Remodeling a driveway or building a new one can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you aren’t aware of the factors that affect the durability and resilience of it. For example, the quality of concrete is among the most important elements that can make or break a project, which is why it’s important for you to get familiar with this material and avoid making a colossal mistake by paying for something that will crack or break fairly soon.
If you’re looking to find quality concrete but aren’t sure what to look for, this article should give you a better insight into the things that make a particular type of concrete worth buying. Take a moment to check out these features, dos, and don’ts, and we guarantee you’ll have a much better idea of what constitutes good driveway concrete.
What Is Concrete?
Before we focus on the types of concrete that you should be looking into, it’s a good idea to start with the definition of the concrete itself. Concrete is a mixture of sand, gravel, and cement. Many people use concrete and cement interchangeably, even though cement is one of the components needed to make concrete.
One of the most important things for the quality of concrete is the correct proportion (ratio) of the above-mentioned materials. In simpler terms, it’s critical that you have the proper balance of gravel, cement, and sand if you want top-quality concrete.
Types of Mixes
Now that you know a bit more about this material, it’s time to look into some types of mixes that are frequently used.
- Rapid Setting
As the name suggests, this particular type sets quickly and is typically used for massive, commercial projects with the goal of decreasing energy consumption and speeding up the schedule as much as possible. Calling it the best concrete for driveway is a bit of a stretch.
Rapid setting concrete is an okay choice for a driveway. It’s slightly more expensive than standard concrete, which is typically not alarming for smaller projects, but the price tends to add up if you’re looking to cover a large surface. As far as quality goes, this type is a relatively safe choice, but the financial aspect will probably be the deciding factor for many homeowners.
Self-leveling concrete is an excellent choice for flat surfaces. Presumably, your driveway is relatively flat, to begin with, so self-leveling concrete might be something you should consider. This type of material features high flow characteristics, meaning it can level on its own without adding more water or having to level it by hand.
Adding more water to the mixture is typically what creates weaknesses in the material, so it’s a great thing that this particular type does not require additional water.
Fiber-reinforced concrete is typically used in areas that are susceptible to harsh weather conditions and freezing winters. Due to the infusion of macro and microfibers in the mixture, this type is ideal for structural design thanks to its incredible durability. With that being said, Florida is definitely not a place where winters are particularly harsh, so this probably shouldn’t be your number one choice for a driveway, although there’s nothing wrong with it per se.
This type is specially made to be significantly more resilient than the rest, which is why it’s typically used in industrial settings to withstand extreme and heavy loads. While it’s not wrong to give this type a go, it’s probably a financial overkill for many homeowners, and it’s simply something that’s slightly overpowered for your personal needs.
- Standard, Ready-Mix
As far as our recommendations go, this particular type is probably your best choice if you’re looking to remodel or build a driveway. This form of concrete is fairly simple to work with, and more importantly – every batch is the same as any other, guaranteeing consistency and quality.
Since this type is always mixed in a controlled environment using the exact ratio of materials every time, it’s one of the safest bets for driveway construction.
Why Should You Opt for Concrete?
Since there are a plethora of other options available at your disposal, many people wonder why they should opt for concrete, especially since it’s (usually) slightly more expensive than other options.
Here are some upsides of having a concrete driveway:
- Low Maintenance
The first thing many people think about is how much time they will have to devote to maintenance. If you’re not keen on messing with your driveway every other day, concrete is your safest option. It’s easy to wash, and you don’t have to worry about trimming rogue bundles of grass that come through the cracks. Furthermore, if you decide to apply a high-quality sealer, you’ll eliminate the possibility of having to deal with mold, grease, and oil stains.
- Design Versatility
Concrete is an excellent material if you’re looking for versatility and design options. In fact, the possibilities are virtually endless since it can be stained or stamped in order to create different patterns, colors, and textures. Think of it as an empty canvas that you’re supposed to fill with your own ideas rather than having to choose between existing patterns and colors. Stamped concrete even gives you the possibility to replicate bricks and other popular shapes.
It’s no secret that concrete is among the most durable materials out there. Furthermore, it’s one of the rare materials that gets stronger over time! For example, asphalt is prone to deterioration and requires repairs every few years due to the lack of structural integrity. Concrete, on the other hand, is a set it and forget it type of material, able to withstand pressure, weight, and harsh weather.
- Low Carbon Footprint
If you’re a person who’s worried about their carbon footprint, concrete is an ideal solution. It takes much less energy to make concrete than, for example, asphalt. On top of that, it’s also a recyclable material, meaning you can use concrete from old driveways and recycle it for your new project.
Remodeling a driveway is a serious endeavor, so you should choose carefully since any errors in judgment will likely cost you money. That means you shouldn’t rush with your decisions, and on top of that, don’t hesitate to consult a team of experts and see whether they have some ideas to offer.
At Cricket Pavers, we strive to make our clients satisfied by providing top-notch services, including installation services ranging from concrete pavers, patio design, pool remodeling, and much more.
If you’re looking for an experienced crew composed of talented people who know exactly what it takes to turn a normal-looking driveway into a piece of art – call us, and we will be more than happy to lend a hand!