The Concrete Driveway

Different contractors often follow different concrete installation processes. While the steps listed here are merely general guidelines, 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 more solid base for the concrete. Next, the contractor installs temporary forms to hold the wet concrete. Once the forms are in place, the concrete is poured. The concrete is smoothed, and contraction joints are cut. The concrete hardens inside the forms, and the forms are removed.

Crack prevention. As concrete sets and hardens, it has a tendency to shrink, which results in cracks. Contraction joints are shallow grooves cut into a concrete slab soon after it is placed. Each groove serves as a sort of “controlled crack” that allows the concrete to contract while minimizing additional tears in the surface. Sealing a concrete driveway against the absorption of moisture and the chemicals in de-icing salts is also helpful for the minimization of surface damage.  

Pavers. Driveways made out of pavers are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a beautiful variation on the standard, plain driveway. Pavers are brick-like pieces of concrete, sometimes colored, that can be used to create a variety of designs and patterns to serve as or accent a driveway. In climates that experience a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels during the year, a driveway of pavers can also more easily accommodate the contraction and expansion of concrete, which reduces damage to the surface and base of the driveway.