Pouring Concrete for a Shade Structure Pole

Next: Setting the Pole 

There are a variety of ways to pour concrete. Most of them are dictated by how you mix or buy it. Concrete can be purchased in bags from your local home improvement store, or in truck quantities from a concrete mix company. When a structure is engineered, the concrete is usually at least 2500 psi. Differing aggregate sizes, additives and mixes can all affect the strength of your footing as well. Consult an engineer and/or a concrete mix company for specific information regarding these. For the quantity of concrete needed, measure the size of your hole, and use one of the many concrete calculators online to calculate how many bags or yards you will need.
  • Mixing bags in a wheelbarrow is the most labor-intensive way to mix concrete. However, since most people have a wheelbarrow, it is often one of the most utilized as well. Since you will be mixing many bags to fill each hole, the biggest trick with this method is to just keep moving. Concrete can cure pretty fast, especially when it is warmer outside. When pouring concrete out of a wheelbarrow into your footing hole, just be careful not to pour onto the template. It is also helpful to have another set of hands keeping the cage in position as the pouring can often cause it to shift.
  • Using a concrete mixer to mix your bags of concrete is certainly faster than using a wheelbarrow. You can rent them from your local home improvement store and they typically mix about three bags at a time. Once mixed, you pour the concrete into a wheelbarrow and follow the same steps as above.
  • If your footings are large enough, buying from a concrete mix company is always the fastest way to get mixed concrete. You can dispense the concrete straight off the truck using the chute, use wheelbarrows, or employ a concrete grout pump company to assist.
Special Notes: Regardless of the method you choose to purchase, mix and fill your footing hole with concrete, you must be careful of the anchor bolt cluster and rebar cage. Take special care not to get concrete on the anchor bolt template and make sure the cage does not shift during the pour. Keep a torpedo level on hand to check the baseplate template periodically; adjusting the cage before the hole is completely full is much easier than after. It is also helpful to have a plastic play pool available onsite. Whether you mix in a wheelbarrow, mixer or order concrete by the truck, you will likely have extra. Pouring the extra in a cheap plastic play pool is a good place to put it until it dries and you can dispose of it.