How to Make a Nice Cement Patio

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Introduction: How to Make a Nice Cement Patio

I came across this idea at the home-de-pot when I found in the cement section plastic forms for making walkways. They did not have a form that I liked or one that was big enough so I decided to make my own.

Step 1: The Form

I built a simple mold with 1/4" X 3" poplar stock from the local big box hardware store. Then I used 1/4"x 1/4" square stock to make a decorative pattern. The whole thing was held together with grabber screws. I used Vaseline as a release.

Step 2: The Cement

It took approximately three(80 lbs) bags of cement to fill one form (3 foot x 3 foot x 3 in) so after I got the form in place and level I mixed the cement coloring with the water and then mixed the cement into a fairly workable texture. Then pour the cement into the form and work it around until all of the air pockets are worked out. It is important not to leave any aggregate from the cement on the top of the form, this will make it harder to remove later.

Step 3: Form Removal

Wait around two hours for the wet cement to harden enough to allow the form to be removed. Gently tap on the surface of the wood form to release it and slowly work the form up and off. There was some cracking but dont worry about it. The mortar will fill in any voids.

Step 4: Mortar

Finally after allowing all the cement to cure I swept in the mortar into the cracks and wet it down gently with the hose. The mortar ties the whole piece together and reinforces the cement as well as filling any voids.

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    Can I use this method to pave over an existing cement patio?

    60 Comments

    I just bought a house and wanted to do brick along the side, when I moved in, it's all weeds, this seems like it would be a lot cheaper and less aggravation doing this instead of lying brick one by one. I'm deffently going to have to do this when the weather warms up. thanks for sharing this. after I finish I'll try to post pictures and updates on my project.

    Thank you for this I had planned on adding a walkway to the side door of my house using bricks where allot of drainage goes from my back yard during heavy rains.. This is way easier and more cost effective not to mention less labour intensive

    Nicely done. It'll make a nice floor for your new shop. Personally I think I would of bedded it on a couple of inches of pea gravel or sand, with a layer of plant barrier fabric underneath. "Grout" with loose sand. This allows for drainage,expansion and prevents weed growth. Also easier to level.

    2 replies

    Excellent idea, congratulations! Thanks for sharing
    I'm going to put in practice, however everytime I will prepare concrete, I have the same question.
    Whats the best/d ratio of mixture (cement, sand, stones)?
    Can someone give me ideas?
    Thank you

    I made a fabulous 18 x 20 foot patio but instead of using the forms as 'forms' I used them as stamp. Didn't have to worry about weeds coming through. Looked like as much like separate stones as it does using the form. I then stained the concrete red, then washed with black and then white to give the overall look of brick. I would never use patio stones again!

    This is great. I actually own two of these forms myself, but haven't been able to use them yet. I plan to use them to do a hybrid concrete overlay on an existing patio around a pool. Do you have any recommendations for .working around bends, curves and/or angles, or was that not an issue?

    I've also considered using the forms to make my own patio pavers. I might do that, but since the concrete blend will contain polymers, I'm not sure that's a good idea as an overlay for the current concrete patio--as they would require some type of adhesive (liquid nails, more likely) in order to secure them.

    Anyhow, your patio turned out amazing--I'd have never known that was a concrete form DIY. Looks terrific.Thanks for sharing.

    This turned out really nice -- thanks for sharing!
    Two questions:
    1. what did you use as mortar?
    2. how much did this project cost?

    I've used Pam (spray for cooking) as a form release on smooth-surfaced melamine-surfaced particle board forms. Not sure how well it'd work on unfinished wood, but it's easy to apply and like vaseline, probably non-toxic.

    Nice! Your final outcome is much better than the false looking imprints used on drives around here and from your photos looks like real separate slabs..

    I worked with pattern imprinted concrete for nine years. It is important to know that a suitable mix would be 3 parts small stones(agregrate) 2 parts sand, one part cement. These bags may be ready mixed similar.

    2 replies

    This helps. Thank you.

    How about a close up of the Form. It looks like the you made the individual bricks with a 1/4inch X 1/4 inch square dowel??? It seems the Concrete would break that when you are laying it down. Great Instructable.

    1 reply

    yes, its 1/4 square poplar stock. It held up well but i did not pour in the concrete mix from very high, just from a wheelbarrow...

    if u run a quick edger between the concrete and the mold you would eliminate most of your cracking ....

    Great idea and awesome follow up comments of the members here.
    My two cents: Vaseline may be a great way to prevent the wood for sticking but I have done the following with super results = make sure the wood is super wet before sticking it in the concrete and oil it up with motor oil.
    Making it super wet will expand the wood and when it is drying it will come loose by itself. The oil prevents the cement from sticking to the wood...
    I have done this about 32 times making one cover stone at a time for a brick wall.

    NICE JOB! I USED THE FRAME FROM HOME DEPOT AND IT TURNED OUT GREAT. I DID NOT LEVEL MY YARD OR ANYTHING, JUST PLACED THE MOLD WHERE I WANTED AND POURED CEMENT. THE CEMENT WOULD FILL THE HOLES, SOME MORE THAN OTHERS TO MAKE IT LEVEL. I THEN REMOVED THE FRAME AFTER 15 MINUTES AND CONTINUED WITH THE NEXT ONE. I REALLY LIKE YOUR FRAME DESIGN . I TOOK IT UP THIS YEAR AND USED THE "ROCKS" FROM IT FOR MY FLOWER BORDERS.

    Hate to be nit-picky, but one should use sacks of concrete mix, not cement.. Experiment with the water content of your mix and I think you'll find that you can remove the form sooner than two hours. Nice project and a great idea on the mold.

    1 reply

    Concrete in pre mixed bags is about the worst way to go as far as money is concerned. This project is ideal for ferro-cement. Simply mix 15% cement with sand and add water to make a mix that is a bit on the stiff side. Several layers of chicken wire are a cheap addition for strength and safety's sake. Two inches of thickness is overkill with adequate wire in the mix. The best advice is to work the mix into the wire with a toilet plunger and then trowel it to suit yourself. Let each block remain untouched for a full month for curing purposes. Keep plastic sheet below each block and keep damp burlap on top to retain water while curing. This stuff is uncanny in its strength when done right,