Tips on choosing the right concrete driveway professional for the job
Not only will the right contractor be able to deliver a professional job according to your budget and on schedule, they will also save you time and money in the long run, as a poorly laid concrete driveway will quickly begin to cause problems.
Here, we provide some tips on choosing the right concrete driveway contractor for your job, as well as a guide to the different types of concrete driveways available.
1. Seek recommendations from neighbours, friends and family
Talk to those who have had a new concrete driveway put in – do they have a concrete driveway professional that they are happy to recommend? Also, ask if you could have a look at the work that has been carried out. In this instance, it is better to ask those who put in their driveway a few years ago rather than just recently, as it will give you a chance to see if the driveway has stood the test of time.
2. Ask to inspect the work of any contractor you are considering
When doing so, don’t just pay attention to the overall appearance of the work. Check the condition of the concrete and look for holes and cracks that might indicate that the concrete wasn’t mixed or cured properly. Textured finishes should be even and free from any imprints, and patio edges should be straight and even with no cracks.
3. Make sure quotes are detailed
Besides checking current references and appropriate insurance cover, you also need to ensure that quotes provided by potential concrete driveway contractors include the following items:
· Site preparation and excavation
· Removal of old debris
· Slab thickness
· Surface finishes
· Tints / colours
· Replacement of any damaged turf / surrounding vegetation
Of course, deciding which concrete driveway professional to hire for the job is only part of the decision. Once you have that down, the next step is to decide on the type of concrete driveway that you want. Here’s an overview of your options:
Staining concrete surfaces is a technique that is fairly new in the world of installing concrete driveways, but there are two main types of stains, namely surface colourisers and acid-etch stains. Chemical or acid-etch staining delivers chemicals to the upper surface of the concrete, causing a colour reaction with the lime content of the concrete. Surface colourisers, on the other hand, deliver a stain pigment that is deposited in the pores of the concrete.
Concrete is very often the first choice for a driveway because of its durability, its value for money, and the fact that it can be produced in a range of finishes and different colours. A textured finish is carried out by the concrete finisher and can often be divided into the following:
Float and trowel finishes: These are patterns that are made on the concrete prior to its setting hard, and different textures are created depending on the tool used to make the pattern.
Stamped concrete finishes: This refers to concrete that has been designed to look like bricks, tiles, slates or flagstones.
Stencilled concrete finishes: For an alternative to decorative stamping, stencilling concrete may also be an option.
Broom finishes: For a simple non-slip surface, finishing off the fresh concrete with a coarse bristled broom will give you a textured finish.
Rock salt finishes: Water softener crystals can be embedded into fresh concrete, and once set, the surface is washed so the crystals dissolve, leaving behind small holes.
Produced as a number of different pre-cast units such as exposed aggregate pavers or blocks, or installed by pressing surface aggregates into a section of freshly poured concrete, exposed aggregate is a popular surface for driveways. That is because it offers the strength of concrete with the visual appeal of decorative aggregates. These can vary across richly coloured rock types such as red granite or black basalt, and some have even tried using tumbled, recycled coloured glass.
Finally, when choosing the type of concrete driveway for your property, don’t forget to take into account the style and appearance of your home. An experienced and reputable concrete driveway professional will be able to advise you further, which is yet another reason to make sure you hire the right person for the job.