Installing a new concrete driveway is a cost-efficient way of increasing your house value and street appeal.
Concrete is the most durable material for driveways and a high quality driveway installation can last up to 40 years without the need for maintenance services like resealing and resurfacing.
How well your driveway looks and performs long-term is largely related to the quality of workmanship and materials that go into it.
To help ensure a problem-free driveway, there are 4 main things you NEED to know for proper construction of a concrete driveway that lasts for decades.
1. Concreter’s craftsmanship and experience
It may sound simple however often times, homeowners forget to ask about a concreter’s qualifications or assessing a Concreter's craftsmanship.
This can be done by asking:
- how long the concreter has been in the business
- the types of driveways they have installed (plain, coloured, exposed aggregate, stamped, stencilled etc)
- and looking over before and after photos on their website.
Testimonials count however ask for the street address of their latest projects and drive by to look at the final work (but don't start going into people's driveways...)
Additionally, pay attention on how they plan to install your driveway and the different approaches they intend to use for the construction.
2. Properly prepared subgrade to prevent cracking
Subgrade is the underlying substance or layer under the pavement.
A good subgrade is one that provides adequate support like how soft or hard the existing dirt/ground is.
Ensure that there is an even slab thickness to prevent slab settlement and structural cracking.
Soft spots in the designated driveway area should be removed and replaced with good material like gravel, crushed rock and sand to provide some structure and support.
However don't allow the concrete to be placed on bone-dry subgrade - spraying the subgrade first to dampen it will prevent it from wicking water from the fresh concrete.
Now if you're concern with cracks, you can ask the concreter his process/technique for minimising the chance of cracks appearing.
For our own clients, there are several steps we take to ensure minimal future cracking. They are:
- Appropriate subgrade preparation before the concrete driveway installation
- Having the correct concrete mix with a compressive strength of at least 4000 psi and an air content of around 6%.
- Having durable steel base and installing controlled joints
- and cutting sections or installing the metal bar to enable expansion and concrete movement.
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3. Ensure adequate Concrete thickness of your driveway
This part is critical, ensure that your concrete driveway is around 10cm or more in thickness.
This also depends on the existing footpath and whether yourhouse is on a slope. At 10cm or more, your driveway can withstand alot of weight and will last for decades.
To accommodate regular vehicle traffic, once your driveway has been completed - it should be allowed to dry for a week before use.
To accommodate heavy equipment vehicles like trucks, it has to be dried for 14 to 30 days.
To maximize the lifespan of the driveway, it’s also necessary to prevent skip bins and moving vans to pass through.
4. Learn How To Maintain Your Driveway’s Appearance
To maintain your driveway’s appearance, it’s beneficial to apply a sealer on your concrete driveway.
Although sealing can lasts for decades, some of our clients like to maintain their driveway by sealing every three to five years.
Yet it also depends on how heavy its usage is and the corresponding wear and tear.
Don’t hire workers that offer sealing services who go door to door. They’re usually not the most reliable (cough… scammers).
If you do experience stains from oil spills, remove it immediately - kitty litter, cornmeal or even sawdust will assist with soaking up excess oil.
You also have to avoid the use of any de-icing products as the fluid from such products can can tear down your concrete driveway.
For the same reason, you shouldn’t change your vehicle’s oil on the driveway or use any sharp objects on your driveway.
If you have to use a shovel on your concrete driveway for any reason (which should be minimal since it doesn’t snow in Sydney) avoid using those that have metal blades.
If you start noticing cracks appear, it’s crucial to fix cracks the moment you see them to avoid further damage and more expenses for repair.
One other golden rule before you seal the deal with the contractor is to try the price estimator we have available here .
Our quote system takes 20 seconds and helps guide you in the process of installing a concrete driveway, give it a go below: