Construction of a Driveway
Quality exterior design is essential for any project, whether it’s a new development or an upgrade on an older home. While many people spend a lot of time considering home colors and landscaping, one essential focal point is frequently overlooked: the driveway.
The driveway is not only the primary entrance into your home, but it also serves as the major load-bearer for all of your car traffic. As a result, selecting the appropriate driveway materials and ensuring that they are adhered to is a necessity that no homeowner should overlook.
To connect your house or company to the road, you’ll need a driveway. However, it serves not only a useful but also an aesthetic purpose. It’s the first thing visitors notice as they approach your home, especially if you live in the suburbs or semi-rural areas and have a lengthy driveway linking you to the road. As a result, it’s critical that you think about both design and construction options for your new driveway.
Before you start construction of a driveway, you’ll need to pick what kind of material you want it to be made of. You’ll also need to consider if the driveway will be straight or curved, as well as whether you’ll need curbing, soak wells, drainage, parking spots, or turn-around areas. You could even specify a certain color.
Types of Driveways:
Soil is a weak material that is prone to erosion, puddling, and poor stability when it is not naturally reinforced by roots. As a result, the natural earth cannot sustain the stress that even the most basic driveways are subjected to. Construction of a driveway is done with numerous layers of varied materials and support to combat this.
There are many pros and cons to consider when choosing the proper driveway material for you, with money and longevity being major factors. A simple comparison of the most common driveway kinds is provided below: Gravel, Asphalt, Concrete, and Paver.
- Gravel Driveways:
Gravel is the least expensive option out of all. Not only are materials inexpensive and easy to get by, but any necessary maintenance (such as filling up gaps) may be done with little money, time, or effort. Gravel also allows water to flow back into the soil, making it the least environmentally damaging option. So a gravel driveway can be a classic, low-maintenance, and inexpensive addition to a home.
Gravel has several drawbacks that mirror its advantages. Even though gravel driveways are simple to maintain and fill, they require more attention than any other type of driveway. Gravel driveways are prone to deteriorating from the elements as well as sinking as the driveway’s foundation compacts over time. This may result in more frequent top-offs and a less even surface in general.
- Asphalt Driveways:
Asphalt is a petroleum-based product, it has a unique set of properties to consider. While asphalt is more expensive per square foot than gravel, it is far less expensive than concrete or pavers while being just as robust and lasting up to 40 years.
Asphalt, unfortunately, can be problematic in several regions. Extreme heat will break the asphalt, necessitating routine maintenance. This is due to the fact that heat melts the substance used to make asphalt, causing it to become sticky and flexible before hardening in a weaker form than before. Furthermore, professional seal coating of asphalt is required every 2-5 years, which might be extremely inconvenient.
- Concrete and Paver Driveways:
Although they are both made of the same material, there are just a few variations between concrete and paver driveways. Concrete is a little more fickle because the composition and drying conditions are influenced by both the builder and the climate. Pavers, on the other hand, are made in controlled circumstances where they are all made in the same way and provide optimum drying conditions.
Aside from that, concrete driveways are often the strongest (and most expensive) solutions available. While the increased durability is a selling factor, many people are unable to afford the higher expenses when compared to alternative materials. In addition to the high material prices, paver and concrete driveways are both costly to install, needing numerous hours of labor and additional materials.
Despite their differences, the three have one thing in common: they all require extra reinforcement in the future in order to continue serving in the long run.
A Step-by-Step Guide for Construction of a Driveway:
Here are some steps to keep in mind while constructing a driveway.
Step 1 – Check for underground utilities:
It is vital that you contact relevant authorities for underground examination before moving forward. In this way, you can identify underground utility lines that could obstruct building and excavation plans. This will help you to find any short utility lines that pass through the building zone. If specific lines are impeding construction, you may be able to request for them to be re-positioned or moved from the site.
Step 2 – Survey your land and know your boundaries:
Conduct research on your property, examine land drawings, determine your land boundaries, and mark the location of any underground utility wires surrounding the project area with spray paint.
Step 3 – Excavate topsoil and level out project area:
Excavate topsoil and level the construction area with a shovel or an excavator machine. Generally, you should drill roughly 250mm below ground level.
For a home driveway task like this, a dingo or small excavator would usually suffice; however, if you’re working on a larger driveway that requires more digging, a larger machine, such as a 5 to 7-ton track-mounted excavator, may be required.
Step 4 – Lay wooden forms around the project area, anchored with stakes:
This step entails erecting forms around the project area to guarantee that concrete does not leak outside of the area and is poured into the correct place. Check that your forms are straight and securely fastened.
Step 5 – Add in the sand to firm up the soil and gravel to ensure base thickness:
Fill up the gaps with sand or gravel, and add a thin layer of gravel to ensure the base is thick. Depending on the soil, this should be anywhere from 4 to 10 inches deep.
Step 6 – Lay steel reinforcing mesh or bars:
Reinforce the surface of your foundation by adding mesh or iron (grid pattern). This is a crucial step in securing your driveway.
Step 7 – Pour concrete:
Pour concrete over the frame and properly distribute it over the project area. Depending on the scope of the project, this stage can be completed with a skid steer with a front bucket, a tractor, or a wheelbarrow.
Step 8 – Smooth out, level, and groove the concrete:
Smooth and level the concrete with a trowel and leveler. Using a groover, create straight grooves throughout the driveway, that will help avoid cracks. You can also polish the concrete with a broom, it will create greater non-slip traction, which is ideal in very damp situations. When it rains, a broom finish is recommended to keep your driveway from being too slick.
Step 9 – Let Set and hard concrete:
The concrete must harden either with a specific sealer or by watering every day for a few days after it has set. The concrete setting is a crucial procedure that causes the concrete to harden and gain strength. Poor drying might result in weak cement that degrades and breaks down faster. The time it takes for concrete to dry varies, but it usually takes a few days to set and 1 to 3.5 weeks to harden completely (to full strength). This drying process should not be rushed.
Step 10 – Park your car:
It’s been about a week since you started setting your concrete, and you can now utilize it as a safe park.
So to say, keeping all the above information in mind we may say that construction of a driveway needs both talent and knowledge. Companies that specialize in building entrances have not only the expertise but also the understanding of which materials are most suited for a certain area. Furthermore, this form of building necessitates the use of specialized tools and heavy equipment, which these companies possess, as well as the ability to deal with any unexpected difficulties that may develop during the construction process.