On a small scale, concrete is easy to work with, but if you are building an entire driveway, it can be challenging. You will need to plan and prepare before you start the project, or you may encounter issues that may affect the look and stability of your driveway. In fact, if you’re building a big driveway, you may need to break it down into smaller manageable sections using 2×4’s.
Once you set the plan and layout of your driveway, you can now start building the forms, but make sure that it is level and graded for drainage. This will prevent rain puddles from forming beneath the concrete. Make sure you set a gravel base in your area and use a compacting machine to level it.
Another important thing to do is to check the gravel thickness and ensure the form is about 4″ in diameter. It is recommended that you set a taller slab since it will be stronger and let the gravel extend under the edges of the forms. Learn more here about increasing concrete strength.
Also, if you have an existing concrete sidewalk, you may need to install isolation joint strips. Attach these strips to your existing slab or sidewalk using hardened concrete nails or concrete adhesive.
Pouring a concrete driveway
When pouring concrete on the driveway, you will need to dampen the gravel thoroughly. Start placing concrete at one area of the form, then use a shovel to spread it until it covers the whole section.
It is also essential to compact the concrete into all corners with a square shovel or hoe. However, don’t overwork the concrete since this will push the heavy aggregate to the bottom of the form and may even bring up particles to the surface that can cause defects in your concrete driveway.
Striking the concrete
To strike off the concrete, you must use a board (2×4 straight wood) that you will slowly move along the form using sawing and side-to-side motion. This process will effectively level the concrete, but you may need to make two passes. You can let your helper shovel excess concrete into the side and corners to save time if necessary.
Smoothing the concrete in your driveway surface
After striking off the surface, you smooth it more by using a bull float or darby. Then, start smoothing those high spots and filling small hollows left on the surface after striking off. It is recommended that you do overlapping strokes to ensure that there is no gap or uneven section on the driveway’s surface.
The final and one of the most important steps is to edge the concrete because this will help resist chipping and prevent tripping accidents. To do this, you will need to run a mason’s trowel on the outer edges of the slab form. Try to run it a few times till you compact and smooth the edges.
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