Residential Driveways: Selecting the Right Concrete Mixture

12 April 2016
 Categories: , Blog


The driveway is a critical structure in your home, so you should consider performing an upgrade by installing a concrete surface. This material is strong and durable, which means that it can withstand heavy usage without cracking and general distortion. The structure will also attract more buyers and even better purchase prices when you decide to sell the house. In addition, there are numerous techniques that can be used to enhance the appearance of the concrete. On the other hand, the performance of the new driveway will depend on the quality of the concrete mixture used for construction. Here is a short description of the main factors that you should consider when selecting concrete mixture for the project.

Compressive Strength

You should consider the technical aspects of the concrete mixture because these will affect the long-term performance of your driveway. Compressive strength is one of the major factors that you should evaluate because it determines the amount of weight that can be supported. Most concrete products can be categorised into regular and high-strength mixtures. The regular concrete is ideal for lightweight applications such as walking and minimal traffic. The high-strength alternative will support more activity without damage. It is also advisable to inquire about concrete with special additives that will increase the concrete mixture strength. For example, some concrete mixtures are reinforced with polymer fibres or fibreglass to increase load bearing capacity. However, you should note that the additives come at an increased price.

Air Entrainment

Concrete mixtures can be prepared as high-density materials, or air can be incorporated into the building material. The choice will depend on the type of climatic conditions in your local region as well as personal preference. Simply speaking, concrete is highly porous, so moisture will flow into the driveway structural material. If you are in an area that experiences significantly low temperatures, the water will freeze and expand. The freeze-thaw cycle will eventually lead to concrete cracking. Concrete mixtures with entrained air will provide space and allow moisture to go through the cycle without damage. If you are in a constantly hot region, this might not be necessary, but it is a useful precaution.

Visual Aesthetics

You should consider the visual appeal of your concrete mixture before selection. Generally, the aesthetics of concrete can be modified using acid staining techniques after installation. However, you can get a more uniform colour by choosing a mixture that has integral dyes incorporated into the product. Additionally, the freshly-poured coloured concrete can be textured or stamped to further enhance the appearance.

Keep these tips in mind as you visit local building supplies retailers and pick out your concrete, and you'll be more likely to get the best option for your driveway.