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Things to Avoid When Installing a Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveway installation is considerably more complicated than it appears. Before concrete gets poured, there is a long preparation process. Homeowners must plan concrete procurement, site preparation, tools, weather forecast, placement procedure, form removal, and curing. This will be fully dependent on specific factors of the work site. We’ve gathered the nine most frequent errors individuals make while installing concrete in Plano to assist you in avoiding some expensive and aggravating problems.

1. Forgetting to Check Exactly How Much Concrete You Need

A lot of people underestimating how thick the concrete must be for their project. Decorative or non-load-bearing concrete may be more or less superficial. Still, precise measurements are required for floors, foundations, driveways, and load-bearing supports.

The thickness of reinforced concrete is determined by how much weight it can support. For example, suppose you have a driveway that is used by a lot of trucks or trailers. In that case, the foundation will need to be thicker than if you only have a driveway for a four-door car.

For residential driveways in Plano, sidewalks, and other similar surfaces, the minimum thickness is 4-6 inches. Commercial driveways and loading docks with a thickness of 8 to 10 inches are typical. Thicknesses ranging from 10 to 12 inches are standard for commercial parking lots.

2. Forgetting Best Site Preparation Practices

It’s tempting to get started on the concrete work as soon as possible in Plano. However, making a mistake with site preparation may cause issues. Take the time to prepare the area for optimal performance.

Your Plano contractor should spread concrete on a flat, well-drained, and compacted surface for the most effective results. To remove soft top dirt and any roots that might obstruct future concrete creation, some land clearing is required.

After that, The crew must remove the dirt. It is more common to remove soil rather than add it. Several inches of gravel are frequently laid on top of the mess and compacted to prevent the concrete from shifting and cracking.

Gravel also aids in water drainage that can accumulate beneath the concrete structure. However, water may cause the ground to expand, resulting in the concrete shifting and cracking. Building a drainage channel around the concrete is essential for water to flow around and away from it.

Concrete formwork should only be utilized after the surface is completely flat and compact.

3. Forgetting to Overestimate How Much Concrete to Buy

Concrete dries quickly, so there’s no time to make mistakes or adjust once it’s poured. When ordering concrete, don’t try to save money or be exact. Be conservative and add a little more concrete than you think you’ll need. If the measurements were off, the extra concrete would come in handy. The driver would take back any remaining concrete if the measures were spot on.

4. Not Knowing Which Reinforcements Are Best for Your Projects

In Plano, concrete is a solid and durable material, but it can crack over time. To prevent this, some people reinforce concrete with steel. This makes the concrete more robust and more resistant to cracking. Steel is also easy to work with, so it’s a popular choice.

Steel is solid, and concrete can hold much weight without getting squished. You get reinforced concrete, an even more substantial material for buildings when you put them together.

Reinforced concrete is a versatile material that builders can construct tall structures. However, installers may also utilize it in projects that are not as large. Reinforced concrete may make driveways, stairwells, and even bridges stronger and longer-lasting.

5. Not Knowing That There are Different Types of Concrete

Concrete may appear to be a straightforward substance, but it is far more complicated than it seems. Depending on the goal of your Plano concrete project, it may require various mix designs. The three fundamental components of concrete are Portland cement, water, and sand or gravel. Four different types of portland cement can be used depending on the project at hand. 

Beyond the three essential components, there are other chemicals known as admixtures. Admixtures provide concrete additional characteristics or strengths and are used for various applications.

There are seven types of admixtures.

Retardants prevent the concrete from setting too quickly, just as accelerating additives delay the rate at which it does. They’re instrumental in hot weather since dry concrete makes it harder and faster than planned.

Water-reducing admixtures alter the water/cement ratio to make workable concrete with the characteristics of concrete made with less water and a more concentrated cement paste.

Air entrainment, also known as air admixture, is a concrete additive that enhances the material’s resistance to the freeze-thaw cycle and reduces cracking. Air entrainment provides various other benefits and improved workability, more extended durability, reduced bleeding, and reduced segregation.

Admixtures that reduce shrinkage fight concrete shrinkage and crack formation when it dries, reducing cracking and improving durability.

Superplasticizers temporarily improve the workability of low-slump concrete, making it simpler to pour and place. Superplasticizers only have a 30 to 60-minute effect before the concrete reverts to its original state of poor fluidity and becomes almost impossible to work with.

Corrosination inhibiting admixtures are particularly beneficial for underwater construction and structures exposed to the weather, such as highway bridges and parking garages. Anywhere where the concrete has increased chances of rusting, it is a good idea to use these. 

Accelerator admixtures accelerate the curing process, which might take anything from 3 to 14 days. This is particularly advantageous when installing new concrete in extreme weather situations. The curing process is critical for concrete’s maximum strength and can be influenced by cold temperatures.

6. Forgetting to Add Steel Mesh

Steel mesh is a popular concrete reinforcement option in Plano because it may be bent to fit a wide range of forms, such as columns or walls. On the other hand, steel mesh should go in the center of the concrete. Before the steel mesh can be placed on top of the concrete, half of it should be poured. The remaining portion of the concrete will then be streamed over. Because of the weight of this concrete, steel mesh will sink towards the center, with less or more in the middle.

7. Forgetting to Have Support in Place for Your Forms

Concrete forms maintain the fluid concrete in its proper form until it has time to support its weight after completely hardening and drying. Forms must have tight connections to prevent concrete from seeping through and must be sturdy enough to keep the concrete in place.

Forms must be level when necessary and have adequate support or bracing. The finished concrete product will be correctly shaped if the concrete forms are well built, influencing its overall strength and durability.

There are many different forms, but the most common type is made from softwoods like spruce, fir, and pine. When using wood forms, it is essential to smooth the side that will contact the concrete. It would help if you also created a watertight tongue-and-groove joint. Tools can support forms to keep the concrete in place before it gets complicated.

To make it easy to remove the forms, you should treat them with light-bodied petroleum oil. The oil will stop the concrete from sticking to the form, and it will also prevent the form from absorbing water which could cause it to warp. The concrete will naturally contract slightly during the curing process, pulling away from the form.

8. Not Knowing How Many People Should Help You

Concrete is a quickly decaying material. Concrete’s flexibility only lasts for a short time. Don’t try to pour and finish concrete on your own because you will have to spend a lot of money to fix any mistakes, and it will take a long time. Please make sure it is done the first time correctly or not.

You should reach out to as many people as possible and encourage them to participate. When you think you have enough people, look for more. If any parts of the project aren’t done yet, make sure you have extra help so that it gets done right. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

9. Forgetting to Have All Necessary Equipment

Plano contractors may only work concrete for a limited period after it has been poured. When putting concrete in place, careful planning is required. Suppose you don’t have the appropriate equipment on hand. In that case, you might have lower-quality installation and wasted time, effort, and money. There is no time to go to the hardware store and get a forgotten item, and there’s no time to test non-concrete-related tools.

Make sure you have all the tools you need and that everyone knows how to use them before starting to install concrete. Some standard tools are industrial-grade wheelbarrows, trowels designed for concrete, a darby, bull float or hand float, a screed board, a concrete rake and broom, protective boots, and gloves.