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How To Build A Cement Patio How To Build A Cement Patio

Outdoor Furniture

How To Build A Cement Patio

Written by: Daniel Carter

Learn how to build a durable and stylish cement patio that is perfect for outdoor furniture. Transform your backyard into an oasis with this step-by-step guide and create a space to relax and entertain.

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Building a cement patio is an excellent way to enhance your outdoor space and create a functional and stylish area for relaxing, entertaining, and enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking to upgrade an existing patio or starting from scratch, with proper planning and preparation, you can easily create a beautiful and durable cement patio that will stand the test of time.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of building your cement patio. From planning and preparation to pouring the cement and finishing the surface, we’ll cover every aspect to ensure that you have all the information you need to successfully complete this project.

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to understand the benefits of choosing a cement patio. Cement is a versatile and resilient material that can withstand various weather conditions, making it ideal for outdoor use. It offers durability, low-maintenance, and the ability to customize the design and shape of your patio to suit your preferences.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the first step of building your cement patio: planning and preparation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Building a cement patio requires careful planning, site preparation, and attention to detail. It’s a rewarding project that adds value to your home and provides a versatile outdoor space for various activities.
  • By following the step-by-step process, you can create a durable and stylish cement patio that enhances your outdoor living experience. From visualizing the design to sealing the surface, each step contributes to the patio’s longevity and beauty.

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

Before you start the construction of your cement patio, it’s crucial to plan and prepare adequately. This step will ensure that you have a clear vision of your patio design and have all the necessary tools and materials on hand. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Visualize Your Patio Design: Take some time to envision how you want your patio to look and function. Consider factors such as the size and shape of the space, any existing landscape features, and how you plan to use the patio. This will help you determine the dimensions and layout of your patio.
  2. Measure the Area: Measure the dimensions of the area where you plan to build your patio. This will help you determine the amount of cement, supplies, and furniture you’ll need.
  3. Check for Permits: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain permits before starting the construction of your patio. Check with your local municipality to ensure compliance with any building regulations.
  4. Gather Tools and Materials: Make a list of all the tools and materials you’ll need for the project. This may include items such as cement, gravel, sand, reinforcement materials, wooden forms, trowels, and a level. Ensure that you have everything ready before you begin.
  5. Set a Budget: Determine your budget for the project and allocate funds for materials, tools, and any hired help you may need. It’s important to have a realistic budget in mind to avoid any unexpected expenses along the way.

Once you’ve completed the planning and preparation phase, you’ll have a solid foundation to move on to the next step: site preparation.

Step 2: Site Preparation

Preparing the site is a crucial step in building a cement patio. Proper site preparation ensures a stable and level surface for the patio and helps in preventing future issues. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Clean the Area: Clear the area of any vegetation, debris, or obstacles. Remove rocks, roots, and other objects that may interfere with the patio’s foundation.
  2. Mark the Area: Use stakes and string to mark the outline of your patio. This will help you visualize the dimensions and shape of the patio and ensure accuracy during the construction process.
  3. Excavate the Area: Dig out the marked area to a depth of around 8 inches to create space for the patio’s foundation. Use a shovel or mini-excavator to remove the soil, making sure to maintain a consistent depth across the entire area.
  4. Compact the Soil: After excavation, use a compactor or tamper to firmly compact the soil. This will provide a stable base for the foundation and prevent settling.
  5. Install Edging: Install plastic or metal edging around the perimeter of the patio area. This will help prevent the cement from spreading outside the designated space and create a clean and defined edge for the patio.
  6. Add a Weed Barrier: Lay a weed barrier fabric over the excavated area to prevent unwanted plants from growing through the cement. This will help maintain the aesthetics and longevity of your patio.
  7. Add a Gravel Base: Pour a layer of crushed gravel into the excavated area and spread it evenly. The gravel will provide drainage and improve the stability of the patio.
  8. Compact the Gravel: Use a compactor or tamper to compact the gravel base thoroughly. This will ensure a solid foundation for the cement and help prevent sinking or shifting over time.

Once you’ve completed the site preparation, you’re ready to move on to the next step: laying the foundation for your cement patio.

