When your current driveway reaches the end of its usable life expectancy (30-40 years on average), the process of replacing and installing a new concrete driveway involves a couple of important steps.
The first step in replacing your driveway is to evaluate your existing driveway design and decide if you would benefit from adding any additional square footage like a parking pad or making your driveway wider. This will be your best chance to make any permanent improvements.
After you decide on the size of your new driveway install, the next step is to remove your existing driveway. This will involve heavy equipment like a skid-steer. This removal process will be the noisiest part of your entire project. The old driveway has to be broken and demolished into smaller pieces, then picked up by the skid-steer. The old concrete is then disposed of into either a large metal dumpster or into the bed of a commercial size dump-truck.
Since concrete is very heavy, only a few hundred square feet of old broken concrete can be put in these containers or they will be too heavy to be hauled on the highway. During the removal process, concrete saws are often needed to cut thicker sections of concrete and to make precision type cuts for partial replacements.
Once all the old concrete is removed, the subgrade (ground) is graded smooth and leveled for any inconsistencies. New concrete behaves better when poured on smooth and compacted subgrade. A skid-steer is often a suitable piece of equipment for the grading and compaction of the subgrade.
After the ground has been prepared, form boards are laid out to create the out edge (boundary) of the new concrete. Most driveways are poured at a 4 inch thickness to ensure they can hold vehicles and trucks. The form boards are always 2×4 inch pieces of wood that touch flush end to end. These form boards are flexible enough to create curves and smooth edges.
Once the form boards are all laid out, now new concrete is ready to be poured.
A commercial grade Ready Mix concrete truck will deliver the wet concrete. The concrete truck will arrive at the job site and position itself to begin pouring the wet concrete. The wet concrete is poured inside of the form boards at a thickness of 4 inches.
After the wet concrete has been poured, it will need immediate attention to begin the finishing process. The concrete will be floated and smoothed out over a period of a couple hours as the wet concrete begins to harden (cure). As the wet concrete cures, a final non-slip finish called a “broom finish” is applied to the surface of the new concrete.
The final step in installing a new driveway is installing the control joints. Control joints help manage any cracks that might occur in the concrete. They are shallow grooves that are put in place after concrete has been poured. As the concrete hardens and shrinks, any separation usually occurs at control joints where the concrete is thinner and weaker. Even with proper control joints, concrete driveways can still crack. There is no way to fully prevent or guarantee against aesthetic (hairline) cracking.
Once form boards are removed, the concrete is left to cure. You will need to wait 5 days minimum before driving on the new concrete.
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