Grass and weeds have to be stripped off and the ground dug up and tamped down. A layer of gravel is usually needed too, and once it's put down, the gravel needs to be tamped into the soil. The base for the concrete slab needs to be compacted well and graded for drainage so the slab has a long life with fewer cracks.
Once the soil is prepared, you'll need to build a frame to hold the cement. You may also want to add steel mesh or rebar before the concrete is spread to act as reinforcement. All of these steps are necessary whether you use bagged or ready mix concrete for your slab.
All of the prep work has to be done well in advance of having the ready mix delivered. Once the truck arrives, you and your helpers should start pouring and spreading the concrete right away so you can get it set, leveled, and textured before the concrete gets hard and impossible to work with.