If you’re about to embark on a concrete driveway project, it’s likely you have plenty of questions that need answering. If you’ve never poured concrete or hired a concrete contractor, you may not even know what questions to ask as you prepare to start your project.
Whether you’re planning a DIY project or hiring a professional, we’re here to answer your concrete driveway FAQs.
How much do driveways cost?
The first of our concrete driveway FAQs is, of course, how much do they cost? Homewyse offers this cost calculator, which allows you to predict the cost of your driveway project based on ZIP Code and square feet. If you need help calculating how much concrete you need, we offer this concrete calculator as well.
What kind of preparation is required before pouring concrete?
Base installation – Unless the soil of your project is made of certain types of sand or gravel you will need to pour a foundational pad as a base before pouring the actual driveway itself.
Grading the driveway – Properly grading the driveway at 1-1.5” per 10’ of length allows for drainage of water, which will prolong the life of your driveway. You can incorporate drains and pipes into the driveway to further aid in water diversion away from structures or towards drainage ditches, if necessary.
Framing the driveway – A wooden frame for each part of the driveway, including the laying out of planned joints for expansion and contraction, will be necessary before pouring the concrete.
Reinforcing concrete – If you intend to drive heavy machinery or large trucks onto the concrete pad, consider laying out a grid of steel rebar to reinforce the concrete to prevent cracking and decomposition.
How thick should the driveway be?
Concrete thickness varies based on the soil beneath the driveway. The thickness itself may range from 4”-6”. If the installation of a base as a foundation is required, a separate initial pour of 3”-6” may be laid.
An experienced concrete contractor will be able to assess the soil composition and recommend an appropriate thickness.
If you’re planning a DIY concrete driveway, however, you may be able to seek advice from a local home improvement store or pay a professional to advise you during the planning stages.
How do I select the right concrete mixture and how much will I need?
Estimating the amount of concrete you will need for a driveway isn’t just something you can determine by visiting your local home improvement store. You run the risk of getting incomplete or, worse, inaccurate information from whoever happens to be scheduled in that department at the time.
Making sure you get the right quantity and quality of ready mix for your driveway is a job for professionals, which is where Port Aggregates comes in. Our experienced sales staff can help you configure exactly the right amount and composition to meet your needs.
Plus, our mixes have to meet the highest industry standards to ensure lasting durability under the harshest conditions — something sacks of concrete purchased from the home improvement store can’t guarantee.
How long before I can drive on new concrete?
One week is the minimum amount of time to allow for a new concrete driveway to cure. However, it’s best if newly-poured concrete is given two to three weeks.
How can the longevity of driveways be increased?
When pouring the concrete, plan to include several joints to allow for expansion and contraction throughout various seasons of the year.
Allowing the concrete to cure properly for several weeks before using it helps to reduce the risk of cracking. Sealing the concrete after it has cured and then resealing it every three to five years can also reduce surface deterioration.
How can cracks be repaired should they appear?
The last of our concrete driveway FAQs involves repairing damage. You should patch minor cracks as soon as they appear. The surface should be cleaned, filled, cured and then sealed. Concrete caulking products do well with smaller cracks. Apply freshly mixed concrete with a trowel for larger ones.
For more severe or structural cracks, get a certified and licensed engineer to survey the concrete and make recommendations as to next steps for concrete repair.