What makes a new concrete surface last? That’s an important question to ask if you are planning on installing a new driveway, walkway, patio or pool deck. Here in southern California, our hardscapes are as important as our landscapes and they can be a substantial investment. To get your money’s worth, and to make sure that every concrete surface stands up to all the use your family requires, it’s got to be done right.
So what is “right”? I’ll give you a hint: It’s all about the process. Your contractor should begin by assessing the type of soil you have in the area where the concrete will be poured. Yes, there are different types. The coastal topography along the 5 is way different than the hills that border the 15, and what’s under the surface is just as different. Take a look at this soil map put together for southern California’s Regional Transportation Plan. The soils underneath Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties range from coarse sand to clay and bedrock, and concrete poured on one will behave differently than concrete poured on another.
Then ask your contractor about both control and expansion joints. As their name indicates, control joints are something that a contractor should put in a concrete installation to control cracking. Expansion joints let the slab move without affecting whatever it’s next to, whether that’s your house, garage or even the coping by the pool deck. A common error with new concrete pours is insufficient placement of both control and expansion joints. When the right joints are used in the right places, you’ll have less cracking.
Finally, ask your contractor about sealing, something that’s not always offered in a new pour. Do yourself a big favor and add that to your work order.
My new concrete is already cracking
Cracks happen, even with the best of planning. Here in southern California, we have earthquakes to thank for some of that. But cracks in newly poured concrete don’t have to mean a costly repair, or worse, a full-scale replacement. The Driveway Company has developed a range of techniques to keep even small cracks from becoming big problems.
As we have noted, one of the most helpful things you can do to preserve the life of your concrete driveway and other concrete hardscaping is regular sealing of both slabs and joints with a high quality, industrial-grade sealant. We recommend resealing every 2-4 years depending on how heavily the surface is used and the weight placed on it, and we even send our clients reminders for maintenance.
New or not, The Driveway Company of SoCal can diagnose and fix a wide range of issues with concrete driveways. Give us a call today.