Concrete paving is done in different ways depending on the size of your job. For driveways, the concrete may be spread around manually, but for roads and big parking lots, most of the work may be done by heavy machinery. However, all concrete paving has to go through these same basic steps.
Making the base for the concrete is an important step. The base has to be compacted well so the concrete stays stable and doesn't crack. The soil has to be level with proper drainage installed so water drains away from the road, parking lot, or driveway. Preparing the soil may require dumping gravel over the area and compacting it into the soil with a machine, so the soil and gravel are firmly packed. Once the base and drainage are ready, the concrete paving can begin.
Paving Small Areas
If you're having a new concrete driveway put in, the contractor will create the base, build a frame around the edges of the driveway, add rebar reinforcement, dump concrete on the area, and then have the concrete spread and leveled by the work crew. The concrete is leveled by screeding, which is using boards that rest on the frame and are pulled over the top of the concrete.
Brooms and hand tools are also used to finish the top of the concrete so it has a smooth appearance. However, the crew may scruff the surface a little with a broom so your driveway won't be slick. Joints are also made in the concrete to allow for expansion and contraction and to control cracking.
The final step is to apply a curing agent to the surface. When the concrete is hard enough, the frames are removed and then you just have to wait for the concrete to cure before you can use your driveway. This could be a week or so, depending on the weather.
Paving Large Areas
If you need a large parking lot paved or if you're paving a road, then the contractor brings concrete paving equipment to the job. A paving machine is a large piece of machinery that does most of the paving work itself. When the base is ready for concrete, the crew pours the concrete in front of the machine and the machine rolls over the top of it to level, screed, shape, and finish the concrete.
Other times, the contractor puts down a metal frame instead and uses multiple machines that move along the frame to level, shape, and finish the concrete. In both cases, once the concrete is in place, a machine needs to scruff the surface and joints are added. Then, the work is completed by adding a curing compound and waiting for the concrete to harden and get ready for traffic.
To learn more about concrete paving, contact a professional near you.