Concrete driveways add curb appeal to a home and increase the value. Pouring a concrete driveway is a lot of work, but can be done. Concrete when poured and cured properly will last for many, many years because as it sets it become a permanent structure. Concrete driveways offer the homeowners a sturdy and stable area to park their cars or trucks and give children a place to play basketball or ride bikes. Concrete driveways provide a clean look to as opposed to gravel driveways or blacktop. Homeowners can choose to add color or patterns to their concrete to add a bit of personalization to the property.
Concrete driveways are easy to care for and maintain as long as you keep some basic rules in mind such as never using salt to melt ice on concrete because the salt will eat away at it and degrade its durability. Never drop anything very heavy on concrete such as a roll off dumpster because it will crack unless it was poured with that use in mind.
Preparing for a Concrete Driveway
Measure out the size of the driveway you want and place stakes in the ground to mark it.
Ties string from stake to stake to create an outline of the proposed driveway.
Dig out the entire staked area 8 inches deep with a shovel.
Level the bed of the driveway to take out big valleys or hills with a rake.
Lightly wet the dirt and then use a tamper to flatten and compact the soil. You can use a hand tamper or f you are comfortable using large power tools, you can rent a vibrating plate compactor. The tighter you are able to pack the base the more stable it will be.
Laying Concrete Forms
Place 2 by 6 foot pieces of lumber standing on the long edges around the excavation directly up against the dirt sides of the hole. These will act as it forms.
Place 1 by 2 pieces of lumber every six square feet to act as expansion joints. Expansion joints are necessary in any concrete slab over six feet to allow for natural ground movement or to endure freeze thaw patterns and keep it from cracking later.
Preparing the Bed For Concrete
Add 3 inches of crushed stone to the bed of the hole and sweep a 2 by 4 piece of lumber across the stone to level it out.
Lay down re-enforcing wire over the top of the crushed stone. Re-enforcing wire does exactly what the name indicates, it will re-enforce the strength of it.
Call a concrete company to have it delivered. When ordering concrete for a driveway it should have a minimum of 3500 psi for strength, 4000 psi is better. PSI stands for pounds per square inch that it will bear in terms of weight. When you call for a pour, you can also request it be colored or dyed rather than having a plain gray driveway.
Wet the stone with plain water when the cement truck pulls up.
Begin it pour in a corner of the driveway, making sure the wire does not move.
Once all of it has been poured, use a bull float to make the surface level, going back and forth over the surface to make it even. A bull float is like a big trowel at the end of a long pole.
Once it begins to harden, use a trowel to cut concrete away from the wood forms.
Spray curing compound over it driveway and allow it to dry.
Allow it to set for at least one week before driving on it.