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Replacing a driveway can be a frustrating experience. However, we are here to help you understand the process and using a reputable contractor can make it go more smoothly.

  1. What is involved to replace my driveway?
  2. What causes cracks in the driveway and how can I prevent them?
  3. What is concrete grading?
  4. Will my driveway be completed after the concrete dries?
  5. How do I determine the correct design for my driveway?
  6. Why are sections of my driveway different shades or colors?
  7. I have water accumulating at the entrance of my driveway, what causes this?
  8. Who are Concrete Contractors?
  1. Q. What is involved to replace my driveway?
  • A. The first step in replacing a concrete driveway is to break up the old driveway and haul it away. Then, depending on the nature of the ground under the driveway, the contractor may put down additional gravel or fill to create a more solid base for the concrete. Without a good base, the driveway is more likely to settle and/or crack. Additional fill is needed in roughly half of the cases. Next, the contactor installs temporary forms to hold the wet concrete. The forms, as the name implies, form a template, almost like a cookie cutter. Once the forms are in place, the concrete arrives and is poured into them. The concrete is smoothed, and expansion joints are cut. The concrete hardens inside the forms. Once the concrete is hard, the forms are removed.
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Concrete Driveways
  1. Q. What causes cracks in the driveway and how can I prevent them?
  • A. The use of expansion joints will help prevent cracks. As the name implies, expansion joints allow the concrete to expand or contract with temperature. Without such joints, repeated expansion or contraction often results in cracks. In temperate climates, industry experts recommend cutting expansion joints approximately every 15 feet. In addition to preventing cracks, expansion joints can stop cracks from propagating. If a crack hits an expansion joint, it usually will not continue into the section of concrete on the other side of the joint. Even with proper expansion joints, driveways often crack. Due to the variability of materials and terrain, many established companies would not guarantee their driveways against aesthetic cracking.
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Concrete Cracks
  1. Q. What is concrete grading?
  • A. Concrete is made from three primary ingredients; cement, water, and aggregate. Aggregate is typically sand or rock. The cement and water provide strength and act as the glue that holds the aggregate together. In general, the more aggregate, the weaker the concrete. Concrete grade is defined by the strength of the concrete and is measured in pounds per square inch. (psi). In general, the higher the psi grade, the more weight it can handle, the more durable it will be, and the better it will hold up when pressure washed. Concrete used in driveways is usually 3000 or 4000 psi. In industry jargon, 3000 psi is equivalent to "five bags of cement per yard mix" and 4000 psi is equivalent to "six and a half bags of cement per yard mix." As one would expect, 4000 psi grade concrete is slightly more expensive than 3000 psi grade concrete. However, this price difference is small when compared to the total cost of driveway replacement.
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Concrete Grading
  1. Q. Will my driveway be completed after the concrete dries?
  • A. Concrete does not dry, it sets or cures through a chemical process called hydration. During hydration, water molecules combine with the cement to form very tiny crystals. These crystals interlock with each other as well as the aggregate in the concrete to the concrete's strength. Water is a necessary part of hydration. If the concrete or the surface of the concrete dries before hydration fully occurs, the concrete loses its strength and/or becomes flaky. Therefore, it is very important to keep the surface of the concrete wet after it is poured.
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Dried Concrete
  1. Q. How do I determine the correct design for my driveway?
  • A. In general, water should never puddle on the driveway. If the house is on a hill, the driveway should channel the water down to the street or to a storm drain. Residential driveways are usually four inches thick. In general, thinner driveways are more apt to crack than thicker driveways.
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Concrete Design
  1. Q. Why are sections of my driveway different shades or colors?
  • A. Unfortunately, due to variation in the color of the raw materials that make up concrete, colors will vary between batches of concrete. Color variation is usually not a problem in a complete replacement job, since all of the concrete usually comes from the same batch. However, when adding to or replacing a section of an existing driveway, you should expect color variation. In such cases, the contractor is at the mercy of the concrete supply company, and the concrete supply company is at the mercy of the natural variation in raw materials mined from the earth.
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Concrete Shades and Colors
  1. Q. I have water accumulating at the entrance of my driveway, what causes this?
  • A. . Misplaced gutters or missing downspouts often dump water alongside a driveway or sidewalk. Over time, the flowing water may erode the ground next to the driveway and form a gully. Eventually, the gully reaches the earth directly beneath the driveway. As the earth beneath the driveway washes away, the driveway loses its support and is likely to crack and settle. Before replacing such a driveway, first fix the water flow problem.
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Water Accumulation
  1. Q. Who are Concrete Contractors?
  • A. Concrete contractors pour driveways and are ultimately responsible for the work. They usually own the front-end loaders and the forms. However, concrete contractors almost never make the concrete or own the concrete delivery truck. Instead, they contract with a concrete company to supply wet concrete to the job site. Reputable concrete contractors arrange for the proper grade of concrete to arrive when they need it. Driveway contractors, like any company working at the home should carry both workers' compensation and liability insurance.
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Concrete Contractors

 

 

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C&D Morales Construction Company, Inc.
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Alpharetta, GA 30004-6646
(770) 492-4953
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