Unless you live in a newer subdivision chances are you may not have a concrete driveway. If you don’t have a concrete drive then you most likely have an asphalt driveway, or just a gravel base. Asphalt is definitely a much better surface than just gravel, however, in our opinion it’s still a temporary solution because of the yearly maintenance and short lifespan of the product.
A concrete driveway will usually last for a lifetime with proper application and care. We realize that homeowners who choose to invest in a concrete driveway are usually looking for two things – longevity and strength.
The key to longevity with a concrete driveway is good planning, correct materials, and proper maintenance. As strong as concrete is it relies on the base below it for stability and strength. A solid base starts with removing sod and topsoil to reach a more compact surface. When the proper depth is achieved a gravel base is laid. In most cases this gravel base is usually 4 inches thick, but certain ground conditions may require more gravel, larger gravel, and even compaction to achieve a solid base.
Control joints are also a part of the planning process. These control joints can either be cut in with a jointer while the concrete is still wet, or they can be cut in later with a concrete saw. Control joints are a very important part of a concrete driveway.
Many concrete contractors use a weaker, less expensive concrete mix in order to compete. At a minimum we use a 3500 psi fiber/metal reinforced concrete mix. In applications where heavier traffic is involved we can go to a straight cememt mix. If more strength is needed we can move up to a 4000 psi mix with the option of straight cement as well.
“A family with 2 cars and light traffic would be a canidate for a 3500 psi mix. If that same family has alot of company with more traffic we might suggest a straight cement 3500 psi concrete mixture. In the times we live in SUV’s and Diesel trucks are also part of our lifestyle, and we make the suggestion that our customers consider a stronger more durable concrete when they drive larger vehicles.”
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