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Guide to Building a Concrete Driveway for a Sustainable Home

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There are a lot of factors that you have to take into consideration when you are trying to build an eco-friendly home. One of the most important issues is the importance of using renewable energy. However, this factor often gets brought up at the expense of everything else.

There are other important factors to focus on when creating a sustainable home. Your driveway is going to be one of them. You need to use eco-friendly materials and processes to construct your driveway.

You also have to make sure the driveway will be resilient against the elements. This will reduce the amount of materials and energy that you will need to replace or maintain it in the future.

One of the greenest options is concrete. This may surprise a lot of people, because the material itself doesn’t seem so eco-friendly. However, the fact that it can last for decades makes it a greener long-term option. There are also more ways to make concrete better for the environment these days.

In the US, around 91.3% of households have access to one or more vehicles.

Parking on the street isn’t always ideal, so you might be thinking about building a concrete driveway. It is quite a labor-intensive task, but with the right equipment and understanding, it’s something you can more than likely take care of.

For our guide on how to build a concrete driveway, keep reading. 

How to Build a Concrete Driveway

A driveway can be very helpful, especially if you live somewhere with limited on-street parking. There are a number of steps that need to be carried out correctly if you want to produce a high-quality driveway that is free of cracks or uneven areas.

1. Make a Plan

The first thing you need to do is find out if you need a permit to build a new driveway. After that, you can plan the size and shape of your driveway.

Once you have the dimensions, you can use a concrete yards calculator to work out how much concrete you need. Once you’ve done that, you should decide on the materials for forms and stakes. With this, you can calculate a cost estimate of a new driveway construction.

Use clay to firm up the base of your driveway if it’s too loose, and sand or gravel to level it out if needed. A vibratory plate compactor can help with this.

2. Prepare Your Driveway

Use stakes to mark the layout of your driveway and ensure it matches up to your plan. Anchor your forms to the stakes. These are typically 1 x 4-inch pieces of wood, but you will need plywood or masonite if there are any curves in your driveway.

Excavate the soil and add roadbase to stabilize the base. Note that roadbase isn’t always necessary, but it does help. The base should be at least 4 inches thick, so check this all around and use filler material to make any adjustments where necessary.

Compact the fill material using a plate compactor. Adding a small amount of water can help with this step. If you are using any steel to reinforce your driveway this is the point to add it.

3. Pour and Cure Concrete

You can now pour the concrete. You can do this with a wheelbarrow, but it is quite labor-intensive, so for a larger driveway, a concrete truck may be better. Other methods include:

  • Skid steer
  • Tractor
  • Engine-powered wheelbarrow

Before the concrete dries, make sure it is flat (this is not the same as level). You can do this with a hand trowel. You’ll then want to add 1-inch deep contraction joints roughly every 4 feet to stop the driveway from cracking as it dries.

To help your vehicle get traction (especially in wet conditions), you can texture the driveway by dragging a broom or a sack across the concrete as it is drying.

You can cure the concrete using a moisture-retaining barrier. Plastic sheeting or a chemical compound will make sure the concrete doesn’t dry too quickly. Allow at least 3-7 days for this process to finish.

Now your driveway should be ready for use. The first time you park on it check for any signs of cracks or crumbling, which you may be able to repair. Remove the wooden framing, and you are finished.

Follow the Right Practices to Create a Driveway for Your Eco-Friendly Home

You have to plan carefully when creating a green home. One of the most important things to do is make sure that you use the right procedures to create a driveway.

While this guide explains how to build a concrete driveway for your green home, there are still several mistakes that can easily be made. Throughout the whole process, you need to ensure you are taking a lot of care, otherwise, your driveway may not come out how you want it to.

For more DIY guides, check out some of our other blogs.

Daniel Gray is a writer at Siege Media and BigRentz.com.

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