Remodeling Tips and Reviews

How to Install a Concrete Driveway

How to Install a Concrete Driveway

Jan 5, 2012

Pouring a concrete driveway is not a small job. It requires a certain amount of skill working with concrete and some tools and machinery to make sure it’s done right.  Bearing that in mind I thought I would cover the fundamentals as well as some of the tools needed.

Demolition of old concrete driveway

The old driveway, if there is one, has to be removed. This would take a very long time to doimag0654 by hand. If you have a small driveway a jack hammer and a few trips to the local dump might be fine. But, for a normal driveway you will need to use a skid steer loader and a dump truck to haul off the concrete. Expect this to take a few loads and you may have to pay a disposal fee. Check with your local waste disposal. You may be able to locate a concrete plant that takes clean old concrete, though most won’t take rebar mixed in with it. There are plenty of companies you can hire to haul the concrete off for you. Simply call around and check rates.  Ours ran a few hundred dollars for the service.

Concrete was installed by Dallas Concrete Solutions.

Once all the concrete is up you will want to grade the driveway with the Skid Steer Loader to a more level surface. This may involve moving soil around to change angles and elevations for the new driveway. Think about water run off to make sure you won’t have problems with your new drive. You may also need to bring in sand to adequately level the new driveway foundation. To make sure you pack in the soil the bobcat should be run over it several times.

Forming the new driveway

Forming is nothing more than running a series of 2×4’s or plywood end to end in a straight

or curved line depending one what you want you new drive to look like. These are staked every few feet into the ground and run in  perimeter around the new driveway area. Take time to string off the perimeter so the new drive will look straight. Also pay attention to leveling from one side to the other. You may want to slope it down on one side to allow for water to run in a particular direction.

Rebar to Reinforce the Concrete Driveway

#2 rebar is fine for the average driveway and can be bought pretty cheaply at any local hardware store. The rebar should be spaced out in a grid about every 12″. Doesn’t need to be perfect so you can do this by eye. Once a section is laid out the rebar should be tied together using concrete ties. There is a special concrete tool that has a small hook on the end to spin the ties into place quickly. You will then want to use concrete plastic chairs, these float the rebar about 2″ from the ground like legs. You purchase a bag when you installing the rebar.  Once the entire drive has been laid out in a grid the driveway is ready for concrete.

Pouring Concrete in a Driveway

Unless this is a small driveway ( less than 10×10) and you can manage it with bags ( roughly 25- 30 bags per 75sf) then you will need to call in a truck. You will also need to estimate how much concrete you will need. The rule of thumb is a 3.5″ thick slab in a  10×10 area takes about 1.25 yards of concrete. So if your driveway is 9’x100′ then you would take 900/100 and multiply that by 1.25 to get a rough idea of 11.25 yards of concrete. That is more than a truck full. Most trucks hold about 8-9 yards ( thus the expression.. the whole nine yards). You will need this info to get pricing from a concrete company. Concrete is currently around $100/yard ( plus wait time, which is how long they sit on your job). When the truck arrives they will have to back up close to the drive or in the alley and you will have to use the bobcat to ferry concrete back and forth or wheel barrows. You will want rubber boots to move the concrete around as well as a concrete . As the concrete is dumped into place someone will have to spread it around and use a 

concrete placer tool and a straight 2×4 cut to the width of the pad to screed the concrete.

Once the concrete is in place you will need a large bull float to smooth out the concrete. Keep in mind the hotter it is the faster the concrete will set up, when it gets above 100 degrees it can set up almost instantly. One a normal day, once the concrete is poured there will be a wait of an hour or more for the concrete to dry out. You can’t work with the finish until all the loose water has dried out from the surface and you are dealing with a thicker mix. When we poured the drive in the images below the wait was 2 hours on a 56 degree day.  The large Bull float will need to be run back and forth over the surface of the concrete floating it out to a smooth finish. A hand float can be used to clean it up as needed. Once you have floated it to where you like it you will want a brush finish to give your driveway some grip. You will also want to run an edge

rounding tool around the edges to clean up the look of the concrete as well as a divider tool to create seams for cracks. If you don’t install seam lines around every 10′ you will have cracks that you can’t control. Seam lines help the cracks stay in a straight line.  Keep in mind you can always cut seams with a saw after the concrete has set up.


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