Important Things To Know About Pouring A Concrete Driveway

It looks like a complete home once the driveway is poured. Our builder contracts a driveway company, so luckily we didn’t have to find a concrete company to do the work. But, there are some things you need to know about pouring a concrete driveway before you start whether you do the work yourself, or hire a concrete company.

new concrete driveway

From Start To Finish

First, grade the soil and compact it to the best of your ability to give the concrete stability. Although the homes in our subdivision are narrow lot home plans for the most part, these homes may be on sloped lots. Our home’s lot tends to slope right to left, so you’ll want your driveway not to look too sloped from one side to the next.

Then, it’s important to put a thick gravel base underneath the concrete to filter water away from the concrete. This ensures there will be less cracks. Cracks in concrete will occur over time, especially as settling occurs, but making sure the grade is good and adding the gravel creates a solid base that keeps things looking their best for much longer.

There are a couple of other things to consider as the concrete is mixed. It is very important to make sure your water to concrete mixture ratios are where they should be. If there is too much water in the mix, then it compromises the strength of the concrete. So, this is a very important step. Much like baking, if any measurement of your ingredients is off, then the end result is not the best it could’ve been. Another way to add strength is to include rebar when pouring the concrete. For your concrete to reach maximum strength typically takes up to 60 days, so it’s wise to pour concrete driveways on new homes well before closing day.

Also, it’s important to include control joints every 10-15 feet so there is a certain amount of give. That’s why there are lines, or separators in a poured concrete driveway. If those weren’t there, pulling your car onto it would have it cracking right away.

Function And Style Are Important

Regarding the aesthetics of a driveway, there are many things you can do to make it standout. Driveway design ideas include trim with brick or stone, color or stamped concrete and pavers. The only thing we did a little differently was to make our driveway 2 feet wider than the entrance into our garage on both sides and we extended the concrete all the way to the edge of the home’s exterior. This gives us more space stepping out of our cars onto the driveway and it’s nice for guests when they pull in and they don’t step outside their cars onto grass. My husband thought of this and it never occurred to me to do this, but I’m very happy with the end result and know it will make our driveway nicer for everyone. And, I guess it’s less grass to cut, too!

See more great ideas and home tips at House Plans and More on Pinterest!

20 thoughts on “Important Things To Know About Pouring A Concrete Driveway

  • September 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Alex, I looked for any information I could find on how a dry climate affects concrete durability and didn’t find anything you should be worried about. If the temperatures are cold, then cracks from ice crystals can affect the durability in the end product, but being in a dry climate will most likely allow it to cure faster.

  • October 15, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for the advice about adding too much water to the concrete mix. I have only ever poured concrete for fence posts and didn’t think it mattered much if the consistency was off. Now I’m working on a walkway to my house. It makes me a little more nervous. I don’t want to have to redo the walkway when I’m done. What consistency should the cement be at when pouring?

    • October 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      If your concrete is mixed properly, it should look like thick oatmeal. If you squeeze it in your hand (of course, while wearing gloves) it should hold its shape.

  • November 7, 2015 at 1:03 am

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  • November 9, 2015 at 5:01 am

    Very descriptive post, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

  • November 12, 2015 at 12:57 am

    My husband and I have been wanting to redo our driveway for the past few months and we have finally agreed on a design that we both love. We have to get rid of our old one first so we need to look into concrete breaking. I don’t really know how the whole pouring process is supposed to work so I will have to do some more research on that. Thank you for sharing this information!

  • November 26, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Very informative post on pouring a concrete driveway. Various useful points like the grade of soil, putting a thick gravel base for ensuring less crack are defined properly in your post. Actually I was really worried about starting work on my driveway, but now I will use all the points mentioned by you in the post. I appreciate your piece of content.

  • April 14, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Good advice here. I haven’t decided if I will be pouring my own driveway but good tip about mixing the concrete well. It would be easy to mess up the job just by failing to mix it well enough.

  • October 18, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I have seen houses with cracked driveways. A friend told me that they had cracked because the ground underneath them had settled and that piece of concrete was left unsupported. Right off the bat your article suggests making sure that the ground is compacted. There are lots of ways to do this. I like spraying it with water.

  • November 3, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I appreciate this information about things to consider before installing a concrete driveway. It is good to know that one must grade the soil and compact it to provide the future driveway with stability. It is also wise to define a budget before beginning. It is important that the whole project be completed instead of running out of money half way through.

  • February 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    My mother-in-law has been wanting to install a new cement driveway for a while now since her current one is in pretty bad shape. The article mentioned rebar can be used to add strength when pouring concrete. Is this suggested for a general use driveway? Or would rebar only be necessary if the driveway would be under extremely heavy loads? I think she might consult with a cement contractor on how she should go about having her project done right.

  • July 16, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for the advice. Since concrete is intended to be more or less permanent, it makes perfect sense to make sure you get all the prep work done correctly.

  • July 3, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for writing this blog on pouring concrete driveways. Before I decide the material to decor my driveways, you blog is a great reference for me. I will make sure to not add much water in the mix. It is an important information you have shared. I have decided to have stamped concrete in my driveways. I got a blog where some amazing stamped concrete patio ideas has been shared. I would like to share the blog with you . Stamped concrete with give the glossy appearance for sure. Again thanks for this awesome writing.

  • September 27, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    I didn’t know that you should put a thick gravel base under your driveway. That’s really helpful because I’m hoping to redo my driveway soon. I want it to be stable and without a lot of cracks, so I’ll be sure to do that.

  • October 14, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Concrete must be poured and spread in a proper manner for the desired results. Ample time should be given in the drying up process.

  • October 18, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Amazing blog! I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please keep sharing such informative articles.

  • May 2, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Good finishing techniques will make a slab look great for a while, but proper ground prep will keep it looking that way over its lifetime. A concrete driveway should last for decades if it’s properly installed. Good finishing techniques will make a slab look great for a while, but proper ground prep will keep it looking that way over its lifetime. Here are some great tips on how to prepare the site for a pour.

  • May 16, 2020 at 5:07 am

    Great post! Concrete driveways are very strong. They will stand up to the heaviest vehicles you are likely to drive.

  • August 31, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for the tips. I was thinking to pour concrete on my driveway.I hope your suggetions will help me a lot.

  • September 9, 2020 at 3:18 pm

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