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4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Installing Your Own Driveway

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Home improvement shows and DIY websites make installing your own driveway look easy, but what viewers don't get to see is when these projects go wrong. Sure, tackling a concrete driveway installation on your own might save you some money, but it also opens you up to potential problems down the road, many of which can cost a great deal to fix. Before you install your own driveway without the help of an experienced contractor, ask yourself if you're prepared to handle these potential pitfalls.

1. Can I Do the Job Safely?

Installing a driveway comes with certain risks, including injury from excavating large volumes of dirt and the normal dangers associated with the use of tools and construction equipment. Perhaps the biggest risk to your safety when installing a driveway, however, comes when you unexpectedly run across a buried utility line. Electrical, cable, internet, water, sewer and other utility providers often bury lines beneath the ground, and there's really no safe way to predict where these lines are located. An experienced contractor can locate these lines safely by hand digging until all lines are marked, rather than taking the risk of electrocution or property damage by blindly digging with an excavator. 

2. What Kind of Shape is My Soil In?

Construction professionals use various test methods to determine the strength and stability of soil prior to building. They then use special tamping equipment and techniques to ensure proper subgrade preparation. If you fail to prepare your subgrade properly, you risk settling, heaving, shifting and frost damage in your new driveway, all of which can lead to ugly cracks and other signs of wear in a surprisingly short period.

3. Can I Ensure Adequate Drainage?

If you fail to position and slope a driveway properly, you allow water to pool up against your home or garage, which can lead to indoor flooding and plenty of water damage to your walls and foundation. In some projects, this might be as simple as ensuring the driveway slopes at the correct angle; in others, it means significant grading, or even the addition of drains within the driveway. If you're not sure you can construct a driveway that drains properly, call in a professional to avoid big problems in the future.

4. Do I Know Enough About Mixing Concrete?

Mixing concrete for a new driveway is not as simple as picking up a bag of concrete from a home improvement store and adding water. You have to know how to mix the concrete exactly right so it will dry properly and create a strong, lasting surface. For example, many novice users add too much water, which makes the mixture easier to pour, but weakens the final product. Some homeowners may also benefit from the use of special concrete additives to handle the effects of extreme temperatures, poor soil quality or other environmental factors. If you're not confident in your concrete mixing and pouring skills, this might be a job better left to the experts.

For more information, contact Western Grade LLC or a similar company.