Choosing the right paving

Choosing the Right Paving Material

As a homeowner, one of the things you will eventually need to do is have your driveway or pathways redone. Your driveway is the first thing your guests see when they visit you. Therefore, keeping it looking its best should be a priority for homeowners. On the other hand, the walkways in your garden or backyard give it like and help to protect your lawn and plants by showing people where to walk. It is therefore important to always maintain your walkways.

When it comes to redoing your driveway or your parking lot, picking the right paving material may seem like an easy task. The quality of the material you go for directly impacts the sustainability of your driveway. Therefore, doing a bit of research on the best material for your needs can go a long way in ensuring you pick the best materials and that you enjoy value for your investment.

When it comes to commercial and residential a paving options in Australia, asphalt, concrete and decorative concrete are the most common choices. The choice for the best is based on a few factors such as the cost, durability, maintenance options, project purpose and quality.

Asphalt

The purpose of your paving plays a significant role in decision making on the best material to go for. Asphalt is recommended for driveways because of its ease of installation and affordability. Your driveway can get paved easily using asphalt. Factors that are taken into consideration include the car you drive and the traffic on the driveway every day. As much as asphalt may seem appropriate based on cost and ease of installation, it comes at an extra cost because of its timely maintenance needs. Also, the AU weather is warmer than in other regions and thus asphalt can melt in the Australian weather.  It is, therefore, most ideal for areas with low temperatures. It is therefore ideal for you to take into account the maintenance needs for asphalt before you pick it as your ideal paving material.

Decorative concrete

This type of concrete is most ideal for gardens, driveways, and patios. Decorative concrete is an aesthetic enhancement for already installed concrete structures. It is available in different materials like stamped, stained engraved and etched types. Decorative concrete is eco-friendly, highly durable, low maintenance requirements and it is ideal for the AU weather. Just like ordinary concrete, very low temperatures cause decorative concrete to crack which makes it ideal for regions with warm climates.

Concrete

Concrete is the most commonly used material for paving in homes and in commercial properties. While installation of concrete comes at a high cost, the fact that it takes up to a decade or more without the need to redo it. This makes it the most affordable type of paving material to go for. Also, concrete fairs well in warmer climates which makes it perfect for the AU climate.

Concrete is very easy to maintain, it is durable and can be installed in different colors and designs. It is ideal for your garage floor, driveways and walkways around your garden.

Concrete mixing

A Beginner’s Guide to Mixing Concrete

After a few years of use, it is normal for your concrete surfaces to require some repairs. Most people want to do the repairs, installing or replacing concrete on their own. Even so, most people have never worked with concrete before and are therefore clueless about how concrete mixing works. It is often advisable for you to work alongside a concreting expert even as you try to be hands on. Their expertise and help will ensure that you get the concreting jobs done right.

When it comes to concrete jobs, the materials you need depend on the scope of your project. You will need a concrete mixer for your project. There are companies that hire out this machinery which includes an operator.

Mixing ratios

The first thing you need to know about mixing concrete is the fact that the surface you create should be strong enough to support 3000 pounds per square inch. Therefore the mixture you make need to be thick enough to offer this support. It is important to adhere to materials mixing rations based on the area you need to cover to ensure the surface created is strong and durable.

There are 4 basic components used to make concrete. These are cement, sand, aggregate, and water. To produce 3000 PSI concrete mixture, you need to mix one part cement, three parts sand, 3 parts aggregate and one part water. The water to cement ratio is what indicates the strength of the mixture. The water and cement ration should be equal. A common mistake done when mixing concrete is to add more water than required trying to make the process of mixing and spreading easier. On the other hand, using a lower amount of water than the required water to cement ration will make the mixture too hard to mix and work with.

Concrete measuring

For small home projects, 5-gallon buckets can be used to measure concrete. With the rations above, you can make use of the bucket as a measuring tool. Therefore, one bucket cement, three buckets sand, three buckets aggregate and one bucket water can produce enough concrete for your small home improvement need and create surfaces that can withstand 3000 PSI.

The mixing process

If you need to mix large amounts of concrete, you can hire a mixer from a concreting company. For very big projects, you will need an electric mixer. This machine mixes the concrete in a spinning tub which makes the mixing process easier and less tedious. For smaller amounts of mixtures, you can consider using a wheelbarrow and a shovel to mix. Regardless of the mixing methods you go for, the mixing ratios should always be the same.

Curing concrete

Every slab of concrete requires at least 28 days of curing. During the first 7 days after applying the concrete slab, it is advisable for you to pour water on the slab every day. This allows the curing process to run smoothly and as it should. This is the time the concrete hardens to reach its maximum expected strength potential.

concrete recycling

Concrete Recycling – Cracked Driveway Re-Use

Concrete driveways have been considered to be required additions to any housing project. Concrete offers numerous benefits when compared to other paving materials. One of the best benefits offered by concrete is its longevity. It takes decades before one requires redoing the concrete driveway.

If you are looking into redoing your concrete driveway, one of the best ways to save on the cost is by recycling concrete. The recycling process is relatively easy. It involves the process of breaking the concrete from your driveway, removing it and crushing it.

