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Finishing

Now it’s time for placing and finishing the concrete driveway. Ready mixed concrete should be delivered and discharged as quickly as possible. 1 to 1½ hours is usually a reasonable time frame. The following is the sequence for placing and finishing the new driveway.

The concrete should be placed as near as possible to its finished position…either chuted directly, or into wheelbarrows and wheeled to its final location. Use of shovels are recommended to ensure complete filling along the sides of the forms.

Strike off the concrete with a straight piece of lumber to smooth the surface and bring the slab to its proper elevation. Check for any low spots. Another pass with the piece of lumber provides a uniform surface for the following finishing operations. Immediately after strike off, a bull float is worked back and forth across the surface to remove any irregularities. Don’t overwork, or the surface may be weakened. At this point, edges can be tooled into the concrete.

Surface bleed water must evaporate before proceeding with the final finishing. Properly specified concrete should allow finishing operations to begin almost immediately. A concrete broom is used for the final finish. Before brooming, the surface should be stiff enough to retain marks or grooves left by the bristles of the broom. A trowel finish is not recommended because it could leave the surface slippery and unsafe. The rougher broom finish improves traction.

Jointing

Joints in concrete pavements control the location and spread of cracks. They can be hand-tooled or saw cut, and should be made to a depth of no less than 1 inch for a four inch thick slab. Joints should be spaced no more than 10 feet apart for a 4 inch slab. Driveways that are wider, 12 feet or more, also require a joint down the center. Panels should be as square as possible, but in no case, should the long side be more than 1½ times longer than the shorter side. Jointing should begin as soon as possible after the finishing operations. If jointing is to be done with a hand groover, proceed when the concrete sustains foot pressure with only a ¼ inch indentation. If sawed, begin within 24 hours.