You've decided it's time to install a concrete driveway for your house in Minnesota. Maybe you didn't like your old asphalt driveway and wanted to try something new or maybe you have a concrete driveway already but the elements have left it worse for wear and it needs to be replaced. Either way, when the time comes to have a new concrete driveway installed, you need to pick a reliable contractor to make sure the job gets done right.
When hiring a concrete contractor in Minnesota to install your new driveway there are a few key questions you should ask. Knowing these questions and their correct answers ahead of time will help you select the right contractor for your concrete driveway.
5 Questions to Ask Before Concrete Driveway Installation:
1. "What strength concrete will be used for my driveway?
When having a concrete driveway installed in Minnesota, it's important that your contractor pours some very sturdy concrete for you. Concrete used for a driveway should have a compressive strength of 4,500 PSI. This will make your driveway sturdy enough that it will hold up to vehicles continually driving over it and parking on it for prolonged periods of time. It's also vital that your contractor installs your concrete driveway with air entrainment to allow for expansion and contraction during the freeze-thaw cycle that occurs during MN winters. If your contractor says that they will be working with weaker concrete and avoids the subject of air entrainment, you'd be better off hiring someone else.
2. "What type of reinforcement will you be installing with my driveway?"
A concrete driveway needs solid reinforcement in the form of rebar. Reinforcing your concrete driveway with rebar will prevent concrete slabs from becoming uneven and will also limit cracking. The best types of rebar to use for concrete reinforcement are basalt and fiberglass which are strong, flexible and immune to rusting. Be wary of any contractor that intends to use wire mesh as reinforcement instead of rebar. It is difficult to install wire mesh in a driveway and it will not provide the level of support your concrete needs.
3."What base and how much will you be laying under my driveway?"
Before a concrete driveway is installed in Minnesota, it is important to lay down base to create a layer between the concrete slab and the soil beneath, providing room for water to move underneath the concrete and reducing the likelihood of your concrete cracking. Gravel and crushed rock are most commonly used as base beneath the concrete slabs of a driveway. At least two even inches of base need to be laid before concrete can be poured to form your driveway. If your contractor tells you they won't be using base or will be laying only an inch of base, you can't rely on them to install a sturdy driveway.
4. "How often do you install control joints?"
In case you didn't know, the lines you see between slabs of concrete are known as "control joints." The purpose of control joints is to prevent random cracking by allowing concrete slabs to crack in a straight line at designated places. When a concrete driveway is installed, control joints should be placed at least every 8 feet to avoid unwanted cracking in the driveway. A concrete driveway in Minnesota should be 4 inches thick, and control joints should be 1 ⅓" thick, a third the thickness of the concrete slab. If your contractor doesn't seem to know much about control joints or isn't planning to use them, move on to someone better.
5. "What will you be sealing my driveway with and when?"
Adding sealer to your concrete driveway is an important step that prevents water from seeping into your concrete and causing damage. Many types of sealers exist for concrete but the best to use is a penetrating siloxane sealer, which soaks into concrete and lasts for 3-5 years. Before the penetrating sealer can be added, the concrete needs to be fully cured. The curing process takes four weeks, and the penetrating sealer should not be applied until this process is complete. A good concrete contractor will immediately know the timeline for applying sealer when asked, a disreputable one may not use a sealer or try to apply it when the concrete is insufficiently cured.
The Most Dependable Concrete Driveway Contractor in the Twin Cities
When you decide to have a concrete driveway installed and you want to hire a contractor that will do it right, put your trust in Unlimited Concrete Concepts. Call us today for the best concrete driveway installation services in the greater Twin Cities area!