How Proper Prep Results to Crack-Free Concrete  

A well laid concrete driveway should last for decades, and even though good finishing techniques will make your slab look great, for a while that is, performing the proper ground prep will ensure that your concrete remains crack-free for many years. Here are some guidelines on how you can avoid residential concrete repair and prepare the site for a pour.

Having A Good Base Is Everything!

Concrete will eventually start to crack and crumble when it is not poured over a solid and stable base. Having a 4 to 6-in. compact-able base is the general rule of thumb, however, the exact amount of base a driveway needs greatly depends on the condition of your pre-e existing soil, climate, and what you park on your driveway.

You may be able to get away pouring directly over sandy or gravelly soil without having to bring in an additional base. However, if you live in a cold climate, and are considering pouring over either a heavy clay or organic soil, or you plan on parking heavy vehicles on your driveway, you should increase the base layer to 10 or 12-in.

Compacting Each Layer of Base

You need to make anywhere between three to four passes with a compactor every time you add 2-inches of base. Use a vibrating plate compactor instead of the type that jumps up and down, which is often referred to as a jumping jack. These are designed to compact soil when backfilling trenches, and not to compact a base.

Dampening the Base

A dry base will never compact well. So if you are preparing the base layer in dry conditions, make sure you add some moisture by spraying down each layer with a garden hose if you want to achieve maximum compaction. Check to see if the base material you are using has enough moisture by taking a handful and compressing it into a ball. If it retains its shape, then all is good to go. Add some water if it crumbles. Also, know that an oversaturated base will not compact either, so do not spray so much water so it begins to pool.

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss residential concrete repair work, please contact Eua of AK Concrete at (907) 744-8927 now, if you live in the Anchorage, AK region.

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