Are you thinking of a practical project that can increase your house's value and make it a more conducive place to live in at the same time? Building concrete driveways is an investment worth pursuing as your next home improvement project. Doing so only requires four easy steps: preparing the base, installing and reinforcing the form, pouring the concrete, and smoothening the edges. To know more about these procedures, here are some quick explanations about them:
Preparing the base
The best way to ensure that your driveway can withstand wear and tear through the years is to ensure that it stands on a solid foundation. As a general rule, the depth of your base should be around 4-6 inches. However, if you live in a cold climatic zone or pour on organic soil, it would be wise to dig up 10-12 inches deep for your base. This measurement is also ideal if you are planning to park heavy vehicles or have sailboats in tow from time to time.
Aside from making your base deep enough, you also have to ensure that it is well-compacted. To do this, use a vibrating plate compactor to level the ground. It will also help if you add some moisture to help the soil clamp together.
Installing and reinforcing the form
After your ground preparation, the next crucial step in building your driveway is the installation of form. Your form should be levelled and graded. As a tip, you may want to coat your stakes and form with used motor oil to prevent the concrete from sticking on them. Furthermore, when it comes to putting stakes together, it is better to use screws instead of nails to avoid misalignment.
Once the form and stakes are properly in place, you can reinforce them with rebars. Contractors suggest that a half-inch rebar should be in place in every two-foot grid pattern. You should also incorporate a gravel base on the side. Design this gravel base with a 2% slope to keep water puddling off your concrete driveways.
To help you control the direction of the concrete, you should only pour it from one side. Pouring it against the form also helps in compacting your mixture. You can use a regular shovel to spread it on the base, but do not overwork the material since it may cause heavy aggregate to concentrate on the bottom.
If you see bubbles forming on top, it is a sign that your concrete mixture is not poured properly. To remedy this, you can do a strike-off. This procedure can be done by swinging the board side-to-side so that the bubbles will settle properly.
Smoothing the edges
Once you have filled up all the spaces, you can now smoothen the concrete. You can use a darby or a buff float for this procedure. The critical thing you have to remember is to use a unidirectional motion to level the surface. It will show if you did not use diligence in doing this job once the concrete dries out.
When all the surfaces are smooth, the last thing to do is to cure your driveway. Curing concrete helps reinforce the structure so that your driveway will not crumble away as time passes by.
Building your driveway is not rocket science. It can be effortlessly done if you have the right tools and the time to work on it. You will thank yourself later for working on this project.