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How to Build a Concrete Pad

Concrete pads make great landings for deck stairs, or in front of doorways. Follow these simple steps to build the perfect concrete pad landing for your space.


A typical pad has a 4-inch layer of gravel underneath and about 4 inches of concrete on top. When building a landing for deck stairs, typical codes require the pad to extend beyond the steps about 36 inches, behind the steps about 12 inches and on the sides of the steps about 6 inches.

Always follow building codes when installing.

Good to Know

Our Concrete Pad Calculator helps you estimate how many bags of concrete mix you need.

Step 1

Wood frame for concrete pad.

Use 2 x 4 lumber to build a wood frame the desired size and set it in place to mark the area. Drive stakes into the ground to mark the outside corners of the frame.

Step 2

Dig out the area for the concrete pad.

Remove the frame — leaving the stakes in place — and dig down at least four inches.

Good to Know

Before beginning any excavation, call 811 to check for underground utilities.

Step 3

Tamp the gravel base for the pad.

Add the gravel and compact it with a hand tamper. Repeat the process until you have a 4-inch bed of gravel.

Step 4

Mix concrete for the pad.

Mix concrete following the package instructions. For general steps, see Mix Concrete by Hand.

Step 5

Set the frame back in place.

Set the frame back in place. If you’re building a deck landing, have it slightly slope away from the deck. Wet the frame and gravel.

Step 6

Pour the concrete into the frame.

Pour the mixed concrete into the frame on top of the gravel.

Step 7

Screed the concrete.

Screed the concrete by drawing a straight 2 x 4 across the surface.

Step 8

Draw a stiff broom across the surface.

When the concrete has lost its sheen, smooth over it with a float, then make a non-slip surface with a stiff broom.

Step 9

Apply cure and seal to the concrete.

Finish the edges with a concrete edger and spray the pad with a cure and seal product. Allow the concrete to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions and remove the frame.