Concrete advice


I would like to put a concrete path around the perimeter of our house, its rendered crepe and is constructed of poured concrete on 3 elevations and the usual South Western red brick on the 4th.

It will be for walking on in the main and the odd ride on lawn mower bump up. I also have a small area of around 15 m2 for the garage entrance.

Will I need scalpings or the like, followed by mesh and then the concrete, 100mm or so? Or is that too much?

I am also worried about the gap between the house and the concrete finish, and given the path will be around 1.2m width, all around the house, will I need expansion joints?

Kind regards as usual.

Hi Tony

We mixed our own too due to prohibitive cost of readymix here. We made our courtyard into a car park of 150m2 and it was on clay and the concrete is still going strong after 5 years. It works well as long as you mix it well and use the right ratio of materials and put the expansion joints in. However mixing it yourself is not normally quite as strong as from a cement lorry so you pays your money and you takes your choice......

Happy to help further, if we can........

I would suggest Tony that the lack of youtube videos is because of what I said earlier. IE. it depends so much on local conditions that it is impossible to specify generically....if that is the right word? ;o))

I'm sure if you approach it in the right manner a local builder would not mind at has never bothered me....put it that way

Tony, while the advice Kate gave sounds very good thus far. An awful lot depends on the site conditions and the available materials etc.

For example, you may be in a clay area and this would significantly change the advice you need..I'm not trying to be awkward, honestly, but there are so many factors to be considered when selecting appropriate specifications. Most of which are rule of thumb to the experienced builder. Another good example is....that, "melange", which what they call a sand/aggregate mix here is normally sand rich because it is the cheaper material presumably. But that probably varies enormously from where it comes from. I haven't been here long enough to find out tbh. But when it comes to specifying concrete there are lots to think about. Just ask Kate's architect who by all accounts is an "engineer de beton", as noted from a previous's an incredibly complicated business.

The best person to ask is the builders merchant you buy the stuff from...or indeed a local builder who knows not only the materials available to you but your individual site conditions. Yes, it may cost you a pint but I would suggest it is worth it...

Just giving my two penneth worth....bon courage!!

Hi Tony,

We just used a good 10cm of hardcore for pathway and 15cm for driveway. It was just old bricks and tiles we smashed up and spread it evenly and stamped down well - no compactor or anything. Expansion joints you can buy at builder's merchants, brico depot etc. like this:

They also exist in a bigger height too so what you pick will depend on depth of concrete you're using. Wouldn't recommend using wood because that will expand and contract and rot. You can use them to create a perimeter for your sections of concrete (set them in concrete and at height & level required using dobs of concrete and let this go off nice and hard and sturdy). Then you put in your trellis (jack it up about halfway inside proposed slab depth with a bit of hardcore). Then use the joints to level from - you can buy big metal bars to do this - they are light and cheap! Here are some at various sizes.

To finish the surface we just worked the surface as we levelled with the metal. Fill in divots and remove high spots and tamper to give a good smooth, sealed finish as you go. Take your time. Sometimes helps if there are two of you, each working at one end of the metal.

Hope this helps - any more questions don't hesitate!


Never ceases to amaze me how many gals here know about building stuff! My wife just says "I dunno, you figure it out, I'm going out for a ride on on my horse " Trouble is, she doesn't seem to know much about housework either :-)

Hello - we put a good hardcore base in and put in metal trellis reinforcement and put in expansion joints every 3 m (these can be then used for levelling too). We then poured in 150mm depth of concrete for where we are driving over it and maybe less (say 100mm) for the paths. Worth adding waterproofer/hardener too if you're mixing it yourself because it won't go off so hard as readymix from a lorry and so the surface may break up more quickly if it gets wet and freezes.