If you have a large slab of concrete that you want to make into a patio, you don't necessarily have to remove it and put in patio stones. Instead, you can use a concrete cutter to score it, and you can create the look of patio stones. Here's five items you need to make this project a success:
1. A concrete saw with changeable depth settings
Whether you are hiring a concrete cutter or buying one, make sure that it has a changeable depth setting. When you are using a concrete cutter to score a slab, you only want it to cut a centimetre or so into the concrete. You don't want it to go all the way through the slab as you would need to if you wanted to remove a chunk of concrete.
2. Measuring tape
Once you have the right saw, you need to decide how you are going to score your slab. Ideally, you should measure it. Then, you should make a plan to subdivide it into even squares. For example, if your slab is 2 metres wide and 1 metre long, you may want to divide it into 200 squares that are each 10 centimetres by 10 centimetres. If you don't measure first, you won't be able to ensure it's even.
3. A laser level
After you have decided on the size of the squares you want to score into your concrete, you need a way to ensure the squares are level. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can use chalk and draw lines along the cement -- if you do this, use a plank to ensure your lines are straight.
Otherwise to reduce the chance of error, you could use a laser level. You simply set the level to one side of the concrete slab, and then, it emits a line. This give you a straight line to cut along with your concrete cutter. As you finish each line, you simply move the laser level to the next spot and repeat the process. In most cases, it's easiest to do all of your vertical lines followed by all of your horizontal lines or vice versa, rather than scoring each square individually.
4. A garden pipe
Once you are done scoring the concrete, you should remove the dust. A simple garden pipe or a pressure washer workers perfectly for this. If you don't want the cement dust to migrate to your grass, consider using a shop vac to pick up the loose dust first. Then, wash the rest away with water.
5. Concrete stain
Cutting your concrete creates a cool look, but if you really want it to look like a patio, you may want to stain it as well. You can buy concrete stain and apply it yourself. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to help you with every step of the project from cutting to staining.