Concrete driveways are low maintenance, attractive, and relatively inexpensive additions to your property. They provide places for children to play basketball, ride bikes, and enjoy games as well as a safe, clean place to park cars. The value of the property will increase substantially with the addition of a concrete driveway.
Planning and options
The owner needs to plan the driveway configuration to make sure the driveway is both functional and attractive. Proper drainage is vital to decrease ice buildup and erosion. Think about how you are going to exit the driveway to the street and how to make it safer. Sometimes a circular driveway will be safer and more attractive than a straight one. Decide these options before contracting the work because amending the plans can be expensive, leading to unexpected overrides.
The type of soil on the lot can make a difference. If the soil is easily compacted, amendments need to be made to ensure a secure base for the driveway. In areas that freeze, often gravel and rock foundations as well as flex seams to prevent cracking may be needed. Sometimes owners prefer to put reinforcing steel rebar or wire fabric beneath the slab to increase its strength.
Ordinarily four inches of concrete is enough to put in a slab to provide strength and durability. Some local governments, though, have specific requirements for the driveway, particularly the segments that connect to the street. Check with the local government to determine any variations to the norm that may be necessary.
Contractors usually obtain the necessary permits for building the driveway, but the owner may have to have a plan, including access to the right-of-way and considering buried utilities and drainage.
Cost of the driveway will be based upon the amount of concrete required, forms, and reinforcement material needed to prepare the area for the concrete slab. Typically, a plain driveway for a two-car garage will cost in the area of $3,000 to $4,000 and a three-car garage in the area of $5,000 to $6,000. Remember that colored or embossed surfaces will add to the overall cost as will any deviation from the basic two or three car slab. It is best to be knowledgeable about the square footage planned to be covered as well as soil conditions, governmental requirements, plan and permits needed to complete the project. An informed owner can prepare, plan, and avoid costs that ‘pop up’ unexpectedly to affect their budget.
After the work is done on the driveway, a certain amount of time is needed to ‘cure’ the concrete. It cannot dry too quickly because that that affect the integrity of the job. Rain can cause peeling of the surface layer. Most contractors cover the area with a heavy polyurethane sheet to allow the concrete time to dry properly. Estimate three to four days after completion for this. The owner must be aware of this amount of time so plans to use the driveway and garage can be delayed enough time to allow this curing to take place.