Driveway construction introduction
Few projects require so much expertise with concrete like driveways. The problem has to do mainly with the large surface area. The larger the surface, the more difficult it gets to prevent cracks or different issues down the line. Driveways are a common feature of the cityscape and Portland is no exception. While the more technical points of concrete driveway construction are best left to your contractor, there are a few key points that every homeowner should be aware of.
The Trick Is in the Subgrade
The subgrade is the original ground where the driveway will be built. The subgrade needs to be grounded and compacted correctly. It is better to avoid soils that retain a lot of water, such as clays. It is better to have the soil analyzed by an engineer, than to have a cracked driveway down the road. The surface needs to be as flat and as regular as possible, otherwise, there is the possibility that the driveway slabs will not have the same thickness throughout. As a result, the loading capacity will vary, and that could lead to cracking.
Ask your contractor whether adding a sub-base could improve the durability of your project, or how could the ground conditions be improved prior to construction.
When it comes to driveways, choosing high-performance cements is a very good idea. Depending on the weather conditions, the subgrade, and the area of the project, your contractor will help you decide which is the better mix.
Depending on the slope and terrain characteristics, it is sometimes a good idea to add reinforcing steel to the structure.
Curing to Success
The most important aspect of concrete driveway construction is curing. This needs to be done by a professional. Some of the methods she or he will use are adding a membrane-forming compound that will keep the concrete from drying too quickly; covering the concrete with a curing blanket, or sprinkle it regularly. Another point to keep in mind is that the subgrade should be wet before pouring the concrete. A dry subgrade steals moisture away from the mix and defeats the purpose of curing.
As with any large concrete surface, control joints should be cut by your contractor. Decorative elements can be incorporated to the joints by skilled contractors, to give a seamless effect.
A Quick Word about Repairs
Repairing concrete driveways needs a correct assessment of the problem. Small cracks can simply be patched, while issues with the subgrade could require slabjacking. In the most extreme cases, it could be necessary to remove the damaged section and build it anew.
Your contractor can help you make the best choice. Get in touch, right here in Portland!