Step 3: Laying the Foundation

Laying the foundation is a critical step in building a cement patio as it provides the support and stability for the entire structure. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mix the Cement: Prepare the cement mixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a sturdy wheelbarrow or mixing tub to combine the cement, sand, and water. Mix until you achieve a smooth and workable consistency.
  2. Start with the Perimeter: Begin by pouring a strip of cement along the edges of the patio area. This will serve as a border and help contain the rest of the cement.
  3. Fill the Center: Pour the cement mixture into the center of the patio area, distributing it evenly. Use a shovel or rake to spread the cement towards the edges, ensuring a consistent thickness.
  4. Level the Surface: Use a long, straight board, such as a screed, to level the surface of the cement. Place the board on the edges and pull it towards you in a sawing motion, smoothing out the cement as you go. Check the level frequently to ensure an even surface.
  5. Smooth the Surface: Use a float or trowel to smooth out any imperfections and create a smooth finish on the surface of the cement. Work in small sections, using circular motions to blend the cement together.
  6. Add Control Joints: To prevent cracking, make sure to create control joints in the cement. These are shallow grooves that allow for expansion and contraction. Use a jointing tool or a trowel to create straight lines across the patio at regular intervals.

Once you have finished laying the foundation, it’s time to move on to the next step: installing the forms.

Step 4: Installing the Forms

Installing forms is an essential step in building a cement patio as they create the boundaries and shape of the patio. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Choose the Forms: Select the type of forms you want to use for your patio. Wooden forms are commonly used and can be easily customized to fit your desired shape and size. Plastic or metal forms are also available and provide a more durable option.
  2. Set the Forms: Place the forms along the edges of the patio area, ensuring they are level and securely anchored to the ground. Use stakes or wooden pegs to hold the forms in place, making sure they are firmly positioned.
  3. Check for Evenness: Use a level to make sure the forms are even and have a consistent height. Adjust the forms as necessary to achieve a uniform surface.
  4. Seal the Forms: Apply a thin coat of form release agent or vegetable oil to the inside of the forms. This will prevent the cement from sticking to the forms and make it easier to remove them once the patio is complete.
  5. Double-Check Alignment: Double-check the alignment of the forms and make any necessary adjustments before moving on to the next step.

Installing forms ensures that your cement patio remains within the desired boundaries and helps create a clean and professional-looking finish. Once the forms are in place, you’re ready to move on to the next step: pouring the cement.

When building a cement patio, make sure to properly prepare the ground by removing any grass, roots, or debris. This will ensure a stable and long-lasting foundation for your patio.

Step 5: Pouring the Cement

Pouring the cement is an exciting step in building your patio, as it brings your vision to life. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare for Pouring: Before pouring the cement, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment nearby. This includes a concrete mixer or wheelbarrow for mixing, a shovel or pourer for transferring the cement, and a helper to assist with the pouring process.
  2. Mix the Cement: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the cement mixture in a concrete mixer or wheelbarrow. Ensure it has a consistent texture and is free of lumps.
  3. Pour the Cement: Start pouring the cement into the patio area, working from one end to the other. Use a shovel or pourer to distribute the cement evenly within the forms.
  4. Fill the Forms: As you pour the cement, make sure to fill the forms completely, ensuring that the cement reaches the desired height. Use a trowel or screed board to level the cement surface.
  5. Consolidate the Cement: After pouring the cement, use a concrete vibrator or a piece of lumber to consolidate the cement and remove any air bubbles. This will ensure a solid and uniform surface.
  6. Smooth the Surface: Use a bull float or magnesium float to smooth out the surface of the cement. Move the float in large arcs, working from one end of the patio to the other.
  7. Finishing Touches: Use a trowel or edging tool to create any desired texture or decorative pattern on the surface of the cement. You can also add color or stain to enhance the appearance of your patio.

Once you have poured the cement and finished the surface, it’s time to move on to the next step: smoothing and finishing the surface of your patio.

Step 6: Smoothing and Finishing the Surface

Smoothing and finishing the surface of your cement patio is essential to achieve a polished and professional look. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Wait for Initial Set: Allow the cement to set for a short period, typically around 20 to 30 minutes, until it reaches a slightly firm consistency. This will prevent excessive shifting or cracking during the finishing process.
  2. Begin Smoothing: Start smoothing the surface of the cement using a steel trowel. Hold the trowel at a slight angle and apply even pressure as you glide it across the surface. Work in small sections, overlapping each pass to ensure uniformity.
  3. Use a Float: As you continue smoothing the surface, switch to a magnesium float to further refine the texture. Move the float in circular or figure-eight motions to eliminate any trowel lines and create a smooth and consistent finish.
  4. Consider Decorative Options: If you want to add a decorative touch to your patio, this is the time to do it. You can use various techniques such as stamping, stenciling, or scoring to create patterns or textures on the surface of the cement.
  5. Apply a Finish: Once you are satisfied with the smoothness and texture of the surface, you can apply a sealant or finishing product. This will protect the cement from stains, weather damage, and enhance its appearance.
  6. Clean Up: As the finish dries, make sure to clean up any excess cement or debris surrounding the patio. Use a brush or broom to sweep away loose materials and create a clean and tidy environment.

