Doing your research and learning all of your options will ensure you are getting the best price, quality contractors, and a satisfactory finished project. Here are some important factors to think about when planning your concrete project.
Have a list of questions prepared prior to meeting with a contractor.
Some examples include:
A. How many years of experience does the company have?
B. Is the company a Minnesota licensed contractor?
C. Do you have references or other concrete projects I can view?
D. What percent of a down payment do you require to start the project?
E. What kind of cure process does your company use?
F. What kind of seal process does your company use?
G. What is the cost of removing the existing driveway? (including disposal of material)
H. What kind of subgrade would you recommend putting down? (very important consideration in Minnesota’s freeze/thaw cycles)
I. What is the cost per square foot?
J. How many cubic yards does the project need?
K. What type of concrete aggregate are you proposing for my driveway? Will it cause a popout?
L. How will the contractor reinforce the project?
These are just a few to consider.
2. Make sure to get a minimum of three estimates done by different companies so you know you are getting the best deal.
3. Call the city you live in and ask if there are permits required for the project, also be aware of legal construction hours, etc.
4. Make sure to cure and seal it properly before winter, this will help tremendously for getting your dollars worth.
5. Do not use a deicer with ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, or any other sulfate salt. However, when your concrete is new, you cannot use any sort of a deicer
6. Next you should make sure you have the time to complete this project. Weather is also always a very important consideration. Concrete patio, slabs, aprons, sidewalk, and stairs shouldn’t be laid after October 15th without special consideration.
7. The suggested width for a single-car driveway is 8 to 9 feet. For double width, plan to use 15 to 18
feet. If the distance from the street to a two or more car garage is long enough, the initial entry
approach can be of single-car width and then widened near the garage to accommodate all of
the car stalls. If space is available, extra parking or a turn-around area can be included.
The planning stage is the time to consider adding that concrete patio or porch addition as well.
Regarding your project thickness, non-reinforced pavement 4 inches thick is standard for
passenger car driveways. For heavier vehicles, a thickness of 5 inches is recommended. To
eliminate standing water, the driveway or patio should slope towards the street a minimum of 1%,
or 1/8 inch per foot for proper drainage.
8. It is recommended to request a premium concrete aggregate such as granite or falkstone.
9. Strength greater than or equal to 4500psi at 28 days.
10. Water/Cement ratio of 0.45 or less.
11. Plastic Air content of 5-8%. (The air entrainment is needed if exposed to winter
12. Thickness: 5” is recommended but 4” is acceptable if the subgrade conditions are
13. Shrinkage control joints are used to prevent the concrete from cracking. Plan exact location of all joints, including the timing of when joints will be cut. Joint spacing should be 24-36 times the thickness of the slab. Joints should be cut or sawed to 1/4 to 1/3 of the total depth of the slab.
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