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Driveway Design Guide

Driveway Repair

Tips for Fixing Driveway Cracks

It's easy to see why homeowners select concrete driveways. Concrete is durable, low maintenance, and has a quality appearance. A variety of colors, patterns and texture give the homeowner a selection. All of these choices are useless, however if a short while after you invest in a quality driveway it becomes cracked and stained.


Pouring Concrete

Pouring concrete correctly is crucial to an attractive and problem-free driveway. Here’s a few of the most important points to consider when installing concrete:

Squeeze or compress the concrete

driveway-design-repair-how-to-buildConcrete will only have 1/10th of its strength if it is stretched or bent instead of squeezed or compressed. Pour concrete on solid and compact soil. Pouring concrete over soft and un-compacted soil will result in bending and cracks on the concrete when your car drives over it.

Install control joints in the slabs

These lines encourage the concrete to crack at these locations and not spread to other parts of the driveway. Another benefit is that these joints will help to prevent cracks by allowing concrete to expand or contract as it does during different temperatures. Without these joints, expansion or contraction that is repeated usually results in cracks. Installers need to make sure the controls are deep enough. Control joints should be ¼th the thickness of the slab and they also need to be spaced properly. This means spacing them at intervals of 15 feet or less.

Homeowners have options when it comes to sizes and material choices for their concrete driveway. Whether 4 inches thickness is enough, what steel does for the driveway and should it be used as well as what to look for in concrete are all commonly asked questions.

Sizes and Materials to Choose

Concrete should be at least 5 inches thick. Thicker concrete is better for driveways and the cost between 4 inches and 5 inches is not a lot when considering the total cost of the job.

Use reinforcing steel. Steel is inexpensive, helps to strengthen the concrete and will hold cracked slabs together. It’s often easy to tell when steel isn’t used because cracks can grow in size and two adjacent pieces of slab can be two different heights. To take advantage of steel’s effectiveness, it needs to be placed less than two inches down from the top of the slab.

Concrete contains cement, water and aggregate (sand or rock). The more cement and the less aggregate concrete contains, the stronger the concrete is. The standard for concrete is a 4,000 psi (pounds per square inch) strength rating. Ordering concrete that is 4,500 or 5,000 psi will cost more but more cement is added per cubic yard. If you expect that the concrete will be subjected to rough conditions, the higher psi could be a worthy investment, adding an extra 25 to 50 years to the life of the cement.

How to Preserve Your Driveway

Most driveways are connected to a lawn. A way to prevent grass from growing up through your driveway is to remove the sod within 2 to 3 inches of the cement. Water and rain will drain off the surface better as well.

Trees, bushes and other plants can cause problems if they are growing too close to your driveway. Roots will grow up through the cement, cracking it and causing it to break off and crumble. Moving these plants if they are not too big will solve this problem.

The simplest thing you can do to keep your driveway looking nice is to clean it off occasionally. Use a leaf blower to remove leaves, grass, sticks and other debris. Using a pressure washer to spray clean the area immediately after spilling oil, gasoline, grease or other stains is the best bet for removing these types of stains.

Try to keep heavy trucks and equipment off your driveway because although concrete is durable, it’s not meant to hold heavy vehicles and large equipment.

What to Do in Inclement Weather

Keep water and rain that runs out of the gutters from running onto your driveway. This is important because if water gets under your driveway during the freezing winter months, it can rise up and crack your driveway.

Use care when plowing or shoveling your driveway. Lift the blade up so not to scrape or crack the driveway.

Avoid putting salt on your driveway. Salt can cause scaling, crumbling and cracks on driveways. Using salt during the first winter your driveway has been poured is especially harmful. Consider using an ice melter instead, which will turn snow and ice into water without damaging the cement.

When to Seal Concrete Concrete that meets certain criteria does not need to be sealed. Most likely your driveway does not need to be sealed if the concrete:

Has enough cement (6 bag mix or 564 lbs. of cement) AND And has 4,000 lbs. per square inch design strength AND Includes just enough mix water to give it a 4 inch slump consistency AND Is finished without water AND Is moist cured with a liquid curing compound or with plastic

However, if concrete is poured poorly, it should be sealed. Do not seal with film-forming silicone. Instead use siloxane water repellants or high quality silane. Using a quality product will let you get a way with only sealing your driveway every two to three years. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the container for the best results.

Follow the above advice and your concrete driveway will hold up against cold weather, ice and salt, vehicle traffic, basketball games and bike riding for years. Many driveways can last over 30 years without major repairs.

