– Getting Started & Next Steps
How to Install a Concrete Driveway
A concrete driveway makes a home look good and is a great way to add a bit of value to a property. However, it is important to follow a few basic specifications during the installation and curing phases of a new driveway to avoid problems in the future. These include the right amount of concrete, the right mix of aggregate, and the correct jointing methods. In addition, a properly installed and cured concrete driveway will save you money in the long run.
Choosing a high-performance concrete is the best bet for a driveway that sees a lot of traffic or is exposed to chemicals. This type of concrete is more expensive than regular concrete mixes, but the benefits are worth it. It is also more resistant to wear and tear, and can last for years.
The process of creating a good concrete driveway starts with a well-thought out design and a solid plan. You will want to make sure your driveway is sloped toward the street, sloping away from other structures on your property. Also, it’s a good idea to install a drain or drains near the lowest point of your driveway. Ideally, you will want to pour your concrete about a quarter of an inch below the ground level. Adding another inch of concrete will increase its structural strength by up to 50%.
For example, using rebar in your concrete driveway is a wise move. Rebar increases the strength of your slab and helps spread the weight of your vehicles. If you are not sure if your property has sufficient reinforcement, call your local municipality office.
Another great thing about concrete is that it can be recycled when it reaches the end of its lifespan. It is made from naturally occurring minerals, and is capable of being recycled and reused. During the installation and curing stages, it goes through a series of chemical processes to become a durable surface. After it dries, you should leave it alone for at least seven days before driving on it. Alternatively, you can install a liquid curing compound.
Another oh-so-important step is to prepare your soil. You should remove any excess dirt and backfill with road base. Depending on the weather, the curing process may take a little longer. Using a specialized saw to cut out contraction joints can help.
Other steps include smoothing the surface with a wood float or a magnesium hand float. Floating the concrete will help keep it from bleeding. Although not absolutely necessary, the use of a broom finish on the top of your concrete driveway will help prevent slickness, and may enhance its traction.
Lastly, you should lay down a moisture retaining barrier. This will help prevent your new driveway from cracking and deteriorating. Moisture retaining barriers come in a variety of forms, including special plastic sheeting.
As with all things, it’s important to take your time and do the proper preparation. This is especially true when it comes to the most complicated job, a concrete driveway.