Are you planning to install an exposed concrete driveway and walk paths on your own? If so, then you need to know that exposed concrete is where you remove the top layer of the set concrete by sandblasting; you are left with a weathered, pebbled look which is just perfect for driveways.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid some of the common mistakes that people generally make while installing exposed concrete.
· Estimate: One of the mistakes that most people make when using concrete is in underestimating how much converted they need for the job on hand. This is why it makes sense to get in touch with the professionals and get it done rather than attempt to do it yourself since you can be sure that the professionals will get the estimate right from the word ‘go’.
As a general rule, you need to aim for 4-inch thickness for sidewalks and paths, 6 or more inches for driveways and aim for more since you are going for exposed concrete. And when it comes to commercial driveways, go for 6 to 10 inches. You can use a concrete calculator to estimate accurately how much concrete you would need for the job at hand and remember, installing too thin concrete will cause it to crack and collapse from the strain.
· Mix: If you are going to opt for exposed concrete, it is important that you get the mix right. Using too little water will cause the mix to be too powdery and as a result, it will lose all moisture while you are in the middle of the installation. You need to use the right proportion of water to make the concrete mixture and keep in mind that concrete sets more quickly during summer and periods of high humidity.
· Equipment: Once you have mixed the concrete, it needs to be poured and applied right away; you will not have any time to rush to any hardware store to get tools or equipment for applying the concrete. So, make sure that you have all the right equipment at the job site when you start mixing the concrete. Since concrete takes anywhere from 7 to 14 days to cure, you can actually add a few admixtures to the concrete mix to help ‘cure’ it faster as this should trim that time frame to just a few days. But it is important that you purchase and have all the equipment you think you will need before you start mixing the concrete in.
· Preparation: One of the reasons for concrete to develop cracks after it had set in is because the person who poured it in did not take the time to prepare the location. It is essential that you clear the area in question of topsoil, remove all detritus including plant roots and then use gravel to pack the soil in and to make it level and compact. Once you have done this, you should be able to pour the concrete and get it to set. Pouring concrete without preparing the ground beforehand can cause the concrete to shift later as the soil settles and develop cracks.
· Water: It is important that you drain all standing water from the ground before attempting to pour concrete in. Please remember that concrete requires hydration for the curing process but pouring concrete into wet soil may have the opposite effect and prevent it from setting. This is why it is important that you ensure that the soil is dry and that you use gravel as a base as it can help any excess water to drain away.