Arthor and Source: Aaron Klimchuk

Driveway Cracking and Resurfacing Repairs

Concrete resurfacing is a method of repairing concrete sections when they are cracking or discolored. This usually happens over time and concrete resurfacing will help restore the look of the area to one that is much more attractive. There is also decorative concrete resurfacing which still restores the look of the concrete but also adds a decorative touch to it. This can include color and designs that can get very elaborate. Some refinishing projects are like works of art and are very beautiful. Prices for concrete resurfacing vary depending on the type of project you want and how elaborate you want to get in your designs. Typically, though, it starts off at approximately three dollars per square foot and can increase to over seven dollars per square foot.

Cleaning the Area

The first thing that is done in concrete resurfacing is the cleaning of the area. This is usually done with a pressure washer to ensure all built up dirt and debris is removed. Next, there are several steps in repairing the cracks that may be found in the concrete. Cracks are first primed then filled with crack repair material. Then, they are reinforced with fabric and then a base coat is painted over the fabric. Polymer concrete is then smoothed on to the surface over the crack and ground down once dry until it is smooth and even. After the cracks are repaired, any holes that are in the concrete will be filled with epoxy mortar. Now that the concrete is thoroughly repaired, it is time to start the concrete resurfacing.

Applying the Coat

The prime coat and granule broadcast will be applied now that all the cracks and holes are repaired. A texture coat will be added next. First you will need to mix it according to package specifications. Then the mixture will be sprayed over the area using a special type of spray gun. Once complete, the surface should be run over with a trowel to ensure an even surface. You should work from the top and go backwards down the area for this. The color coat is next, adding the particular color you want for your area. Then a sealer is used to finish off the project.

Arthor and Source: Nathan T Lynch

Replacing Cracks with Pavers

Almost every driveway, whether it is concrete or asphalt, cracks. These cracks, over time, grow larger and unsightly. Homeowners are forced to apply crack filler, which invariably cracks again. Weed killers become part of the weekend routine of lawn maintenance, but instead of killing weeds in the lawn, homeowners are killing them on their driveways.

Remove the Old Concrete

driveway-design-repair-how-to-buildThe solution to the problem is pavers! Remove the old, worn out, cracked, and dirty concrete driveway and replace it with a new, guaranteed to not crack, beautiful paver surface. All paver manufacturers warranty their product for at least twenty years against cracking. So say goodbye to those cracks forever.

Installation Process

So now that I have you thinking about replacing your driveway, your first question is probably how much does that cost and then, how do you do it? Your paving professional will help you with the color and shape selection. The installation consists of removing your old driveway with the use of a bobcat and a dump truck. The old concrete or asphalt is hauled off to a recycling plant and disposed of for free. Removing an average size driveway will typically take one day.

The next day all of the base material, typically recycled concrete fines, are spread and compacted. The base will be compacted in the footprint of the old driveway, unless the shape and size of the driveway is going to change. Once the elevations have been set and the base compacted, the pavers are ready to be installed. The pavers are set directly on top of the base material or leveling sand. Using leveling sand beneath the pavers will maintain a very level final product and it also helps with the interlock effect once the pavers have been installed and compacted.

Dry Joint Sand

When the paver field has been installed completely, dry joint sand is swept on top of the driveway, filling in the joints between the pavers. Once the sand is completely spread, a plate compactor is used to compact the pavers. Finally a concrete edge restraint is troweled along the outside edge of the paver field, or in some cases, a plastic edge restraint is installed with stakes that are driven into the soil. These plastic edge restraints are great in northern climates with hard, dense soils.

Finishing Touches

Depending on the size of the driveway, the pavers will typically take two to three days to be installed. The pavers, once installed, make up an interlocking surface of individual bricks. The reason the manufacturers are so willing to place long warranties against cracking on their products is due to the fact that each paver has a compressive strength of at least eight thousand psi. Furthermore, each paver has a joint between it and the next paver. This joint allows for a small amount of flexing. This is important, especially in cold climates where there are significant freeze thaw conditions. The flexing of the interlocking surface prevents cracks from forming, something the old asphalt or concrete could not do.

Arthor and Source: Garrett McGinnis


Driveway Landscaping
Asphalt vs Concrete
Asphalt vs Pavers
Gravel Driveway
Driveway Sealer
Driveway How To Steps
How to Build a Driveway
How to Pave a Driveway
How to Pour Concrete
How to Repair a Driveway
How to Seal a Driveway

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