Concrete is a great driveway material to use. It’s versatile, highly recommended for longevity, look, low maintenance, and represents quality construction from the initial look through the years. A concrete driveway doesn’t only do it all; it makes the entire home look better too. Most homeowners take great pride in their driveway’s exterior.
If you’re looking at concrete driveway options, you should know that the first step is site preparation. Before any other driveway materials are added, the site needs to be cleared to even out the grade and to eliminate any drainage issues. For instance, if there’s a river crossing or any other crossing where water can collect, a spillway may be required. You’ll also need to plan for utilities such as electricity and telephone lines to get to your home, so you may want to clear the area for at least three feet around all sides of the project.
Once site preparation is complete, the concrete driveway can be poured. Your chosen aggregates will be pre-molded pieces that’ll be fitted into place once the concrete has hardened. Aggregates like gravel, stone, sand, and perlite are common, but you may want to consider using something more exotic like bluestone, flagstone, or quartzite. The reason for using aggregate materials is to enhance the structural integrity of the concrete. The aggregates will act as a layer of gravel beneath the stone pieces to ensure that they do not slip or otherwise abrade the surface.
Once the aggregates are placed, they’re cured by heating them slowly with pressurized steam. To make sure that they’re all going to adhere to each other and that they’re all cured uniformly, this curing process is essential to a perfect finished product. Depending on your climate and the conditions your concrete driveway will be exposed to, the curing process could last anywhere from one day to six weeks. Regardless, it’s vital that you have consistent drying techniques in place to prevent settling, cracking, or drying out of your newly poured concrete driveway.
After the concrete driveway has been cured and set, it’s time to seal it. This sealant will protect the surface against rain, sunlight, chemicals, heat, and any other substances that may be spilled onto the surface of your newly poured concrete driveways. Sealants are generally applied to both sides of the concrete driveways, but you may opt to apply just one layer. This decision will depend on the overall appearance and maintenance routine of your property. For example, applying a layer of sealant on newly poured driveways will help to keep the surface dry, which is important to prevent damage during the winter.
Another step in protecting your newly poured concrete driveway is to properly air entrainment. Air entrainment involves the use of a high-pressure air hose to blow highly-dense foam into the surface of the concrete driveway. The foam helps to create a particular surface tension, which prevents the concrete from settling into a low area. This results in less cracking and settling of the concrete. If you choose to employ air entrainment for your concrete driveway project, it’s imperative that your chosen contractor uses high-quality foams that meet the strictest standards of safety and dependability.
In addition to the important sealant application and air entrainment steps outlined above, many homeowners opt to add additional sealing and Design Options to their concrete driveway projects. Some homeowners choose to include crack sealer or stone sealer to improve the overall visual appeal of their newly poured driveway. Other homeowners choose to add texture to their newly poured driveway by staining or painting the surfaces. These Design Options is typically simple to apply, but they can make a huge difference in the overall appearance and longevity of your newly poured concrete driveway.
When it comes to choosing the right concrete driveway contractor, you want to choose one with extensive experience in the field. Because of the complexity and variability of this professionally crafted structure, it’s often better to work with a contractor who has several years of experience. Your best bet for finding a great contractor for your concrete driveway is to ask friends and family who have recently completed a concrete driveway installation for their recommendations. You can also search online databases such as Yelp to learn about the experience and overall ratings of different contractors.