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I need to build a concrete foundation measuring about 4.9m x 3.7m (16ft x 12ft). I'll make the formwork and then get a company to lay the concrete for me. The concrete will be deep enough not to require to be laid into bays.

I won't have a helper. Is it feasible to level such a large area of concrete on my own, either by standing in it and moving a screed board as I walk backwards or by standing to the side and bull floating it?

  • It is not easy but it can be done. Screed boarding will take longer and can be done in the center fill the boot holes as you go then float it out like normal and it will be fine. – Ed Beal Jul 7 '16 at 13:55
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    If you're paying a crew to do the pour, they should be doing the screed work as well. You should be left with nothing but float and finish. What's the point of paying them, otherwise? I do wonder how much you'll save this way, though. For a few bucks more I'd want a professional finish. – isherwood Jul 7 '16 at 14:07
  • Around my parts, the pouring crew is the guy driving the truck, and doing the pour, it's up to the purchaser to deal with the hauling/screed (which depending on what is being done, would be sourced out). – Chris Jul 7 '16 at 19:46
  • Concrete is cured (hardened) cement. Cement is what is poured to cure into concrete. So when you say a company will lay concrete, do you mean they are installing concrete tiles (cinder blocks), etc.? – wallyk Jul 8 '16 at 0:42
  • Wrong, @wallyk - concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water. Cement is the binder, only. Concrete is concrete as soon as its mixed. – Ecnerwal Jul 8 '16 at 22:19
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If you don't simply have the concrete company screed it for you (a good idea), hire a helper for an hour or two so you can screed sensibly from outside the forms. The difference between you walking down the middle of the slab and trying to fill your footsteps and them doing that is that they have some experience with filling footsteps when they HAVE to walk in it. But they'll almost certainly have two people screed it from outside the forms, and you should, too. Walking through it is not the preferred method.

As an aside, steel is cheap and easy before you pour, but essentially impossible to retrofit. Many home pours seem to skip reinforcement at all, which is penny wise and pound foolish. At least throw some 6x6 mesh in there, and bent #4 bars at the corners, tied to the mesh.

  • Bar/specialized concrete/ fiber reinforcement generally is a plus for relatively minor cost/labour increase. – Chris Jul 7 '16 at 19:52

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