Having a driveway that’s too short or too narrow to take on your parking needs can be incredibly inconvenient, and expanding your driveway may seem like an overwhelming task. As long as you leave it to the professionals, expanding your concrete driveway can be quick and painless. Here are five things to note in order to make this process even more seamless:
1. You will need to research your city’s regulations
Before taking the steps to expand your driveway, you will need to make sure your city will allow it. Be sure to research how wide you can make it, the type of permit you may need, and if you can widen the public-access portion of it. You will also need to look into the regulations that your neighborhood has on driveway sizes, and compare this with the size of your current driveway.
2. Your driveway extension might crack without an expansion joint
Expansion joints need to be watertight in order to stop moisture from permeating underneath concrete pads, making them sink or heave. A concrete expansion joint will let the pads contract and expand as the humidity and temperature outside changes–and we all know how humid it can get in Louisiana! Without the ability to expand and contract, your concrete can crack without warning.
3. You will need more concrete than you think, including reinforcement
Rebar is short for “reinforcing bar”. It is made of steel and is necessary to stop your concrete from cracking. The correct way to use this type of reinforcement is to lay it directly in the center, or slightly above the center of the slab’s thickness. In order to do this, concrete professionals need “chairs”, which are plastic supports or special metal that props up the rebar grids. These grids are built by evenly spacing the bar pieces in a perpendicular pattern and tying them together with metal wire at each intersection.
4. The cheapest option isn’t always the best one
It is critical that you hire a reliable concrete contractor for your driveway expansion project to ensure that your expansion matches the rest of the driveway. Once you’ve conjured up a list of contractor candidates, start requesting quotes. Although a cheap estimate may sound good to your wallet, the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best one. If one of your quotes turns out to be considerably lower than the rest, this is actually a major red flag. It could mean that the company is using inferior materials, or cutting corners that shouldn’t be cut. This can greatly affect the longevity of your concrete. You’ll spend more money fixing their errors than you would have saved by choosing them in the first place.
One concern that most people have regarding their driveway expansion is the color difference between the old concrete and the new concrete. Because of this, some people choose to completely redo their driveway and use a new material altogether, like brick pavers.
We do not recommend brick pavers for a few different reasons. They’re harder to install, they can loosen over time, and they’re not as easy to clean. However, the biggest reason of all is the cost. By many accounts, pavers often cost nearly twice as much as concrete.
5. Take note of any obstacles in the way of expansion
When deciding which direction you want to expand your driveway, make sure to consider any obstacles or elements in the path of expansion. Clearing out things like bushes, tree roots, and retaining walls can add time, expense, and extra labor to the project—so make sure you’re prepared for this before starting the project.
Attempting to expand your driveway by yourself can be a very daunting task. Contact one of Port Aggregates’ professional concrete contractors across Louisiana today for help expanding your driveway!