Laying A New Driveway

Occasionally a homeowner will need to have a new driveway built, typically after many years of frustration with their otherwise muddy driveway, or after they have just purchased an older house. In the former case the homeowner will have had to either save up for the new driveway all borrow off the bank, probably by adding to their existing mortgage. In the latter case the homeowner will have made certain that the mortgage they got for the new property also covered the cost of the new driveway.

For the bank they will be comfortable that a new driveway will add a lot to the value of an existing property, and generally the rule of thumb in New Zealand is that the value added will be at least four times the cost of the driveway.

The homeowner has a number of options for the surface of the new driveway, including concrete, tarseal, pavers or even just metal.  While tarseal is often used for new homes and sloping driveways because it has good grip and looks pretty cool,  concrete is mostly what it is chosen for an existing older home. If the homeowner has the energy and the friends who can help then they can try laying a driveway themselves or at try least preparing the driveway base,  but in most cases the homeowner will ask for tenders or quotes for this work.

Assuming they get at least three different quotes they should then check with somebody like the city council to see if there is a preferred contractor that the council can verify is providing a very good job, all they should ask the contractors to provide references for the best concrete contractor Wellington has ever seen. Once they have signed a contract then the work can start immediately,  and good contractors will be very efficient.

Typically the homeowner will want to replace a Muddy driveway and provide additional off Street parking,  and so the work may involve digging up an existing old driveway which could include old concrete, and potentially removing an  existing tree and shrubs. The contractor will have a quality mechanical digger and a  skilled operator, and so they will be able to operate very quickly to prepare the base and lay out the formwork for the new driveway.

Once the driveway boxing has been laid out the contractor will lay a bed of chip metal, and then will lay out the steel reinforcing mesh. The final concrete pour will generally be done in one lot, working from the back of the driveway, and as the concrete is being poured up the driveway towards the road the contractor will be leveling off the concrete and finishing it off with their machine powered float.

Generally the concrete will take 3 to 5 days to cure sufficiently to carry the weight of a vehicle, and if the pour was done in very hot weather then it should be kept damp during the curing process. However this is not necessary if it was poured in cold and damp weather.