How A Contractor Installs A New Concrete Driveway And Why It's Best Left To Pros


Installing a concrete driveway is more difficult than it looks. While you might be able to mix your own cement and make a DIY sidewalk or walkway on your property, a driveway is a different matter since it must be able to bear the weight of heavy vehicles. Two important aspects come into play. One is the base under the concrete and the other is the cement mixture itself. Here is some more information about how a concrete driveway is installed.

It Starts With A Plan

When you hire a contractor to put in a new driveway, the first thing he or she will do is develop a plan. Some things that are calculated are the slope of the drive to ensure proper drainage, the location of the joints, the cement mixture ratio, and the finishing steps of curing and roughing the surface. During this phase, you should let the contractor know where you want the driveway located, it's shape if you want a circular drive, and any embellishments such as color or stamping.

The Soil Is Prepped

Your driveway is only as strong as the base underneath it. A well-compacted base helps keep your driveway from cracking, sinking, and heaving. The contractor may need to build up the base with gravel depending on the type of soil on your property. Then the area is compacted using heavy machinery so the soil will support the weight of concrete and vehicles without shifting. This is an important phase of driveway construction, and one reason DIY efforts aren't recommended. The base should last for the lifetime of the concrete because if it doesn't, you'll face costly repairs.

The Cement Is Prepared And Poured

The next step is adding the cement mixture over the compacted base. The contractor will make the mix as suitable for your climate with the proper ratio of air and water. Some cement is more expensive than others. Talk to your contractor about the differences between basic and premium cement qualities. It's probably best to go with good cement so your driveway will last a long time without the need for repairs from cracking. Another critical factor is the degree of stiffness of the cement at the time it is poured. If it is too wet, it may not cure properly.

Your contractor may add steel rebar or mesh reinforcement to the concrete also that will help prevent any future cracks from spreading. Once the concrete is in place, joints are added that allow for expansion without cracking. Finally, the surface of the driveway is treated so it isn't so slick. This can be done by stamping designs onto the surface or simply going over it with a brush to make light ridges. Then, the driveway is left to cure. Your contractor will let you know when you can drive on the surface, but you should expect to wait several days.

Installing a new concrete driveway takes skill. Mistakes can be costly when a driveway fails due to the wrong ratio of the mix or doing a poor job compacting the soil. That's why you want to let an experienced professional like GatlinByrd Cement handle the job.


6 April 2017

Finishing Our Property

When I first moved into our house, I realized that the place needed a little bit of work. In addition to missing part of the back lawn, there was also an empty RV pad and a missing patio. I thought about what to do, and I realized that the best thing might be to hire a concrete contractor to make things right. After we got settled, we started pricing services. We were able to find an incredible contractor that we knew would do a good job. After he poured the pads, it was amazing to see how much better things looked. Read my blog for ideas on how to finish your property, so that you aren't left looking at an eyesore.