How to Replace a Concrete Driveway

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Replacing a concrete driveway involves removal of the old materials, grading the area and installing the new surface. For a driveway that will last a long time, prepare the ground properly by including a gravel bed and metal supports, apply the correct depth of concrete and include isolation joints to prevent cracks.

Things You'll Need

  • Jackhammer Small bulldozer Dump truck or dumpster Hand-held roller barrel or machine-driven roller Gravel Metal mesh or steel rods Wood boards Concrete Wood float Trowel

Building the Driveway

  • Remove the old driveway. The concrete needs to be broken with a jackhammer or a small bulldozer that smashes the concrete and lifts it into a dump truck or dumpster that will be hauled away.

  • Determine specifications for the new driveway. Decide if it will fit into the same footprint as the old driveway, or if it needs to be longer or wider. Driveways for one-car garages should be at least 10 feet wide. A two-car driveway should be 16 to 24 feet.

  • Prepare the ground. After creating the width and depth (see Steps 4 and 5), smooth the soil surface. The best way to do this is with a hand controlled roller barrel or a driver-controlled rolling machine.

  • Create water runoff. The land should slope gently away from the garage. Slope at least one-quarter inch per foot. A rise greater than one and three-quarter inches per foot will cause most cars to hit the bottom of the rear bumper on the driveway. If the slope is higher at the street and lower at the garage, a drain and drainage channel needs to be installed in front of the garage to divert water.

  • Install the gravel bed and support metal. For six-inch thick slabs, the depth should be at least eight inches (six to eight inches for four-inch thick slabs) to accommodate a four-inch gravel bed and raising the slab two inches above the grade.The gravel improves drainage. A metal mesh frame or individual steel rods can be installed at this point to add additional support to the concrete that will be poured and cured.

  • Design the slabs. To prevent water from flowing into a garage, the slabs butting against the garage floor should be about one inch below that of the garage floor. Slabs should be at least four inches thick for cars and at least six inches for heavy trucks. If the soil is soft or drainage is poor, add another one or two inches.

  • Create the forms in which to pour the concrete. For six-inch slabs, use 2 x 6 borders to create the forms. Pour the individual concrete slabs and smooth the concrete with a wood float.

  • Control cracks. Set isolation joints where the drive meets the garage, walkways, the street and other slabs. The joints should be no more than 10 feet apart. A longitudinal control joint should be included down the middle of the driveway. Cut joints at least one-quarter of slab depth.

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