Smoothing and finishing the surface of your cement patio requires patience and attention to detail. Take your time, and remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any sealants or finishing products you choose to apply. Once the surface is smooth and finished, you can move on to the final step: curing and sealing the patio.

Step 7: Curing and Sealing the Patio

The final step in building your cement patio is curing and sealing the surface. This step is crucial for ensuring the strength and longevity of the patio. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Curing Time: After finishing the patio’s surface, allow the cement to cure for a minimum of 48 hours. Curing is the process of allowing the cement to harden and gain strength. It’s essential to avoid walking or placing heavy objects on the patio during this time.
  2. Moisture Retention: To facilitate proper curing, it’s important to keep the cement surface moist by lightly spraying it with water or placing a damp cloth over it. This helps prevent any cracking or drying too quickly.
  3. Sealing the Patio: Once the patio has fully cured, you can proceed with sealing. Choose a high-quality concrete sealer that is suitable for outdoor use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
  4. Prepare the Surface: Before applying the sealer, ensure that the patio’s surface is clean and dry. Sweep away any debris or loose materials, and use a pressure washer if necessary to remove stubborn stains or dirt.
  5. Apply the Sealer: Using a roller or sprayer, apply the sealer evenly over the entire surface of the patio. Work in small sections to ensure thorough coverage and follow any recommended drying times between coats.
  6. Allow Drying Time: After the sealer has been applied, allow the patio to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid walking or placing furniture on the patio until it has fully dried.
  7. Maintenance: Regularly maintain your sealed patio by cleaning it with mild soap and water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could damage the sealed surface. Reapply sealer as necessary to maintain its protective properties.

Curing and sealing your cement patio plays a vital role in enhancing its durability and preserving its appearance. By following these steps, you can ensure that your patio remains beautiful and functional for years to come.


Congratulations! You have successfully completed the process of building a cement patio. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you have created a functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor space that will be enjoyed for years to come. Let’s recap what we have covered:

In the planning and preparation phase, you visualized your patio design, measured the area, checked for permits, gathered the necessary tools and materials, and set a budget. This laid the foundation for a successful project.

Next, you prepared the site by cleaning the area, marking the boundaries, excavating the space, installing edging and a weed barrier, and adding a gravel base. These steps ensured a stable and well-prepared surface for your patio.

Following that, you laid the foundation by mixing and pouring the cement mixture, filling the forms, leveling the surface, and adding control joints. This created a solid and even foundation for your patio.

After that, you installed the forms, ensuring that they were level and secured in place. This defined the shape and boundaries of your patio, providing a clean and professional finish.

The next step involved pouring the cement, distributing it evenly, and smoothing the surface. This brought your patio to life, giving it a strong and polished appearance.

Once the surface was set, you focused on smoothing and finishing it. You utilized tools such as trowels, floats, and stamping techniques to achieve the desired texture and decorative elements.

Finally, you ensured the durability and protection of your patio by allowing it to cure, sealing the surface, and implementing regular maintenance practices. This will help maintain the longevity and beauty of your outdoor space.

Building a cement patio is a rewarding project that adds value to your home and provides a versatile space for outdoor activities. With proper planning, preparation, and execution, you can create a stunning patio that reflects your personal style and enhances your outdoor living experience.

So go ahead and enjoy your new cement patio! Whether you’re hosting gatherings, relaxing with a book, or simply enjoying the fresh air, your patio will be a wonderful addition to your outdoor oasis.

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Build A Cement Patio

What are the best materials for outdoor furniture?

The best materials for outdoor furniture are typically weather-resistant and durable. Some popular options include teak, cedar, aluminum, and all-weather wicker. These materials can withstand the elements and require minimal maintenance.
How can I protect my outdoor furniture from the weather?

To protect your outdoor furniture from the weather, you can use furniture covers when it’s not in use, or store it in a shed or garage during the off-season. Applying a sealant or protective coating can also help extend the lifespan of your outdoor furniture.
What are some creative ways to decorate a cement patio?

There are many creative ways to decorate a cement patio! You can add outdoor rugs, colorful throw pillows, potted plants, string lights, and even an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. These elements can add warmth and personality to your outdoor space.
How can I maintain my cement patio?

To maintain your cement patio, regularly sweep away debris and hose it down to remove dirt and stains. You can also use a mild detergent and a scrub brush to clean tough stains. Applying a concrete sealer every few years can help protect the surface from moisture and UV damage.
What are some tips for arranging outdoor furniture on a patio?

When arranging outdoor furniture on a patio, consider the layout of the space and the flow of foot traffic. Leave enough room for people to move around comfortably, and create designated areas for dining, lounging, and entertaining. You can also use furniture placement to define different zones on your patio.

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