How to build a long-lasting concrete landing pad for stairs or a ramp.
Many concrete patios and sidewalks are less than 2 inches thick and lack metal reinforcing. In areas subject to freezing winters, such slabs usually crack. A long-lasting pad prevents the problem.
A concrete slab may be raised one step above the yard or an adjacent patio surface, or it can be set just above ground level. If the pad is 75 square feet or smaller, you don't need to worry about drainage. The pad shown here includes two piers to key into its sloped site. Omit the piers for a level site.
Though it may feel solid a few hours after pouring, concrete takes a week or two to achieve full strength. Wait at least three days before exerting heaving pressure on the pad.
About a day to excavate, build forms, mix concrete, pour, and finish the surface
Level, tape measure, circular saw, sledgehammer, drill, hammer, wire cutters, concrete, wheelbarrow, hoe, concrete finishing tools
Measuring and cutting, checking for level and square, mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow, smoothing a concrete surface
Determine the location for the pad and remove any sod
2x lumber for forms, stakes, gravel, bags of dry-mix concrete, reinforcing wire mesh
Excavate topsoil and tamp down about 2 inches of gravel. Cut 2x boards to use as forms for the pad. Fasten them together to form a rectangle. Use a framing square to check the corners for square. Fasten the boards to stakes driven into the ground, and check for level and square.
Using a wooden, steel, or magnesium float, smooth out the entire area. With the float held nearly flat, lightly scrape across the pad in long, sweeping arcs. As you work, water will rise to the top. Keep smoothing as long as the surface is wet. Once it has started to dry, lightly drag a broom across it to create a nonslip surface.