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Your driveway or access road is the vital link between your house and home, or commercial property such as an office or factory, and the outside world. It provides easy access for your vehicles to get onto the road. Keeping your driveway in good condition is therefore essential to quickly get to the road especially when you are in a hurry.
Driveway gates, driveway ramps, driveway sealer and driveway alarms articles will be added soon. We are also looking at driveway paint and concrete paving options. Sign up for our newsletter now!
Improving or replacing your driveway altogether could be a good diy building project. Whether you want to self build the whole driveway or remodel or repair the existing one, it sure is a good construction project that would keep you occupied for quite some time.
To get started, you need to have plans ready for the project. A blueprint is absolutely essential to help you get good results. Most amateurs only have a vague idea of what they want. So their construction projects do not look professional at the end. So it is wise to draft specific plans and build the driveway exactly as specified in the blueprint.
When it comes to deciding on the materials to be used for construction, you have a wide range of choices that would include concrete, gravel, asphalt, paved stones, stamped concrete, cement, crushed stone and a variety of other materials. If you are repairing your driveway you can stick to the materials used in the original construction. If it is a totally new construction however, you can choose the material best suited for the design of the driveway. Green driveway materials such as grids that allow grass to grow through are now available.
Make sure you have enough control and contraction joints, which are small gullies for expansion and contraction, movement and so on. Although large or frequent cracking is a soign of a structural foundation or subsoil problem which should be sorted out. For the filler you can use concrete (but this won't expand and contract with movement), or better, a silicone or epoxy caulk. This is a specialist area so we will look at it in a separate article.
Above: Driveway paving and edging, using brick and stone
The first thing to do is outline the path of the driveway on the ground. Then you need to dig up to a depth of around six inches for the entire length of the driveway. You need to follow the outline of the driveway as closely as possible and keep the side walls of the pit vertical. Once the pit is dug, you can fill the pit with a layer of gravel that is around four inches thick. You need to then tightly pack the gravel to make it firm. You can use either a hand packer or a motorized plate packer to firmly pack the gravel. This would form the base of the driveway and would support the entire weight of the materials used for the driveway as well as the vehicles driving over it.
Once the gravel is in place, you can lay your driveway with the material of your choice. A wide variety of materials is available and you can choose one that suits your fancy. If you are handling the project without professional help, you would of course want to choose a material that you are comfortable with. Sometimes, the design would dictate the type of material to be used. Under those circumstances, it is always better to go by the specifications rather than altering them to suit your interests. Moreover, based on whether you live in a town or country, the availability of materials could limit your choice to a certain extent.
After the entire length of the path is paved, you can add edging for the driveway. Edging for driveways can be built with bricks. All you need is a single layer of bricks lined up along the edge of the driveway to keep the wheels of your vehicles from slipping off the driveway.
When you are resurfacing your driveways, you might as well convert them into heated driveways which would prevent the accumulation of snow by immediately melting it. You can also go for green surfaces such as grasscrete which is a unique combination of concrete and grass which provides excellent functionality as well as good aesthetics.
These two approaches show the range from non-green energy intensive to passive green, which aids biodiversity.
See our other article on Transport >
Also Concrete >