Concrete is a great construction material. During installation, it is soft and fluid, which makes it easy to create the desired forms and achieve a variety of surface textures. When completely cured, it is hard, strong, and resistant to weight and impact. A well-laid concrete driveway will give you around 20 – 30 years of trouble-free service, though it should last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
The average homeowner will not normally be able to install a concrete driveway without professional assistance. So, it is strongly recommended that a qualified concrete contracting company be engaged to ensure a satisfactory job. Here are some of the steps involved when pouring a quality driveway.
- Determining the required thickness
The thickness of a standard driveway should be at least 7 inches, though it should be more depending on the type of vehicle that will be assessing it. For instance, the minimum thickness for cars and pickups is 4inches, 5inches for light trucks, and 6inches for occasional heavier trucks.
Some preparation is necessary to ensure that the ground below the driveway is firm and stable, to prevent it from settling unevenly at a later stage. Typical activities include removing vegetable matter and roots, as well as the topsoil; filling up soft areas and tamping down to make the surface level; creating a slope similar to that of the driveway; and setting the steel/timber formwork.
- Mixing and placing the concrete
Clean wheelbarrows and drums of different sizes are used for measuring sand and stone in the concrete mixture. The measured concrete ingredients are then mixed on a clean, hard, smooth surface, like a concrete floor or steel sheet – starting with sand and cement, before adding water, and then stone. When filling multiple panels, joints are formed before the concrete hardens.
- Protection and Concrete
Ideally, concrete should be placed, compacted, and finished at once. But if the work is not completed, the concrete is covered with a plastic sheet until the finishing work is done. Damp-curing is important to prevent the concrete from drying out, and to allow it to reach maximum strength. Curing should continue for 10 days in warm weather, and 14 days in cold weather.
Once the concrete driveway is complete, it can be used by pedestrians after only 24 hours. However, you will have to wait 5 days to drive your car over the concrete, and 10 days for other heavy vehicles.
After 30 days, your new concrete driveway will have developed most of its strength and hardness, though you should still avoid allowing the garbage trucks, moving vans, or other heavy trucks on your residential driveway, unless it was designed with that kind of weight in consideration. You may also consider applying concrete sealant at this time.
For trusted concrete driveway Raleigh services, check out Ocmulgee Concrete today.