In these tough economic times, if you are considering selling your home, then one of the first things that a real estate agent will tell you to improve is a cracked and weed-grown driveway. The process is not that hard, but there are some considerations to be taken into account in order to do the job right. In this two-part article, we discuss pouring a concrete driveway.
Step 1 - Excavate Old Driveway
Excavation of the old driveway and preparation of the concrete bed for the new is hard work. If you have access to a backhoe, the job is much easier, but if not, consider having this done. No one wants to spend a week with a maul and pickaxe tearing up an old driveway, and then facing the task of removing the old concrete and disposing of it. The best bet here is to hire it done.
Step 2 — Plan for Materials
The next thing to do is plan a budget for the project to determine how much lumber, concrete ,and stakes that will be needed. Forms are used to pour a concrete driveway, and a variety of lumber is used, including 2x4, 2x6, and 2x8 lumber supported by 1x2, 1x4, or 2x4 stakes.
At egress, you will want to have curved entranceways, for easy access and proper appearance. Quarter-inch plywood is used here, bent and staked properly to match the curve and provide support for the concrete.
Estimate Concrete Needed
A concrete driveway should be a minimum of 6 inches deep. To determine the amount of concrete needed, you must determine the square footage of the area to be poured. One yard of concrete will cover 54 square feet of surface at a depth of 6 inches. A minimum of 3,000 lb concrete mix or greater is recommended, and it is highly recommended to order a little more concrete than you will need.
Experts advise that you shouldn’t attempt to mix concrete yourself, but instead rely on a redi-mix company for delivery. Not only does this save you time and back breaking work, but also dollar for dollar is the best alternative. You should then go to city or county authorities to find out what rules and regulations will concern your project. Obtain any viable permits and insure you understand the regional code for concrete work.
Step 3 — Prepare the Surface
The surface of the driveway must be level, with no high spots or dips. A bed of at least 6 inches should be prepared, and this surface need to be compacted to insure that when the concrete is poured there will be no dips and uneven spots when the concrete hardens.
Now is the time to purchase the lumber for the forms, and collect the necessary tools to finish the concrete surface if you plan on doing this yourself. Many redi-mix companies have work crews that are highly experienced in finishing a concrete surface. In the next part of this series, we discuss the building of forms and the pouring of concrete.
Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.
Pouring a Concrete Driveway Part 2 >>