For many people, concrete is just concrete. However, there are numerous types of concrete that have a range of characteristics - longevity and strength being the most important. How concrete is installed also plays a role in your driveway's longevity. In this post, we’ll go over why concrete paving projects are actually more complex than they might seem.
Properly installed concrete will serve your property for decades. And that starts with the right preparation. A serious contractor will dig up the topsoil first. Organic topsoil doesn’t have the ability to carry load and it’s inevitable that it will shift over time, which will break the concrete.
After digging, it’s necessary to compact the subsoil so the pavement has stable ground to be built on. These two steps are necessary because there isn’t much use in building a perfect slab that’s just going to sink into the soft soil and break.
Then comes the base layer, a well granulated layer of gravel, compacted thoroughly to provide a strong, flat base for the concrete. Only after that, can we start talking about the most important part of your pavement - the concrete.
There are various types of concrete which are marked by total yield strength. 3500 PSI is the industry standard which provides the necessary quality, strength, and longevity for your hardscape project, along with a reasonable price. Higher PSI concrete is required if you have an exceptionally heavy vehicle, such as an RV. Going lower than 3500 PSI means risking cracks and surface damage that can’t be repaired unless the whole slab is replaced.
To ensure delivery of such specs, we only use the best concrete available. Lower quality concrete is not only weaker, it’s also more susceptible to damage from chemicals (think of fuel and oil on a driveway or other chemicals), salt, and water.
While the price of cheaper concrete might seem attractive on paper, the consequences of improper concrete installation are dire. Never use a contractor who cuts corners and isn't invested in giving you the best results. Disregarding any component of a quality paving job will definitely show, sooner or later.
An improper base or sub-base will cause shifting and break or crack even the best concrete. A low spec mix of concrete will crack and deteriorate, only getting worse over time. And inadequate drainage will not only destroy a driveway or a patio, but could even damage the foundation of the house itself.
None of these factors should be taken lightly. That’s why we employ engineers who carefully examine the on-site data to choose the best pavement for your needs. We also take care of drainage, irrigation, and always follow the local laws and regulations.