Replacing Settling or Cracked Concrete Driveways
Concrete is formulated to last decades or longer, as we know from looking at concrete structures in Vancouver WA’s, historic neighborhoods. But when driveways become cracked and malformed, it can cause drainage and safety problems. And in order to replace something as permanent as concrete, property owners need the help of a licensed concrete contractor.
These companies have the experience, technical skills, and equipment to efficiently remove and install driveways that are durable, safe, and attractive.
But a job on this scale is something most property owners only have to do once in a lifetime. And before making plans, it’s good to have a clear idea of what the process is like. Here’s an overview of how concrete driveway replacement works.
The Concrete Demolition Process
In some cases, concrete contractors are hired by neighborhood associations or the city of Vancouver to replace sidewalks or driveways that have been damaged by tree roots, weather, or age. However, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of walkways in front of their house for safety reasons.
Before your concrete contractor gets started, they mark where underground utilities are located. Chances are you’ve seen spray painted numbers and arrows on sidewalks before – this is to prevent damage to water and sewer main lines during demolition.
Next, the contractor arranges for their demolition crew to bring in concrete-breaker equipment and demolish the old driveway. This divides the driveway into pieces small enough to be loaded into specialized tractors fitted with large buckets and collected in commercial dump trucks. The discarded pieces of concrete are then taken to a recycling center to be used in future construction projects.
Preparing a Site for the Cement Mixture
When the old driveway has been completely removed, workers begin installing forms to contain the newly poured concrete. The dirt beneath the old concrete must be leveled and cleared of large debris before the cement truck can begin pouring.
Workers also have to think about slopes, curves, corners, and accessibility for the truck. The operator will need to consider the narrowness of the driveway and whether there are any obstructions such as decks, gates, or utility wires before starting.
The workers will also need to consider water flow when setting the forms; directing slopes away from foundations to encourage proper runoff. Typically, there needs to be 2 percent slope from the foundation of the structure, which will direct water to the outer edge of the driveway.
How long does it take to replace a concrete driveway? As with most types of construction, it varies depending on the scale, any unforeseen circumstances, and sometimes even weather. In general, demolition and site preparation for a residential project will require a full workday. The installation will rarely take place on same day as demolition.
Pouring the Concrete
The site needs to be completely ready before the cement truck arrives. This means string lines and gravel, or road base, need to be placed with a gap measured to the desired thickness of the slab. The gravel material then needs to be sprayed with water and compacted with a special machine called a plate compactor.
Areas that are too high or low need to be dug out or refilled with road base and re-compacted to meet the correct measurements indicated by forms and string lines.
Once the area is measured and determined ready, the concrete truck arrives and begins to pour. Any areas that are too narrow for the truck to reach need to be filled by wheelbarrow.
Workers then start to level the “mud” with screed boards and other types of spreading tools, making sure as they go along that there are no low spots. Specialized tools called bull floats and till trowels further refine the leveling.
The final touches on working the surface of the concrete can be sometimes be determined by the weather. If the concrete is in direct sunlight, crews may need to speed up the process so it doesn’t dry too quickly. After the surface has been smoothed, crews use tools like v-jointers, finish trowels, and brooms to create control and expansion joints, edges, and textures.
The crews then pull the forms and restore any obstructive landscaping features back to their original locations. The concrete is then sealed and smoothed to help it resist absorption of water, oil, and spills.
Finally, the area is protected by barrier tape to prevent blemishes caused by walking or driving across the newly sealed concrete.
Call Parker Concrete for driveways that are installed with care and built to last.