We want what we have to last a long time. Our driveway is no different. If you are looking to update or install a new driveway, ensure you take the right steps, or it will cost you later. Does a driveway need rebar? For this article, we've researched the best installation method for a concrete driveway to get some answers for you.
For a common driveway with passenger vehicles, you do not need to lay rebar. You can lay down wire mesh, then pour the concrete over it. Not laying anything down when you pour concrete, though, could prove disastrous later and cost you more money in the long run.
Please keep reading as we delve into the difference between rebar and wire mesh as concrete driveway support systems. We'll also help with your driveway plans to discuss thicknesses for concrete and aggregate.
Rebar Vs. Wire Mesh
A driveway does need support, or it will crack and crumble. First of all, let us differentiate between rebar versus wire mesh. Rebar is the long steel rods used in big projects placed about 12 inches apart. Wire mesh comes in a roll that is a bit more manageable and laid out for driveways and sidewalks.
Rebar generally comes in three-eighths, one-half, or three-fourths inch diameters. It is very stiff and rigid and can be up to 60 feet long as it is used for commercial projects. Rebar is used for large buildings, in-ground swimming pools, and driveways that may require heavier vehicles to park on them. Rebar is crisscrossed, tied off to each other, and provides a much greater support for concrete when its thickness is more than five inches.
Wire mesh is laid down for smaller projects and will come in rolls. It is about one-eighth-inch in diameter and can be laid down by one individual. Its cost is considerably less.
Whether your driveway is best supported by rebar or wire mesh, using either is a worthy way to protect this long-term home investment.
Consider Driveway Slope & Aggregate
There are many additional questions when laying your driveway. When concrete is poured, it is laid at approximately 4000 psi. Be sure the slope is appropriate. Too flat a driveway may pose a problem for drainage, and too steep a driveway can simply be dangerous. A slope of about 2% is standard for a driveway. The aggregate size is another factor, and this generally runs from .75 to 1-inch thick. This is the actual size of the pieces within your concrete.
Read "How Steep Can A Driveway Be?" for more essential information about driveway slope.
You can check with your concrete contractor and have any questions answered regarding the type of concrete and the psi with which it should be laid. If it is a DIY project, you will definitely want to discuss your order to make sure you have the right type of concrete mix when the delivery service shows up at your door.
If you spy cracks in your concrete surface, don't panic! You can fix them, just read "How To Fix Hairline Cracks In A Concrete Driveway."
How thick should a residential driveway be?
Driveways with regular passenger cars should be at least four inches thick. Having an even thickness across the entire driveway will help to prevent cracks over time. If you are keeping a recreational vehicle or an industrial-type vehicle in your driveway, an extra couple of inches of concrete would be recommended. In this particular case, you would use rebar as support.
Nobody wants to spend more money than is needed on any project. Assessing and understanding your needs is important. Making sure you provide the right thickness is paramount. What will you be parking on top of your driveway? You want it to last a long time, but you do not want to install more driveway than you will need.
Is wire mesh necessary in a concrete driveway?
Galvanized wire mesh provides important support when laying a concrete driveway. It is laid vertically-centered and provides the tensile strength you need for your vehicles. Not having wire mesh can cause your driveway to crack early and cause problems in the nearer future. While someone may tell you that a concrete driveway can be poured over dirt, it is not recommended.
You may feel the need to save money with a project such as this. Cutting corners is a common approach to many household projects. This is not one of them.
The galvanized wire mesh is easily manageable when installing your own driveway. It provides durability and is already assembled, saving you time as you lay it down. Rebar is constructed in a grid-like pattern requiring it to be tied off by hand. Wire mesh offers an easy-to-lay-down process.
What is the best base for a concrete driveway?
The base of a concrete driveway should have at least four inches of compacted gravel. Water is always an issue, so you must make sure that it is sloped and that it drains properly. Sitting water will pose a problem and is not your friend. In colder climates, the cycle can be a vicious one - freeze and thaw, then repeat. This is hard on driveways, so be sure to have water drain properly.
A driveway project is certainly about functionality and looks. A brand new driveway looks amazing and adds a curb appeal to any home. A sharp driveway is easy to notice and impressive to any who sees it. Long before the installation of a driveway is the preparation. And preparation is important. Seeking to do the project properly without taking shortcuts will be rewarding in the long run.
Fixing a crumbling driveway is not fun. Some simple, common-sense preparation decisions will cost quite a bit down the road. Preparation is the key, and the desire to do a project the first time will be beneficial in the long run.
Are you ready to tackle your driveway project? What types of vehicles will you be parking? Whatever your answers, rest assured there is a thickness you should follow? Is it a big enough project for the full-blown rebar install or will the galvanized wire mesh do the job?
Whatever you choose, we trust it is appropriate to the job at hand, and you will have a driveway that will last for many years to come. Remember, preparation is key!