Your driveway is the first thing people see when visiting your home. In terms of driveways, concrete stands out from the rest. It is durable, easy to maintain, and highly customizable. Building one can be a long, daunting process. Curious about what’s involved in a paved driveway project?
In this post, we’ll run down the steps during a concrete driveway installation. This guide will help you understand what to expect when you hire a professional concrete contractor in your area.
Planning the Concrete Driveway Project
This step always gets overlooked by many people. In fact, planning will set up your project for success. When there’s a project as big as a concrete driveway, you should develop a construction plan. Identify your goals, budget, and schedule for work.
What kind of neighborhood do you live in? Are there rules regarding the width of the driveway? How much are you willing to spend on the paving? These are some of the questions you need to assess.
With the help of a contractor, you may plan your driveway’s size and shape. Cost estimation and budgeting are also part of the planning step. Roughly calculate the cost of materials, installation labor, and equipment fees. Doing so will help you manage your resources.
Removing the Existing Driveway
If you’re tackling a driveway overhaul, the old driveway should be disposed of. The existing paved space will be broken into pieces and pulled up using an excavator. After this, the ground must be excavated. Digging the ground allows you to make space for the rebar, subbase, and the concrete itself. Once the old driveway is dug, compact the soil using a plate compactor.
Preparing the Site
To ensure good formwork, lay out the shape of your concrete driveway with stakes. What you need to do is drive in four wooden stakes at the corners. These wooden stakes will help maintain the desired shape and resist cracks.
For base construction, place at least 6 inches of gravel or stone as a subbase. A sufficient layer of subbase will provide a solid foundation for the concrete driveway. The amount of subbase you choose will depend on your concrete slab. The thicker the subbase, the more weight your concrete driveway can bear. A well-installed subbase will help avoid cracks and dips in the surface.
Steel reinforcement like rebar or wire mesh can maintain its integrity. These reinforcements will hold the concrete together and provide structural capacity.
Pouring the Concrete
The most crucial step of driveway installation is the pouring of concrete. The concrete mixture should be 4 inches thick at a minimum. Start placing the concrete in one corner, then spread it using a shovel or hoe.
During this process, the concrete must be poured up against the form. Make sure that it is compact enough—but don’t overwork the concrete. Overworking or overmixing will grind the aggregate into smaller pieces.
Use a hand trowel to spread the concrete evenly and look for spots that are pooling or sloping. Level the concrete surface as desired.
Curing and Finishing
The final stage of driveway installation is curing. Keep the surface wet, then cover it with a burlap or plastic sheeting. As an alternative, you may apply a curing compound to the finished concrete. This product will keep the surface moist and develop its maximum strength.
Let the concrete fully harden for at least three days to one week. This duration varies depending on the location and weather conditions. If you skip the curing process, the concrete surface might suffer from internal moisture loss. Its durability and design strength might not be attained. When you have an uncured slab, it will likely develop fine surface cracks.
After a week, you may now remove the stakes and form boards. Do not walk or park your vehicle on the driveway until it has been fully cured. In general, full hardening of the driveway will take 30 days or more.
Get in Touch With Our Concrete Experts
Whether you want to repair an old driveway or install a new one, Midstate Concrete got your back! We offer a full package of concrete services in Harrisburg, PA. Our contractors are committed to tailoring our solutions to meet your specifications.
From driveway sealing to concrete patio paving, you can expect nothing but the best. Call us today to schedule a free consultation!