The benefits of recycling concrete

According to statistics, construction and demolition waste amount to 25% of the national total solid waste. Concrete waste makes up the largest percentage of concrete and demolition waste. With concrete recycling, these numbers can greatly reduce.

Here are the benefits associated with concrete recycling:

There are several environmental and economic benefits of recycling concrete. They include:

  • Reduction of tippage and related freight charges
  • Recycled concrete is cheaper than newly mined aggregate
  • Reduced landfill space requirements to dispose of concrete debris
  • Reduction in the need for gravel mining since the concrete recycled can be used as gravel.

Ways recycled concrete can be used

There are several ways through which recycled concrete can be used:

As aggregate base

Aggregate can be used as the foundation for roadway pavement. It is used as the layer that forms a structural foundation for paving projects. This means that your driveway can be reconstructed using the aggregate from the demolished driveway as the foundation for the new project.

Ready to mix concrete

The recycled concrete can be used as a substitute for virgin aggregate. This can be used in the building of residential slabs and foundations, construction of residential streets and alleys, concrete driveways, as well as foundations for commercial building constructions.

Stabilization of soil

This is done by incorporating recycled concrete, fly ash or lime into subgrade material that is of marginal quality. This enhances the subgrade’s load baring capacity. This process changes the subgrade’s water susceptibility which in turn stabilizes the soil or the subgrade.

Pipe bedding

Recycling concrete provides material for building firm foundation beds where underground utilities can be laid.

Landscape material

Recycled, sized concrete rubble can be used in different landscaping settings. It can be used as attractive architectural support that offers varying structure colors and textures. Recycled concrete rubble can also be used as stacked/boulder rock walls, erosion structure, underpass abutment structure and also as water feature.

The process of concrete recycling

The process of recycling involves crushing, pre-sizing, sorting, screening and elimination of contamination.  The idea is to create clean concrete material that can later be re-sized and used based on need.

Large impactors, cones and primary jaws are used to reduce the concrete debris into smaller sizes. Further processing is done to create a finer product. Foreign particles and dirt are removed by the use of scalping screens and deck screens.

While it is still a new phenomenon, concrete recycling is expected to grow in importance over the coming years. Good quality Aggregate supplies are becoming less accessible in most regions and there is an increase in the need for waste concrete in landfills to be made useful.

Concrete vs Asphalt

Concrete vs Asphalt

When choosing paving options for driveways and pavements, most homeowners have to choose between concrete paving and asphalt paving. While these two materials are used to create the same effect in a space, there are a lot of differences in the two. These differences can make decision making easier.

Material difference

Asphalt is made using aggregate, which is crushes sand and rocks bonded using bitumen. When paving using asphalt, bitumen is mixed with aggregate and poured on a bed of heavier aggregate. A steamroller is used to press the asphalt which compacts it. The asphalt is them left to cool off before it is used.

When it comes to concrete paving, the concrete used also have an aggregate but in this case, the binder is cement. As it dries, it creates a stiff pavement.

Sustainability

There are differences between asphalt and concrete paving when it comes to maintenance and sustainability.

After being used for 6 months or a year, asphalt roads and pavements need to be sealed. Asphalt will require subsequent sealing every 3 to 5 years. This does not require any special tools and can be done by anyone with a little knowledge on the same. Sealing the asphalt extends its life which can see it last up to 30 years with proper maintenance.

For concrete driveways, concrete paving slabs, or concrete house slabs, once installed, they can last for up to 50 years with minimum maintenance. Concrete slabs do not require sealing even though sealing it can improve its finished look. Repairing cracks in concrete is easy and can be done by anyone.

Durability

It is always beneficial to go for a durable solution for drive3asys and house slabs. Concrete is far more durable than asphalt. It is also stronger than asphalt meaning it can hold more weight over a longer period than asphalt. A 5’’ thick concrete paving slab has a load capacity of an asphalt pavement that is 8’’ thick. Asphalt will only last about 20 years with proper maintenance while concrete can last up to 50 years.

The cost

Asphalt is more affordable to install than concrete with an average of about $3 to $5 per square foot. This means that it costs between $900 and $1500 to install a 300 square foot of asphalt paving in your driveway. On the other hand, it can cost between $1500 and $3000 to install a concrete driveway in the same space.

Even so, when considering the cost of either asphalt or concrete slabs, you cannot just look at the cost of installing. There are maintenance charges that come into play after the installation is done.

For asphalt, a lot of maintenance and sealing is required after every 3 to 5 years. For concrete house slabs, very little maintenance is required and can last for up to 50 years before a redo is required. Asphalt cannot last this long even with the regular maintenance. Therefore, asphalt proves to be more costly in the long run than concrete paving slabs.

Kerb appeal

Unlike the old days, concrete driveways today can be dyed to any color desired. This provides a unique addition to any home’s exterior space. This makes concrete a better choice for anyone going for a look that is eye catchy. Also, concrete can be textured and polished. On the other hand asphalt is only done in black color.

Conclusion

While the concrete vs asphalt debate is far from over, it is clear that concrete driveways and concrete house slabs are a better choice if one is lolling for durability, style, and comfort that will last for years.