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Pour Your Own Driveway vs. Enlisting The ExpertsBy admin
Monday, 9 September 2019
Any time that a homeowner decides to have some home improvement work done, the main concern will be budget. It is all too easy to let the budget get out of control and to spend much more than expected.
When it comes to replacing or improving your driveway, the chances of this happening can be even higher. Driveways can be complicated to lay, and, therefore, need careful thought (or a good contractor).
If you are thinking about pouring your own driveway in a bid to save money, there are many things you should think about-after due consideration has been given, you may decide that employing a good contractor is the better plan.
It is true that a new driveway can have a huge impact on the look and the value of your home. Estates agents find that a home with an impressive outdoor space can sell for 20% more than homes where the outdoor space is less usable.
Your driveway can set your home apart from others in the street and it offers a great first impression.
But it is a long-term investment; a good driveway can cost many thousands of pounds. If you just have a few hundred, you might think about doing it yourself. This is certainly possible, but may not be the best idea, as the following article reveals…
The driveway edges will need to be shored up with some kind of edging system. This is sometimes embedded bricks, or special edging strips
Pouring A Driveway: The Process
When we talk about pouring a driveway, it usually means a concrete or asphalt driveway. These can be done by a DIYer who is competent, and who has the required skills and equipment. The process of preparation and pouring is as follows:
● The current driveway will need to be broken up and removed. The ease of doing this will depend on how thick the current driveway is, but it is usually easily done. You will need a skip to remove the pieces of broken concrete or tarmac.
● The bare earth will need to be dug down to the correct depth depending on the type of driveway you are pouring. At the same time, the ground should be levelled and graded away from the house, to prevent water buildup around your home’s foundations.
● The driveway edges will need to be shored up with some kind of edging system. This is sometimes embedded bricks, or special edging strips.
● The ground is the then covered with a layer of crushed gravel. This is used to improve drainage, and to filter water as it passes through the driveway and enters the ground. The crushed gravel should be rolled to ensure it is flat and level.
● The concrete or asphalt can then be poured over the crushed gravel. In the case of concrete, you may need to allow expansion gaps every two metres. This ensures that the concrete will not crack as it warms and cools across the seasons.
● You will need to wait until the driveway has completely dried before using it; bear in mind that some concrete and asphalt can take many weeks before it it is fully cured.
● An asphalt driveway should be sealed after around 6 months, and should be resealed every 2-3 years after this.
For driveways that will last, and one that will not need too much maintenance, using a contractor is always a good idea, as they'll ensure it's installed correctly from the outset!
Why Choose A Credible Contractor?
While pouring your own driveway is certainly possible, there are many reasons why using a good contractor actually makes a lot of sense.
Despite the aim of doing it yourself being the opportunity to save money, you may find that using a contractor is better value for money, and that your driveway lasts longer and looks better than the result you get from your own efforts. Here’s 5 more reasons to enlist the help of the experts:
The simple fact is that a good contractor will have poured many driveways and will understand everything from the type of soil you have, through to the right type of concrete of asphalt mix for the weather conditions.
In short, they have experience on their side, and will get it right first time.
A contractor will, in most cases, have the equipment needed to carry out the job. This includes things like: small diggers, trucks for carrying away rubble, heavy duty rollers and jack hammers.
A DIYer can certainly hire these items, but this will add to your costs, and you will spend time learning how to use the equipment.
There are parts of the job of pouring a driveway that are time consuming, and some parts that need to be carried out quickly to prevent the material drying too fast. This means that your contractor will know how many people are required at certain stages in the process.
They can have the job completed in a just a couple of days, whereas you as an individual could be looking at many days of work.
Your contractor is going to be able to access materials that you may not have access to, or even be aware of.
While any DIYer can order a cement truck, or buy concrete mix off the shelf, a contractor will be able to source cheaper or recycled asphalt or they can use materials that you may never have heard of, such as resin bound surfacing. These specialist materials can give your driveway a more interesting look.
While you are paying for the expertise of your contractor, you may find that the overall costs are not so different to the costs of doing it yourself.
By the time you have added up the cost of equipment hire, removal of waste, your time and the materials, you may discover that you would have been better off hiring a contractor in the first place.
This is the main reason why a contractor will almost always be better than a DIY job.
A contractor understands the importance of a good base, they will understand how to avoid water issues that can lead to cracking and crumbling and they will take the time to ensure their work is going to last – especially if they offer a guarantee of their work.
Pouring your own driveway can be a great idea if you are willing to put n the hard work, and you understand D.I.Y work of this kind quite well. If you follow the steps carefully, and take your time, there is no reason why you can’t do a great job
Why You Should Always Prioritise Personal Recommendations
There are lots of ways to find a good contractor, but the best way is to ask friends and family (or your neighbours) for their personal recommendations. This way you can ask lots of questions, and discover the contractors that practice what they preach.
You should always carry out due diligence on your contractor before you choose them. This includes: an online search of their company, checking they have a local address and phone number and that they exist in the real world and not just online.
Review sites are an excellent way to find out what other customers think of your contractor. While not all reviews will be entirely positive, it is the way that any complaints have been dealt with that truly indicates a good business compared to a poor one.
If the contractor takes the time to fix problems and to engage with an unhappy customer, you know they are one of the good ones.
Trade body registration is also a good indicator of a contractor’s credibility. If they are registered, it means they have been assessed and checked by the trade body. This usually means a face to face meeting, and the contractor will pay a fee. This is a great sign they are serious about their craft.
Pouring your own driveway can be a great idea if you are willing to put n the hard work, and you understand D.I.Y work of this kind quite well. If you follow the steps carefully, and take your time, there is no reason why you can’t do a great job.
However, you may find that the benefits of a contractor outweigh the savings you might make. Plus you will get a driveway that looks the part – without needing to break a sweat!
Desperately seeking a driveway of distinction that will stand the test of time? Resin bound surfacing offers exactly that-at an affordable price to match. Take the first step to upgrading your existing driveway today, by giving us a call on 0800 1700 636, or simply clicking the button below!
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