When constructing a new concrete driveway, there are certain standards and procedures that need to be kept in mind and followed to ensure that your new purchase lasts long. Also, knowing these standards will help you fully engage your contractor and help him or her understand your needs and aspirations correctly.
To increase the longevity and durability of your driveway, subgrade preparation is of utmost importance. The subgrade should run evenly and should be compressed. The standard thickness of concrete is 4” and a good driveway is one which is evenly thick at 4” throughout the project and not vacillates between 3” to 4” in the middle.
Joints have a dual purpose of crack prevention and beautification. Joints that are placed at appropriate distances in the concrete construction go a long way in crack prevention. They are turned into beautiful designs purposefully but they are an integral part of the concrete driveway.
The joint’s thickness should be one fourth of that of the concrete, i.e. a 4 inch thick concrete slab should be separated using a 1 inch think joint. Not only the thickness but the placement of the joint is also critical. The standard procedure is to space the joints out at 8-12 inch distance for a 4 inch thick concrete slab.
Once the concrete drive way is installed, it is important to reinforce it using steel bars or wire mesh. The reinforcement will help hold the blocks in place and in the center. If reinforcement is done through steel bars then they should be placed in a grid pattern.
Once you have installed your beautiful concrete drive way you would hate to see oodles of water standing on it in the form of puddles or pools. To eliminate that, the concrete drive way has to have a ¼” slope built into its construction. Further the slope should run away from the house and not towards it. However, if incorporating a slope is not possible in construction, then installing some form of drainage is highly recommended. The drain should be installed at the lowest point and should be able to catch all the water and drain it out.
Installing a perfect drive way according to the standards and specifications is only half the story. Maintenance is the second half. However the good news is that maintenance of a simple driveway is a piece of cake as compared to its installation, especially when you have followed all the codes and standard procedures given by the manufacturer. A decorative drive way, on the other hand, is slightly difficult and may take a bit of work to maintain. Decorative elements like color, texture and etc. needs regular upgrades and upkeep. The decorative concrete requires you to clean the surface thoroughly at least once a year using pressure hose or sprinklers. After that the surface needs to be sealed. The sealing will have to be done regularly or periodically to prevent moisture damage, freeze thaw and color fading.