How to create a concrete driveway?
Do you want to make a crack-free and strong concrete driveway for your home? Creating a concrete driveway is not a difficult task, as many people would think. Here are pro tips to help you in forming edges, smoothing, curing, and leveling while building a concrete driveway like a pro.
Set the forms
One of the most common problems with a form is that it can collapse or bulge under the wet concrete’s weight. To avoid this, create strong forms by using thick boards. If your forms extend more than the below ground, you should pack some soil against it. Whereas, if the forms extend over 6 inches above the ground, minimize the spacing between different stakes and brace them with each other.
Form curves using Masonite
Hardboard is used to form curves as it is less expensive and flexible. Hardboard requires extra reinforcement for preventing collapsing or bulging of the forms due to the wet concrete weight. For belowground forms, you have to place the stakes that are not more than the 3 feet. On the other hand, place the stakes 16 inches apart, if forms are above ground. When creating curved sidewalks with parallel sides, build one side and then use a gauge board to create the other side.
Stakes the forms tight
Stakes that are above forms can create hurdles for the screed board, and without these obstacles, the screeding concrete is solid enough. Before you start pouring, you need 5 minutes to cut off the protruding stakes. If your form tops are near the ground level, ensure that the screed board does not drag against the level of the ground.
Create a solid base
To make a crack-free concrete, a well-drained and firm base is important. If you want to make a solid base, use a compacted soil with the various inches of base material like gravel. And, the perfect base depends on the soil and climate conditions. The perfect idea is to pack a soil with the plate compactor, but remember if your soil is sandy, don’t use the gravel.
Vibrate the bubbles
While pouring the concrete, air pockets can get trapped against forms, and it may lead voids into the vertical surfaces. Generally, this does not matter when you are creating driveways or sideways. But on stairs, walls, curbs, or aboveground, it looks like a piece of Swiss cheese. To prevent this, you need to use a 2*4 and plunge along with the forms. Then, tap the sides with the help of a hammer along with all forms.
Avoid using too much water
There is no need to add extra water unless your concrete is too much dry. Carefully measure the water quantity, and if you add too much water, it can weaken the mixture. Extra water can help you make your work easier, but it may make your slab weak.
Floating your edges
Once screeding concrete is complete, it’s time to float. Floating the stones in the mixture pulls the cement and makes the surface smooth as a cream so that you can easily broom or trowel the surfaces without snagging gravel chunks. When creating the driveway or sidewalk, get a helper who can begin floating before the entire screeding is complete. However, if water puddles form on the surface after you screed, you have to delay the floating and wait until the water puddles disappear completely.
Deep cut the control joints
The grooves in the concrete are known as control joints as they control the cracking. The grooves create straight breaks and not the ugly break patterns. These control joints can limit the number of cracks that may appear later. You can make the control joints by plowing the grooves into the wet concrete just after floating, or you can cut them with the saw the next day. Also, you can make a joint with the help of a groover in wet concrete, which is easier and creates less mess.
Water is important for the chemical process because it hardens the concrete. Once you make the concrete hard enough that you can’t make impressions with your fingers, spread the plastic effectively. Eliminate the wrinkles by stretching the plastic and put the weight on edges to avoid moisture escaping. When you notice the drying signs, lift the plastic and sprinkle more water. Depending on the time of the year you should keep the driveway damp for a a couple days upto a week, whereas, for patio or sidewalk, keep it damp for at least 2 – 3 days.
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