Homeowners can increase the value of a home in a number of ways, including paving the driveway. A concrete driveway is a large part of the curb appeal present in a home. When people come to the home, whether one is selling it or just updating it, first impressions are important. Pouring a concrete driveway may seem like a job strictly for professionals, but with the right tools and materials it can easily become a do-it-yourself project.
Normally, homeowners have the concrete delivered and poured by a professional. The concrete is mixable manually, but mixing this amount of concrete by hand takes a bit of time. There are a number of tools that needed to get started and for the prep work in addition to laying the actual concrete.
- Wood for formwork and pegs – 25 mm thickness: layout the shape of the driveway; keeps edges smooth and straight
- Builders' barrows or construction-grade wheelbarrows: haul concrete from truck to driveway; mixing when preparing the concrete
- Square-nosed shovels: prepping ground by removing grass and dirt from work area; keeps edges smooth and corners square
- Screed board: smooth out surface of concrete; should be about 900 mm wider than your formwork
- Steel trowel or wood float: gives concrete a smoother finish
- Edging tool: cross joints or edges
- Grooving tool: grooving long stretches of concrete to help prevent cracks
- Spirit level: ensures formwork and concrete are level
- Cover (can include waterproof building paper, hessian, plastic sheeting, or sand): covers wet concrete so that it can cure and keep the moisture in
- Oil: coats wood to make it easier to remove later
Preparation for Pouring the Driveway
Before pouring the concrete, mark out the area to lay the concrete. Using the wooden pegs, mark out the area for the driveway and run string between the pegs. Use the spirit level to make sure the guide lines are level and remain so as digging begins. Remove the grass and soil, or any other type of material with the shovel, until there is between a 10 mm- and 15 mm-deep bed for the driveway. Make sure that to pack the ground down and fill any holes so that the concrete has a good base, as this makes laying even concrete easier, prevents sinking, and improves stability to reduce the risk of cracking.
Creating Forms and Pouring the Concrete
The forms support the concrete until it is set. Using the wood, layout the shape you marked with the pegs and string earlier. Once the boards are laid out, use a peg on the inside and outside to secure the wood in place. Nail the outside pegs to the boards and coat with oil, like old motor oil, to make removing the boards easier later in the project. Soak the form and ground the night before pouring the concrete.
Fill the form with concrete a few centimetres higher than the desired result to allow for settling, and remove the inside pegs along the form. Once the form is full, work a shovel through it every 80 to 100 mms to remove air bubbles. Check that all the corners and edges are full and level. Screed the concrete to smooth the surface by laying the board, which should be longer than the form, against the form with enough hanging off each side to hold onto. Move the board along the surface, using a shovel to remove excess concrete if too much builds up in front of the board. Use a wood float or steel trowel on the surface to smooth it even more.
Allow the concrete to dry enough to prevent marking, and then cover it with plastic sheeting, waterproof building paper, or a layer of hessian material. This keeps the moisture in your concrete as it cures, making it stronger. Full curing takes approximately a month, depending on the size of your project.
How to Buy Concrete Supplies on eBay
The sellers on eBay make shopping for supplies simple with the easy to use search features on the site. Anyone looking to buy supplies can use narrow search terms like 'spirit level' to pull up exact results. This is a great way to compare products offered by the reliable sellers on eBay. Make sure that you read over the details on any products before you buy to verify that they meet the needs of your project. All of your purchases can be shipped straight to your door so that you can devote more time to preparing for your project.