Concrete Driveway Installation

Residential concrete driveways are usually designed to be at least four inches thick, as thinner driveways are more apt to crack. They must also manage water properly: water should never puddle on the surface, nor should it run along the sides of the driveway, as this can erode the driveway’s base and result in damage to the entire structure.

The first step in replacing a concrete driveway is usually to break up and remove the old driveway. Then the contractor may put down additional gravel or fill to create a stronger base. Next, temporary forms are installed to hold the wet concrete. With the forms in place, the concrete is poured and smoothed, and contraction joints are made. The forms are removed once the concrete hardens.

The step of making contraction joints is key. As concrete sets, it has a tendency to shrink, which results in cracks. Contraction joints are shallow grooves made in a newly poured slab in order to serve as “controlled cracks,” allowing the concrete to contract while minimizing additional fissures in the surface.

Due to variability in materials, terrain, and weather conditions, even reputable companies cannot guarantee their concrete projects against superficial cracking that is simply aesthetic.

Though utilitarian, driveways are also prominent structures, so it may be worth it to enhance their look. Plain, gray concrete driveways can be beautified in a variety of ways, with options such as decorative concrete and concrete overlays.