ADD VALUE TO YOUR HOME WITH PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION
A professionally installed driveway and/or walkway is a low maintenance home improvement that offers curb appeal, gives kids a safe place to play, decreases soil erosion, and adds value to your home. Conversely, a poor installation looks bad, is costly, and can even be a safety concern. We strongly recommend using a professional contractor for concrete or asphalt jobs.
REPAIR OR REPLACE?
One of the first questions to consider is whether to repair your existing walk or drive, or install a new one. While repair jobs are generally less costly, there are a few drawbacks to consider. For example, it is very difficult to match the color of newer concrete to older due to aging and variation in materials. This could be especially important if your project will be visible. Be sure to consult your contractor for a full list of pros and cons.
DESIGN YOUR PROJECT WITH THE END RESULT IN MIND
For drives, specifically, where will you turn your car around and enter the street? Is your home located on a busy street, where a circular drive would be safer? Are you building on a hill? Have you considered drainage to decrease erosion? In general, drives should slope a quarter-inch per running foot to help with drainage; but make sure that the planned grade is not too steep, which could potentially cause vehicles to “bottom out.” What obstructions, such as large rocks or trees, will be in the way? Since moving these requires more equipment, time, and money, it may be best to design around them.
BEGIN WITH A SOLID FOUNDATION
Soft or loose soils need amending to support your drive or sidewalk, preventing issues down the road. Make sure your contractor adds sand or gravel, and/or mechanically compacts the existing material if needed, to create a suitable base.
CONCRETE IS THE MOST COMMON OPTION FOR WALKWAYS AND DRIVEWAYS
Concrete choices have increased over the years to include many options, like colored cement and decorative or painted concrete. Some homeowners also turn to asphalt as a cost effective alternative. While homeowners have several options, the traditional grey concrete remains one of the most common and durable residential applications, particularly for walkways and driveways.
USE HIGHER PSI FOR DRIVEWAYS
Concrete grade is defined by the strength of the concrete as measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Generally, the higher the psi, the stronger and more durable the concrete will be. For driveway applications we recommend at least 3,000 psi, though 4,000 psi is an even better choice.
EXAMINE CONTRACTS CLOSELY
We recommend getting multiple quotes, particularly on larger projects. Be sure to compare estimates line-by-line to make sure you can make an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Look for variations in rebar, wire, pumps, dumpsters, PSI levels, gravel, etc.
PLAN FOR LANDSCAPING AROUND YOUR PROJECT
Concrete and asphalt installations require heavy equipment and a lot of foot-traffic through your yard, so be sure to plan for the added cost of sod installation or landscaping that may need to be done once your project is complete.
MANAGE WATER RUNOFF TO INCREASE THE LIFE OF YOUR PROJECT
Improperly installed gutters and downspouts can result in water runoff along the sides of your driveway or walkway, resulting in soil erosion and, ultimately, failure of the concrete or asphalt. Be sure to address these problems immediately.
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