A concrete driveway should provide years of use and curb appeal. But the most important factor when it comes to the longevity of a concrete driveway is the quality of installation.
It may be tempting to redo your own concrete driveway if it is smaller in size, or to give yourself a brand-new concrete driveway by pouring concrete over an existing gravel or dirt drive. However, when most homeowners do this, the concrete is poured much too thin and problems can easily occur.
Some of the more common problems associated with concrete driveways include:
- Less than 4 inches thick – for an average personal vehicle, 4 inches of reinforced concrete is the minimum standard for a concrete driveway. If you drive a heavy truck or your driveway connects to a road that receives traffic from delivery vans or semis, you may need to go to 8 inches thick or more. A concrete driveway that is too thin will easily crack and chip once it is driven over. Click here to calculate and measure the exact cubic yard required for your driveway.
- Not reinforced with rebar – rebar provides extra stability for your driveway and ensures it can handle the wear and tear of everyday use and holds it together despite minor fluctuations in moisture content in the soil, which could cause cracking.
- Improper foundation – pouring concrete over an existing gravel or dirt drive is not recommended. Properly preparing the area by tamping and leveling the soil, adding a sand sub grade, and by installing a network of rebar, can help to stabilize the driveway overall.
- Not mixed thoroughly – all concrete mixtures, including Houston Ready Mix, need to be thoroughly incorporated in order to provide an even moisture content throughout the concrete. Dry or wet spots can cause cracking.
- Wrong concrete mix – concrete that is not intended for exterior use can easily chip and flake.
- Water erosion – driveways installed on a grade may experience pronounced shifting due to water getting underneath the driveway during rainfall and eroding the sand sub grade. This problem can be prevented in susceptible driveways by properly compacting the sand, directing downspouts away from the driveway, and caulking driveway joints. It can be fixed in affected driveways through a technique called mud jacking, in which hollow areas are refilled.
Avoid all of these problems and more by making sure the right tools are used for the job. Hire a professional to get the job done right the first time around, and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your concrete driveway was made to last.