There are many reasons why homeowners choose concrete for making their driveways. Concrete is low maintenance and quite durable. When made properly, concrete driveways could have quality appearance. There are a variety of texture, patterns and colors that you can use. However, regardless of visual enhancement that you use, it will be useless if the driveway is stained or cracked. You need to pour the concrete correctly, so you can have problem-free driveway. When installing concrete, you need to compress or squeeze it. This will make the concrete to become sufficiently dense and durable. You also need to compact the soil, because pouring concrete over uncompacted or soft soil, could cause it to crack or bend.
This is crucial because you will drive your car over the driveway, so you need to make sure that the driveway can withstand the abuse. You should also install control joints in the concrete slabs. This will encourage cracks only at specific location and prevent them from spreading to other parts. These joints should also allow concrete to contract or expand properly, so cracks can be prevented as well. This is especially true there’s wide temperature swing in your area. Without proper installation of joints, repeated contraction or expansion could cause the slab to crack. Control joints should be around one-fourth the thickness of the driveway slab and you also need to properly space them, at around 15 feet apart. For driveways, thicker concrete is better and adding one or two inches of extra thickness won’t be too expensive, because the material is relatively affordable.
It’s also a good idea to use reinforcing steel, especially because steel is also cheap. Unlike concrete, steel is much more flexible and can bend very well. If the driveway is just a big slab of concrete, it could crack quite much more easily. The bending force can be transferred to the steel frame, making the driveway more durable for long term usages. If you want the driveway to become more durable, make sure that it has higher strength rating. A normal concrete could have 4000 psi of strength rating. It’s a good thing if the strength rating of your driveway can be increased to around 5000 psi. You can do this by adding more cement and using fewer aggregates. Making your driveway stronger should be a worthy investment and you can add 25 years to the life of driveway, before you need to rebuild the driveway.
Often, lawns are located next to the lawn and you should make sure that grass won’t grow through the driveway. Plants are persistent and they can slowly weaken concrete, until it crumbles. A good way to prevent this from happening is by removing soil within 3 inches of the driveway. When you do this, water will drain from the lawn better during a rainy day. Flowering plants, bushes and trees could also slowly damage driveways, so make sure that they are not too close. Avoid having trees within 10 feet of the driveway, especially if these trees are big. If possible, avoid having heavy truck driven over your driveway. Salt can cause cracks, crumbling and scaling. So, if your house is near the sea, you should wash the driveway occasionally to remove salt deposits.