Because concrete is so versatile, preferred for durability, appearance, low maintenance, and indicates quality construction from the first glance. A concrete driveway does it all.
Homeowners take great pride in the exterior of their home. The concrete driveway has become an essential part of a landscaping plan that imparts an inviting image. Concrete’s wide variety of texture, color, or patterns has elevated the driveway to the status of a landscape design element…meeting today’s homeowner’s exacting demands
Not only is concrete functional, it lends itself to a wide variety of design options…which can make a dramatic difference in home landscaping plans, as well as enhance property values. In addition to the traditional look, concrete can have the decorative appearance, feel, and color of brick, tile, slate, or stone. Exposed aggregate is another popular finish. Also, many other design choices are available. All of these choices complement a variety of exterior treatments of the house.
Concrete driveways have long been known to give trouble-free service to homeowners. The reason is simple. Concrete is enduring…many driveways last for 30 years and longer without major maintenance. Just as with many high-quality purchases, concrete costs less in the long run.
From the street to the garage, a personally designed concrete driveway not only adds visual satisfaction, but also adds long lasting quality and value to your home as well.
The quality of the completed concrete driveway always begins with good planning. Spending time at this stage is always a wise decision that can help to eliminate possible problems later on. One of the first things to consider is size.
The suggested width for a single-car driveway is 8 to 9 feet. For double width, plan to use 15 to 18 feet. If the distance from the street to a two or more car garage is long enough, the initial entry approach can be of single-car width and then widened near the garage to accommodate all car stalls. If space is available, extra parking or a turn-around area can be included. Also, the planning stage is the time to consider adding that concrete patio or porch addition.
As for thickness, non-reinforced pavement 4 inches thick is standard for passenger car driveways. For heavier vehicles, a thickness of 5 inches is recommended. To eliminate standing water, the driveway should be sloped towards the street a minimum of 1%, or 1/8 inch per foot for proper drainage.
Today’s concrete can be formed into practically any shape, texture, pattern, or color. It’s a way of adding a new dimension of quality and elegance to your home, at a reasonable cost.
Pattern stamping is an exotic and colorful way to enhance ordinary concrete paving. Essentially, the driveway is cast-in-place concrete which has been colored and imprinted with a pattern designed to look like brick, tile, cobblestone, or other various patterns. Textured finishes include bromide, swirl, or exposed aggregate.
When the basic driveway design has been decided, the next step is site preparation. As an example, let’s assume that an existing asphalt driveway is being replaced with a traditional, broom-textured concrete driveway. In brief, this is how a typical site preparation works.
The gravel base is compacted with a vibratory plate compactor. For a new driveway, a gravel sub base is not needed, but the sub grade must be compacted in a similar manner.
Match the new driveway level with the existing garage slab and sidewalk. An isolation joint is needed where the drive is to meet these existing pavements. Typically ¼” to ½” thick pre-molded joint material is used to make this joint.
Ordering Quality Concrete
- Ready mixed concrete for driveways is normally specified in accordance with American Standards for Testing and Materials specification ASTM C-94. By following the correct specifications and construction methods, it will help avoid problems such as random cracking. In brief:
- Compressive strength – 4000 psi at 28 days is adequate strength for most climates.
- Air content – designate air content with a range of 5% to 7% in all climates. In addition to improving the long term durability of the concrete, air content also improves the workability, without the need for adding water.
- Slump (moisture content of the concrete) – be sure to designate slump. For driveway paving, specify 4 inch slump. Slump greater than 5 inches should definitely be avoided.
- Aggregates – designate the size of the coarse aggregate. Generally, ¾ or 1 inch is normally used. For a slightly higher fee, chert-reduced aggregate can be ordered to help prevent pop-outs.
A concrete broom is used for the final finish. Before sweeping, the surface should be stiff enough to retain marks or grooves left by the bristles of the broom. A trowel finish is not recommended because it could leave the surface slippery and unsafe. The rougher broom finish improves traction.
Joints in concrete pavements control the location and spread of cracks.
Two of the great advantages for using concrete are it’s durability and ease of care. We recommend applying a high quality sealer on all exterior concrete exposed to freeze/thaw cycles. The sealer helps protect concrete from two things: absorbing moisture and being damaged from numerous freeze/thaw cycles.
Penetrating sealers are clear, silane solutions that penetrate deeply and chemically react with cement surfaces. They offer the best protection from moisture penetration.
Concrete work is a trade in itself that takes experience, skill, and knowledge to perform and provide. Anyone that is or was in the trade knows that every concrete project is as unpredictable as the next and only a qualified concrete professional can provide the results you are looking for. At Johnston Masonry we have some of the Northlands finest concrete professionals that continue to impress time and time again. We can and will provide service for any type of concrete project you desire with results you can rely on.
Stamped Finish Concrete – This type of concrete is commonly referred to as textured or imprinted. It is concrete that is designed to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, stone, tile, and even wood.
Sand Finish Concrete – This type of concrete requires a specific mix. The finish is accomplished much like exposed aggregate in the way that we remove the top film of the surface after concrete has set for a while to expose the sand beneath.
Stained/Colored Concrete – Stained and colored concrete can be similar but are accomplished in different methods. To stain concrete a retarder or release agent is applied to concrete that has been poured to bring out a stained look. Concrete with integral colorant is made by the concrete manufacturer.
Traditional Concrete – Traditional finish is a very common and cost-effective method and results in a light grey concrete color with a traditional broom finish.
Polished Concrete – Polished concrete finish is a multi-step process which involves much sanding and, of course, polishing.
Exposed Aggregate – Exposed aggregate is similar to sand finish in the way it is accomplished. The type of concrete mix is one of the main differences. This mix involves more larger pebbles so when the surface layer is removed they are exposed.