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Concrete driveways are one of the best choices when it comes to building the approach to your house. They should be though of as nothing more than a large welcome mat that you normally have just inside the front door. The first thing that visitors notice when coming to visit a house is the concrete driveways, or lack of them!
The reason that so many people opt for concrete driveways is that they have both durability and a pleasing appearance. Concrete driveways are built with one of the most versatile construction materials that can be used for driveways, and concrete driveways can be created in a whole range of different colors, textures and designs, so it’s possible to design a very unique, eye-pleasing approach for your home.
Concrete Driveways Installation
One thing that is as vitally important as the choice of concrete used in concrete driveways is the subgrade. It should always be uniform in its firmness, dampness and grade. It needs to be damp enough so that it prevents the moisture from the concrete being drawn out too quickly. This is necessary to avoid any cracks and discoloration in concrete driveways. Consistent dampness and no standing water at all is the most important requirement for the subgrade for concrete driveways. It should be consisted of about 8 or 10 inches of compacted fill, for example crushed stones, sand or pea gravel, or even a combination of them is okay.
The standard thickness for the concrete used in concrete driveways is around 8 to 12 cm. This will prove to be sufficient for all concrete driveways that are designed to be used for cars, but if you intend on having bigger vehicles like RV’s and trucks visiting your property then the concrete should be laid at a thickness of 12 to 14 cm.
Before laying the concrete, you might want to consider laying rebar or strong steel wire mesh as a method of holding concrete driveways together. It is especially vital to lay rebar around any holes or trenches where utilities and posts may be placed in the concrete.
The practice of using rebar and wire mesh will not prevent the concrete driveways from cracking sometimes. The answer to cracks is that you must accept that any and all concrete driveways will crack, this is unpreventable. However, you can place something called a control joint into concrete driveways in order to give them a place to crack where it will be less noticeable. These control joints are usually cut into concrete driveways with an angle grinder or groover tool, either during the finishing of the drive or else the day after the driveway has been laid. Concrete driveways that have control joints almost always look much neater and more pleasing than concrete driveways that don’t have them, and they will last a lot longer too.
Concrete driveways should always be set so that they are sloping away from permanent buildings, at a gradient of at least 4.5 cm per 30 cm. If it is not possible to do this, then it is necessary to install a drainage system so that the water flow can be controlled and directed away from buildings. The last thing you want is for water to be left standing on concrete driveways, especially in the winter when it can freeze.
Of course, this is all just basic information for anyone interested in concrete driveways. Unless you have specific experience of working in the construction trade, it is not recommended that you try installing concrete driveways yourself. The best bet as always, one that could save you a lot of money, is to hire a professional to do the job.
Hiring a Contractor to install concrete driveways
In order to make sure you can get a quality concrete driveways contractor to complete the project, you should do a little research first of all. Compile a list of contractors in your local area. Perhaps you can speak to neighbors about the contractors they have used before, or else look for reputable companies online or in the local phone directory. Using the basic information presented above, you will know be able to talk to these contractors about concrete driveways with some degree of knowledge, and this will help to weed out any of the unscrupulous ones amongst them who might be trying to rip you off!
Now that you have your list, you need to make appointments with each of the concrete driveways contractors. When they come to view the driveway, ask them questions about the approach they will employ and their expertise. Anyone who is truly expert in the concrete driveways business will be able to dazzle you with knowledge about it, and he will of course know all of the basic facts that you have just learnt.
Now you need an estimate from each of the concrete driveways contractors you have spoken too. You can get this at the meeting with them. Make sure that the contractor includes the production of a sample in his estimate, especially if you are looking for a unique texture or pattern for your concrete driveways. You need to read over the concrete driveway’s estimates with care, and ask about anything you are not sure of. For example if there is anything you think should be in the estimate, yet is missing. You need to be fully aware of what each of the estimates entail.
The last thing to do before making a decision on your concrete driveways contractor is to check them out thoroughly. Looking somewhere like the Master Concreter’s Association of QLD will enable you to find out if they are what they say they are. Make sure that the contractor you are choosing is both insured and licensed.
Once you have made your decision, you need to check over and sign the written contract for the job. Finally, you can relax and stop worrying, safe in the knowledge that you have done everything possible to choose the most competent concrete driveways contractor out there. Get ready to enjoy your brand new concrete driveway soon!