Precast concrete is a surprisingly versatile building material. It’s suitable for a structure’s flooring, walls, panels, and fence installation. Precast concrete blocks make it even easier to build structurally sound walls that are also pleasing to the eye. Best of all, precast concrete blocks are easy to use and install, provided you follow the appropriate steps on how to install them.
So before you start your next project, brush up on the proper method of using precast concrete blocks to build walls. Follow these seven steps on how to install precast concrete that is durable and aesthetically pleasing that will last for years.
1. Plan Your Precast Concrete Wall Project Carefully
Before you lift a single block, you must set a clear project goal. What type of wall are you trying to build? Privacy walls or barriers, for example, don’t have any specific requirements other than providing shielding. But a retaining wall, on the other hand, will require a specific grade or slope.
Builders need to plan ahead so they know how many precast concrete blocks they’ll need, as well as how to properly build the concrete wall for its intended purpose. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact a professional contractor or precast fence installation company.
2. Mark the Area and Level the Ground
Once you’ve planned your project, it’s time to mark off the area where you intend to build. Make sure to avoid septic lines or electrical wiring that may be below the ground’s surface. Even if your wall isn’t going to go down too deep, it may restrict the ability to access these utility lines for maintenance.
Now that your work area is marked off, it’s time to excavate. Dig the area as much as possible, removing rocks and debris. Leveling off the ground is essential at this step, as it will help you build a foundation for your wall. Pack down the dirt once you’re finished to create a stable surface.
3. Start Laying the Base Layer
The packed ground will serve as a foundation for your base materials before using any precast concrete blocks. Consult your manufacturer to determine what base material is ideal for your wall. Then, shovel four to six inches of base material onto the ground where you will eventually build the wall. Make sure to compact it with a tamper until this base layer is level.
Once you’ve laid down your base material, pour sand on the base. Use a screed board and trowel to ensure the sand is perfectly flat.
4. Build Your First Row
Now, it’s time to start building the wall itself. Use a string line to maintain a straight line across the front of your blocks as you work. Likewise, use a level to ensure all your blocks are square.
Consult your manufacturer or fence installation company for recommendations on anchoring the blocks in place. Typically, you’ll pack gravel or other materials around them, though some precast concrete blocks will fit together with pins that must be hammered into place.
5. Keep Building
After you lay your first row, you can continue installing additional rows of precast concrete blocks, offset at the vertical joints. Just like a brick wall, the blocks need to overlap to give the wall stability. This serves double duty because the overlap can also make the final result more aesthetically pleasing.
Remember that it’s okay to go slow during this step. In fact, you should be going slower than you’d expect; this will keep you from making mistakes. After every two levels, pause to backfill the wall with gravel or the material the manufacturer recommended in step 4.
6. Add Capstones
Depending on your wall, you may add capstones once your wall is complete. This largely depends on your preferences and the manufacturer’s recommendations, though some homeowners find that this feature adds another aesthetic element to their precast wall.
To install capstones, simply lay concrete adhesive across the top of the finished wall. Then, you can add the wall’s capstones.
7. Seal as Required
Precast concrete is often protected with an exterior concrete sealer. This can prevent unsightly stains and repel moisture that can cause structural damage to the wall itself. Even after your wall is complete, you may need to perform routine maintenance to retain its integrity and appearance. A fence installation company may be able to offer further guidance.
Get Help with Fence Installation
Fence installation can also be another way to add structural elements to your backyard or business. Contact Fence Installers before your next block wall or concrete panel installation project, and we can discuss options that fit your needs and your budget.