Concrete is an excellent material for driveways, and all for good reasons. They are easy to work with and maintain and are very strong, making them a good choice for paving large areas. However, building a concrete driveway is labor-intensive, costly, and difficult. Still, it can be rewarding to build one yourself.
Although hiring professional concrete contractors to get the job done for you is quicker, saves you the stress, and mitigates the risks of inappropriate curing of concrete. We have compiled a step-by-step guide to help you if you aren’t afraid to take on the task of building an attractive driveway yourself. Let’s begin!
Make A Plan
Planning to build your driveway should begin with figuring out if you need a permit to build one. Different states have different policies, and concrete contractors in each state are well familiar with these policies because that’s what they do. However, if you are building your concrete driveway by yourself, you have to get familiar with these policies and figure out if you need to get a permit.
Prepare To Build
Next, you will need to plan and sketch out your driveway’s size, shape, and route. You can do this considering the dimensions you have in mind. Afterward, you will need to determine how much concrete you need and calculate the amount you will be spending.
Usually, to calculate the amount of concrete you need, you will need to multiply the length of your driveway by the width and by 0.35. Then, divide the result by 27 to get the amount needed in the cubic yard, which is how concrete is sold. It would be best if you considered purchasing extras for spills and errors.
Lay Out Stakes On The Perimeter Of Your Driveway
The first step to technically begin building your driveway is to lay out stakes on the perimeter of your planned driveway. You can use wooden or metal stakes but be sure that the final look matches the length and width of your planned driveway to help you visualize what you plan to do.
Install Wooden Forms
You should install sturdy wooden planks to create temporary housing for the driveway. Usually, these stakes are driven into the soil with a sledgehammer and are responsible for keeping the concrete in place when you begin to pour. Next, affix these forms to ensure they are straight and aligned.
You can use a screw and power drill for this purpose. It will make it easier to disassemble the form when you are done. Finally, for curving driveways, it is important to use a material that is strong enough to support the weight of the concrete but flexible enough to bend, such as plywood.
Fill And Compact
A solid foundation is vital to building durable concrete, so if your sub-base is unsuitable, you can dig out the top layer and then fill it with hardcore. It stabilizes the ground before you pour your concrete; thus, the layer must be about five inches deep to create a solid base. Next, compact the hardcore with a plate compactor which you can rent if you don’t own one.
Reinforce The Concrete
Reinforcing your concrete is unnecessary, but it is recommended to strengthen the driveway. To do this, install reinforcing steel bars tied in place. You could also purchase welded concrete wire mesh in stores for this purpose. This will not only highly increase the strength of your driveway, but it will also support your concrete and help distribute the load evenly.
Pour The Concrete
Finally, it is time to pour the concrete. You can use a wheelbarrow or a bigger concrete pump, depending on your driveway. You must pour concrete quickly, so if you cannot get the concrete truck to pour it directly into your forms, you should consider hiring a concrete pump or a mechanical engine-powered wheelbarrow. Also, ensure that the concrete is poured in even loads and distributed evenly.
Flatten The Surface
You need to flatten the surface of your concrete driveway after pouring. This is to ensure that there is a smooth and consistent surface. Utilize the use of a screed or a hand trowel, and starting from one end of the driveway, move it to and fro steadily to remove excess. The excess concrete could be used to fill out shallow areas. Afterward, you can use a concrete float to smoothen the flattened surface.
Put In Contraction Joint
The contraction joint helps control expansion and contraction, which can result in cracking as concrete dries. So, using a groove cutter, add about a 1-inch deep cut in the concrete and ensure the contraction joint is evenly spaced. If you let the concrete dry too much before adding in the contraction joint, you will need a specialized saw to add them in.
Create A Textured Finish
It is important to add texture to your smooth driveway to aid traction for your vehicle. Fortunately, doing that isn’t difficult; you can leave the complex designs for the professionals and use a broom or sack to amplify the driveway’s traction. Drag a broom or sack across your driveway evenly until you have done so for the entire driveway. Stick to a direction and ensure that you do this while the concrete is damp enough to accept the texture.
Cure The Driveway
Your concrete driveway needs to be cured before you can drive on it. This is done by creating a moisture-retaining barrier on the surface to prevent it from drying out too quickly. For example, the driveway could be cured for around eight days after the concrete has been laid by a regular sprinkling of water, applying a chemical curing compound, or laying down a layer of plastic sheeting. You can remove the wooden stake when it’s adequately cured.
Remember that adequate preparation results in an efficient result. Thus, taking your preparation stage importantly is vital to get the desired results. However, if the process seems too tiring and strenuous, don’t hesitate to contact a reliable concrete contractor. If you have more questions contact concrete contractors Odessa TX.