I've done all sorts of home repairs and projects, but never concrete work. I've been looking for a good book to help me learn how to build concrete foundations for a home, and how to pour and finish concrete slabs.

I've come across 2 books on Amazon, but they all get bad reviews and seem to be poorly written, poorly organized, and missing information.

The books I've already found are:

  1. Working with Concrete by Rick Arnold (considered to be the best option from what I've found)

  2. Foundations & Concrete Work (For Pros by Pros) (seems to be missing a lot of info)

Does anyone have any recommendations on books for concrete work?

2 Answers 2


I cannot think of any good concrete books off the top of my head, sorry.

However, you listed two tasks that you wish to pursue, one of which I believe can be achieved well with book learning and the other which cannot. As far as building concrete foundations goes the trick is in the forms. I would look for books specifically geared toward concrete formwork. If it is an existing house then your formwork is going to be significantly different from building forms in a meadow. Again not sure if there are any books out there that will tell you the things that concrete contractors know from years of experience.

As far as finishing slabs goes I would like to offer a word of warning based on 20 years in the trades. If you want it to look good and function the way it should you can't expect to learn the techniques involved without a lot of time and effort, not to mention a lot of ugly permanent concrete "test slabs." Hire a finisher if your slab is going to be more than 20' sq. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the cost of hiring a finishing expert is usually around $500/day or $300 for a fraction thereof.


Black and decker has a good diy guide on concrete projects. It covers a lot of subjects and it's a good starting point.


  • I think the B&D book is terrible. It gives a broad overview about many topics but does not discuss anything in depth. One of my big pet peeves with books like this is when they do not discuss the pros/cons of various methods.
    – dfc
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:18

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