How To Build Your Own Driveway
There are few things that go into preparing to build your own driveway.
The first thing you need to do is to scope out the size you want your driveway to be. Using a measuring tape, establish the square foot area you will need to excavate. To do this, measure the width and the length and multiply the two together.
Now its time to get an estimate of the cost.
These are the following items and materials you will probably need in order to build your own driveway.
- Measuring tape
- Cement mixer
- Wooden stakes,
- Large pieces of four by two wood
- Gum boots
The cost of these may vary depending on where you go to purchase these but your best bet is your local home depot. If you are really going to put in the hard yards for this project, you will need to purchase enough equipment to excavate the land where the concrete will be poured.
If you are tearing up an old driveway and excavating the land below it, you will need to set aside a good week to do this. In our opinion, it is probably cheaper to just hire a crew to do the excavation rather than you needing to hire all the equipment and spending all the time doing this yourself.
You will also need to check if your are actually legally allowed to build your own driveway without a permit. This will vary from country to country and from state to state. You can find this information at your government or state website.
This may seem strange but these laws exist mainly to prevent any side effects to the local environment or any interference to water mains and electrical wirings.
Before we go any further, the first thing you must do is check the weather. Ideally, any construction on the driveway should be done in summer or whenever there is the least amount of rain. Once you are as sure as can be that you will will have a few good days of sunshine, you can move onto the other steps.
You will need to measure out the dimensions you would like your driveway to be. Take into account the car size and if you would like to have any turning bays. Once you measure out the dimensions place your stakes at each corner and tie your rope from one stake to another. Eventually, you should have a box like outline.
Now that you have a clear outline of your driveway, you can start excavating the soil. Most standard driveways are at least 4 inches thick so you will want to remove this much soil before you do anything else.
Once all the soil is removed you want to start compacting the soil bed. This is perhaps one of the most important steps. If the soil is not compacted on the bottom, your driveway will be highly susceptible to sinkage and future cracking. You should hire or purchase a soil compactor and ensure the soil bed is dense and compacted.
4. Installing Four by Two
Line the edges of the excavated hole with your four by two. The end result will basically be an excavated hole surrounded by a wooden wall leading up to the surface.
5. Begin Pouring Your Concrete
Make sure your concrete is thoroughly mixed and once this is done, you are ready to start pouring. Fill you excavated driveway with concrete until it reaches the top. In order to pour this much concrete before in an even manner before it dries, we highly recommend hiring a concrete contractor. If you decide to do this yourself, you will need to hire a concrete mixer and pourer along with having to calculate how much concrete your project will require.
6. Even Out The Surface
Use a broom (that you don't mind getting dirty) and brush over the surface while the concrete is still wet. Don't apply to much pressure to prevent leaving big ripples. If done correctly, this brushing effect should even out the surface and create a nice look on your new driveway.
In order to prevent the driveway from drying out too fast and eventually cracking you should apply a curing chemical to the surface. Apply the concrete curing chemical to your driveway's surface while it is still wet, especially if there is hot weather.
Leave your driveway to sit for at least three days, however, seven is preferable.
9. Test Run
Once the time is up, give your driveway a test run and see how it copes with a car on top of it.
10. Remove The Wood
All going well, you should be ready to remove the wood placed on the outer edges of your once empty hole that is now your driveway. After you have removed the wood, fill the gaps with soil.
If all this is done correctly, you should have a nice looking, brand new driveway. It is hard work and at times it's not pretty, but building your own concrete driveway really can be a rewarding achievement once all is said and done.