Concrete is a popular choice when it comes to paving driveways. It is also an excellent choice for parking lots and garages.
Although you could opt for cheaper alternatives like asphalt or gravel, a concrete driveway comes with some excellent benefits that make it the best choice. To begin with, it has a high weight-bearing capacity that’s capable of withstanding multi-ton vehicles without buckling under pressure. Secondly, this material holds up well to weathering elements. And, while the upfront cost for installing a concrete driveway is higher compared to other options, it requires very little maintenance throughout its lifetime. Therefore, this makes it a less expensive option in the long run that will spare you the cost of frequent concrete driveway replacement.
Concrete Paving Options for Driveways
Generally, you can have a driveway paved with concrete in one of two ways. The first option is molded paving, which involves the use of pavers. These are pre-made concrete blocks that resemble bricks but also come in all shapes and sizes. Pavers require a sturdy compacted gravel base during installation. Laid down by hand, concrete paving blocks create intricate patterns that add to the aesthetic appeal of a driveway.
The other option you have for concrete driveway construction is to pour a single continuous slab into the project area. Once all the prep work is ready, it is a much faster process than laying down single pieces of pavers one by one. What’s more, stamping the poured concrete with decorative patterns before it sets can give the illusion of brick or cobblestone.
If properly maintained, driveways made of concrete can last between two and three decades. The frequency of maintenance required will depend on factors such as:
● Stability of the sub-grade
● The climate of the area
● The type of paving that you choose
Concrete driveway coating can help to slow down wear and tear. If you live in a snowy area like Oshawa, you may want to do this every 1 to 2-years because of exposure to de-icing salts. Local authorities use deicers in winter to maintain roads. The chemicals in these materials make concrete more susceptible to spalling. De-icers end up on driveways when vehicles pick up snow and ice from the roads on the undercarriage.
It is also essential to fix concrete driveway cracks as soon as possible. Doing so prevents further problems like the formation of potholes.
Driveways constructed with concrete blocks are prone to sinking if the ground beneath them erodes. Such sunken sections can be a safety hazard and will require fixing by refilling the subgrade base. Also, pavers may become loose, or grass and weeds may sprout from the tiny crevices between the blocks. With solid concrete driveways, including those with stamped finishing, such problems are avoided because you have one large reinforced piece with no openings where vegetation can invade.
Concrete Driveways Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Concrete Driveway Better than Asphalt?
When used to pave driveways, concrete will last longer with less maintenance compared to asphalt. However, asphalt is cheaper to install and generally easier to repair but will require more maintenance. Therefore, a concrete driveway is the way to go if you want to save money in the long run.
How Long Do I Wait Before Driving on a New Concrete Driveway?
Concrete needs to stay hydrated for it to reach full strength. Our contractors monitor the curing process by keeping the poured slab wet and having it covered with bularp, canvas, or straw. You new concrete driveway should be 90% cured after 7 days, so at this point it is safe to drive on. However, driving over the edges should be avoided since those areas tend to be weak. Concrete cures fully after 28 days. Therefore, it is prudent to wait that long before you can start to park any heavy machinery or equipment on your newly poured concrete driveway.
How Do I Remove Snow/Ice on Concrete Driveway?
Snow can damage a concrete driveway in several ways. When it melts and gets into crevices, the water can freeze, and the expanding ice will cause the concrete to crack. Ice melting on the edges of a driveway can also saturate the ground underneath with water, causing dangerous shifts in the
soil that make the concrete driveway susceptible to more damage. The good news is that you can shovel snow from your driveway to avoid all of these potential problems. Don't use de-icing products or rock salt since that will cause the concrete driveway to pit, crack, and break.
Does a Concrete Driveway Need Sealing?
Sealing concrete is one of the tried and tested ways to protect any decorative finishes that you choose to use on the slab. However, applying a high-quality sealer offers even more benefits for a concrete driveway. The sealer will provide a buffer against snow, grease, oil stains, moisture, and exposure to chemicals. You can either have a penetrating or film-forming sealer applied to your cured concrete driveway to increase its longevity.
After How Long Should a Concrete Driveway be Resealed?
Concrete driveways are quite resilient and can go between four and five years before requiring another sealing coat. A smart move is to have your concrete driveway resealed during the summer months to avoid any damage from rain or snow.
If you are considering having a new concrete driveway installed, replaced, or resealing an existing one, make sure to hire professional contractors to avoid costly mistakes. Get in touch with us today for all your concrete driveway installation and maintenance needs in Oshawa, ON.