There are not many better ways to improve your property than by installing a concrete patio or driveway. A concrete slab allows a solid foundation for an outdoor structure or a new garage and also provides a space for outdoor furniture and a location for gatherings. However, as you prepare to install and add in your new concrete slab, keep some important recommendations in mind. Here are some tips to help you install and take care of your concrete driveway or patio.
Allow For Proper Installation
As you plan to install a new concrete pad for a patio or a concrete driveway, you need to make sure the soil and sub-base are made of a supportive material that drains well. Because your concrete slab is going to be solid but still able to sustain cracking, the foundation it sits upon needs to provide drainage when the soil gets saturated during rainstorms and during the spring thaw. If proper drainage does not occur, the soil can become over-saturated and expand, especially when it freezes, resulting in expansion and upward pressure on your concrete slab.
If you handle your own foundation preparation, be sure you test the soil for drainage and add in sand or crushed gravel when it is needed. This is a standard preparation for a concrete slab, but make sure your concrete professional includes the foundation prep as part of their work estimate.
Next, it is a good idea to make sure your concrete slab is the right thickness for the type of use it is for. For example, if you are planning a garden patio or residential driveway, you only need two inches of concrete. However, if you plan to use the slab for the foundation of a shed or garage or it will be used as a driveway or parking pad for heavy vehicles, such as a tractor-trailer or semi-truck, the slab will need to be three to four inches thick.
It is important to do all you can to prevent damage to your concrete surface. Take care you don't use harsh chemicals to remove snow and ice in winter, as some types of ice melt can cause spalling and cracking in concrete. However, damage occurs to concrete and should be repaired early on to prevent further deterioration.
Spalling can be corrected and filled in to restore your concrete surface, and cracks can be filled. Then, you can also apply a stain or sealant to your concrete to help it keep its integrity. Talk to your concrete contractor about repairing and protecting your concrete slab.