The best tips for a crack-free concrete driveway are having a stable base, dampening the base so it compacts well, using sufficient steel reinforcement, and ensuring formwork are straight and secure. Following these tips can increase the probability that your new driveway will last many years.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that cracks can still happen due to extreme changes in temperature or constant heavy loads. The good news is that there are professional concreters in Ballarat who can help you repair your concrete surfaces and even replace them totally if needed.
For this post, we’ll share with you the top tips to give your new concrete driveway the highest probability of lasting a long time.
Tip #1: Set Up a Solid Base
Concrete won’t last long if it isn’t poured over a solid base. Experts know that they should get a solid compactable base of around 4 to 6 inches to have a stable foundation. The exact amount is going to depend on the area’s climate, soil conditions, and the type of traffic the driveway will get regularly.
Tip #2: Use a Plate Compactor
Once you have your concrete driveway base in place, make sure you use a plate compactor. You should do this every time you apply 2 inches of base. Three or four passes of the machine will do. Some experts prefer using a vibrating plate compactor since they are ideal for compacting the soil.
Tip #3: Make the Base Damp
Your base won’t compress appropriately if it’s extremely dry. That’s why if you’re compacting in dry conditions, you can add some moisture by spraying water on the base to allow it to pack down better. You can check if your base material is sufficiently moist by compressing a handful into a ball in your hand. You’ll know if you have a damp base if it holds its shape.
Tip #4: Ensure Forms Are Aligned
Add two screws at the end of both form boards and place a string between them. This line is going to be the guide to see if your boards are aligned or not. You should make sure that the forms are placed at the right height before adding the last lift. Doing so should allow you to use the forms as a guide when finalising the height of your base.
Tip #5: Keep Formwork Secure
Make sure you place a stake at least once every 1 metre. You can use your foot to keep the form board aligned with the stringline each time you drive a stake. The technique here is to drive the stakes straight down with the board, so they don’t get misaligned as you tighten them.
Tip #6: Use Sufficient Steel Reinforcing
Reinforcing steel or mesh ensures that loads are distributed evenly across the slab so that the effect of a concentrated stress is reduced. Steel greatly reduces the likelihood of cracking and is a must for concrete driveways.
By following all of these tips, you should have a good idea of how to lay a concrete driveway the right way.