There is no doubt that skateboarding is a popular and growing sport. However, it can be tough to find a good place to skate unless you live in a major city. That’s where building your concrete skate bowl comes in! This article will show you how to build a concrete skate bowl using essential tools and supplies. Let’s get started!
Building a concrete skate bowl is not as hard as you may think. All you need are the right tools and supplies, an idea of what type of bowl to build, a place to make it, and the commitment to do so. Building a concrete skate bowl does not take an expert in construction to follow simple instructions.
Tools and Materials
- Bull float
- Notched trowel
- Concrete edger
- Circular saw with concrete blade/chop saw
- Hand tamper or plate compactor
A Step by Step Guide on How to Build a Concrete Skate Bowl
Step 1: Determine How You Want to Shape Your Skate Bowl
There are a few ways that you can shape your skate bowl. One way is to use a string and find the radius where you want it to be. You can also do this by hand, eyeballing it and trying to make the radius as perfect as possible. The second option is doing what we did in this tutorial, called wet molding, which involves filling water balloons with plaster and dropping them in the desired location of the skate bowl and then laying down cardboard or plastic sheeting on top of that area, letting it dry.
This will give you a replica of the skate bowl once it has dried up and all you have to do is scrape off the excess material.
Step 2: Measure How Deep Your Bowl Needs to Be
Once you have the general shape of your concrete skate bowl, you need to measure how deep it should be. You want it big enough to ride but remember that once it’s filled with water or sand, it will weigh around 4 tons so make sure whatever support system you are using can handle the weight. We used railroad ties for ours because they are made out of pressure-treated wood, which is very sturdy and won’t rot due to being wet all the time.
Step 3: Dig Out an Area for Your Skate Bowl
Now that you have determined the dimensions of your skate bowl, go ahead and dig out an area where it will sit. Remember that it will tend to settle once you pour the concrete in, so leave yourself at least an extra foot around the entire area. We used a shovel, but that would be the best way to go if you have something like an excavator or bobcat. Take your time and make sure it’s dug out to the correct depth. You will want it just deep enough, so it doesn’t get spray-painted with graffiti on top of it.
Step 4: Add Drainage
It’s essential to add drainage underneath your skate bowl. The last thing you want is for it to fill up with water and become a public safety hazard or have someone fall into the concrete and get injured. You can use a plastic drain pipe that comes in sections 24 inches long and then just cut them to size as needed. Attach pieces of PVC pipe at each end, so all you have to do is remove the one section when it’s time to refill your bowl after a season or two.
Step 5: Lay Drainage Stone
Once you have the drainage pipe in place, it’s time to start laying down the drainage stone. Start with around 2 inches of sand on top of your drainage pipe and then lay down a layer of 1-inch rock followed by another layer of sand. Continue this process until you are about an inch or two away from the level where your bowl will be poured.
Step 6: Level the Ground
Use either gravel or sand to even everything out, so it’s perfectly flat. You can use plain old dirt, but it won’t give you as good results since loose soil doesn’t pack together very well. If you already have gravel in your backyard, that is perfect for leveling purposes because all you have to do is spread it out and rake the dirt off of it. If you don’t have gravel, a bag of play sand from your local hardware store will do the trick as well.
Step 7: Add Railroad Ties for Support
Start laying down railroad ties on top of the ground where your skate bowl will be. Make sure that they are nice and level with each other because if one side goes up higher than another, you can create a curve to your concrete skate bowl, which may affect how you ride. Take your time and ensure they are all securely in place so they don’t roll around each time someone jumps off or lands hard on them after doing the trick.
Step 8: Pour Your Concrete Skate Bowl
When you are ready to fill your skate bowl with concrete, you first want to mix up your water and concrete powder. You can use almost anything that will contain this mixture, but we used a plastic swimming pool because it is see-through, so we could monitor how much it settled over time. Start pouring the mixture into the side of the swimming pool closest to where you are standing. It doesn’t take very much for it to settle, especially after all its heavy objects like large rocks or railroad ties have been added to it, which is why there isn’t an exact ratio on how much water and concrete powder to use.
After all of your concrete has been poured into the pool, it’s time to start smoothing it out. You can use a piece of cardboard or wood for this part, but we just used an old plastic shovel because if you press hard enough with it, it will smooth out and level most any material for you.
Step 9: Prepare Your Surface for Skateboarding
At first glance, your new skateboard bowl might look done, but there is still a little bit more work before getting good use out of your creation. The areas where most of the weight goes, such as the sides and where everything touches (railroad ties), need to be surfaced with concrete or other solid material that won’t crumble. You could also use a strong epoxy material to smooth out these surfaces, but we used three coats of XYZ Concrete Bonding Primer spray paint.
After everything has dried, it’s time for the fun part. You can skate your bowl right away, or you would be wise to wait at least seven days before adding any weight to it because it may settle or create weak spots in your concrete skateboard bowl that are hard to see until it’s too late and someone gets hurt.
You Can Check It Out to Commit in Skateboarding
Step 10: Enjoy Your Skate Bowl!
Once you have given your concrete skate bowl at least seven days (more is better) before getting any serious use out of it, you need to make sure there are no weak spots in it. If your concrete skate bowl is very smooth and you can hardly feel any bumps or ridges, there most likely isn’t anything wrong with it, but if you can see small bumps or indentations here and after that, give it a good once over with your hands, its time to throw some weight onto the skateboard bowl.
If there is a weak spot or you can’t tell if it is perfect, place extra weight on it, so it settles. We put 100 pounds of steel ballast inside of our skate bowl and left it until we came back the next day and found that everything was perfectly smooth and even again. These steps will help in how to build a concrete skate bowl.
Tips and Warnings
- If the concrete is not lasting as long as you want, perhaps you are using too much water. Be careful only to use the amount of water needed for mixing.
- Now is the time for fun! Skate safe and have fun doing it.
- Don’t forget to clean up after yourself before you leave. Sweep up all the little pieces and put away your tools. Nobody likes a dirty skatepark or bowl, so make sure to clean up after yourself every single day while you work on this project.
- This project is only limited by your imagination and the number of materials you have available.
- Once anyone starts skateboarding in your bowl, it could be damaged beyond repair unless you take precautions such as adding a coating material to its top before you let anyone skate on it.
We hope you have learned how to build a concrete skate bowl. If you’re looking for a way to spend your summer, creating a skate bowl in the backyard could be just what you need! Don’t let inexperience or lack of tools get in the way – we’ve got all the information and resources you’ll need right here. This is one project that won’t collect dust when done right!
You may also read: How to Roller Skate on Sidewalks