A new concrete driveway will add value and an attractive finished look to your home exterior and property in addition to giving you a stable foundation on which to drive your vehicles. But there are some necessary guidelines you must follow to make sure your driveway will stand the test of time. Here are some recommendations to help you successfully install a concrete driveway in your front yard property.
Compact the Foundation
When you are planning to install a concrete driveway within your property, you need to determine the type of soil that is present on the site to make sure you prepare it properly and install a compact foundation for the concrete. The reason you need a compacted foundation is so your concrete does not settle due to the foundation shifting or settling. And if your soil does not have good drainage, such as clay soil, water will erode the soil foundation and your concrete will settle and crack.
For a high clay content soil, excavate at least eight inches of soil on the site. This will allow you to install four inches of gravel below a four-inch thick concrete slab. Compact the gravel to press the rocks together, which will create a tight interlocking layer of gravel to give you a stable drainage layer. Use a plate compactor or a hand tamp to compress the gravel in two-inch layers at a time.
If your soil is sandy, it will already have good drainage properties present and you only need to compact the soil to remove any air pockets and to ensure the soil is well-settled before you pour the concrete over the top. Either tool will allow you to press the soil adequately to remove any air pockets or voids in your concrete base foundation.
Watch the Moisture Levels
The presence of moisture when you are pouring a concrete driveway can make or break your project's success, so it is important to watch moisture levels in several ways. First, before you pour concrete onto your base foundation of gravel or soil, be sure it is dampened with a spray of water from your garden hose nozzle just until the dust is settled. This prevents a dry base from pulling moisture from your concrete mixture, drying it out too much, and causing the concrete to fail.
Second, watch the moisture level in your concrete mixture if you are mixing it yourself. You don't want too much or too little moisture in the concrete mix because it will affect the concrete's chemical reaction for a proper cure.
Third, also watch the moisture levels in the weather. If it is expected to rain soon after you pour concrete, cover it with a plastic covering to protect it from moisture over-saturation.
If you need help with a concrete driveway installation, contact a contractor in your area.