If you want a new decorative concrete driveway installed at your home, it is important for you as the homeowner to make sure the installer uses the best possible products for the installation. Substandard products pose a risk of compromising both the aesthetics and long-term functionality of the driveway, whereas top-quality concrete products installed correctly will yield results and a surface that you can be proud of and can enjoy for decades to come.
Even when a professional contractor or installer is hired to perform the work, every commercial and residential client should have a basic understanding as to what differentiates a good product from a bad product. Most importantly, always work with a professional that has a proven history and a portfolio of past projects to show you. That way, you have the assurance that the work will be performed correctly and that only quality long lasting products will be used.
The first thing to know is that decorative concrete products are formulated for different surfaces. In other words, the product that would be used on a driveway might not be the same product used on your interior kitchen floor. Therefore, the installer needs to use a product specially formulated for your driveway so that it can withstand foot and vehicle traffic, as well as resist stains, oil, grease, impacts, abrasions, cracking, heat, and moisture.
The slab is the foundation
The compressive strength of your concrete slab is important. Expressed in pounds per square inch, or psi, most typical concrete mixes range between 2,500 and 5,000 psi, although some are engineered up to 10,000 psi. Usually, a 2,500-psi compression rating is fine for driveways, but if heavier vehicles, a boat, or RV is parked on your driveway, talk to your installer about a psi of 3,500 or more. This concrete slab is the foundation for your driveway and will be the determining factor for future cracks and overall strength.