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Services - FAQ

What are the benefits of a concrete driveway over an asphalt driveway?
It is easier to assess the benefits when you take a look at how much a driveway can cost over the course of its lifetime. A concrete driveway will easily last for over thirty years without requiring much maintenance. On the other hand, asphalt driveways need to be sealed from time to time because they will start to develop cracks. Even residential asphalt driveways that are put in by professional construction crews will eventually deteriorate compared to concrete. Therefore, concrete will always cost less when you consider the added costs of resealing and the overall shorter lifespan.

What is the appropriate thickness of a concrete driveway?
If you choose to pave your driveway with concrete it is recommended that it be at least four inches thick. In addition, remember that the 2 x 4s that are used as the boundaries for driveways are usually only about 3 ½ inches thick so the ground needs to be dug out another ½ inch. Of course, if you hire a construction crew they will take care of this. Thickness is very important because it determines how strong of a structure your driveway will end up being which in turn will determine how much of a load it can carry and how long it will last.

What Type of Finish Should I choose?
Concrete finishes can be either hard-troweled or broom finished. Broom finishes are best for exterior slabs of concretes such as sidewalks because they make a surface slip resistant and durable. On the other hand, trowel finishes make a surface much more smooth which is why they are generally chosen for indoor. Additional decorative finishes include exposed aggregate, patterned, and colored.    

Services - Why Concrete Cracks

Common Reason for Cracked Concrete
Concrete is one of the longest lasting and economical building materials ever devised. With the right application, it will last a very long time. However, nothing lasts forever, and cement is no exception. Cracks are a common occurrence; it is only a matter of time. Take a look at sidewalks, driveways, and even warehouses. They all have cracks!

Though it may be hard to believe, some of those cracks may have appeared before the cement even had time to set. Other cracks may take years to develop. So, if we can put a man on the moon, why can we make better cement? If you already have cracks, reading this may not help you. Below are some reasons as to why cracks occur. More knowledge about properly placing cement may reduce your exposure to the unsightly, and costly, scourge of cement.

Settlement Cracks
Settlement cracks occur when the ground under the cement moves. This can be the result of poorly compacted or weak base foundation during construction, water erosion, and even tree roots. If you have a weak base foundation, removed loose dirt and replace it with crushed stone before placing the concrete. Also, if you have low spots where water collects, fill those areas in with crushed stone. If you are having these types of problems, a tamper may be a good investment. Tampers, either hand or gas-powered, can be rented at most home supply stores. 

Plastic Shrinkage Cracks 
These types of cracks occur when water evaporates too quickly from the surface of freshly placed cement. The evaporation causes the top of the cement to “dry” quicker than the bottom. When this occurs, the two halves pull apart from one another. This typically occurs when it the weather is hot, windy or a low amount of humidity in the air. To avoid this, follow proper curing procedures for the type of concrete you are using. The trick is to keep the surface moist. This can be done by placing wet burlap, mats or towels on the on cured cement. In very warm weather, these applications may need to be continued for several days. 

Chemical Reactions
There are two ways chemical reactions can crack cement. The first is due to the cement mixture containing incompatible materials. The second, more likely, cause is due to substances we place on cement. Substances such as vehicle fluids, heavy duty cleaning agents, and even salt laid to de-ice a slippery sidewalk, can cause cracks.

Improper Weight 
Cement is designed to be able to withstand only a certain amount of weight. Most driveways, and even sidewalks, can withstand the weight of most normal sized cars and trucks. Overloading the cement will likely cause immediate cracks. 

Corrosion 
Corrosion of reinforcing rebar is another common reason for cracks. Rebar is the steel placed inside of cement to give it strength. If tiny cracks occur, or the rebar is not properly covered during construction, the steel will start to rust away and deteriorate. A good way to avoid this is by fixing smaller cracks before air and water make its way to the rebar. 

For those of you who may already be dealing with cracks, Sakrete has a full line of crack filling and repair products. Always remember, it is cheaper to repair than to replace.