DIY Concrete Driveway Guide

DIY Concrete Driveway Guide

In the United States, there are nearly 140,000,000 homes and dwellings available.

Most of these are single-family homes, and a solid majority are owned by their occupants. Many people want driveways but don’t have them, which has led to an increase in DIY concrete driveway constructions.

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to doing it yourself when it comes to dealing with concrete. The key to doing it is to make sure that you have the tools ready and that you prepare the area. If you’re ready to find out more, let’s get into it.

DIY Concrete Driveway

You already have a garage or a carport and want a driveway. If you don’t have those things, maybe you’re thinking of building them afterward. Either way, this is how you get down to business and build yourself a concrete driveway.


The very first step in constructing your own DIY concrete driveway is to prepare the area that you want to use. If you are installing the driveway where there is a lack of drainage, or where the temperature freezes, you will need to construct a gravel bed.

This base layer of gravel should be about 4 inches thick. You will then want to make sure that the gravel is level, with a slight slope towards the street to promote drainage. This slope shouldn’t be too significant, with around 2 inches of slope for every 10 feet of driveway.

Next, you are going to need concrete sand to sprinkle on the gravel. This will allow you to build a solid base for your concrete. You will need to moisten the sand, which will help form the gravel together into an appropriate base.

You should also make sure that the gravel is tightly compacted. You can rent machines, drove equipment over the top of it, or even use your vehicle. The key is that it doesn’t develop voids or sink, which can damage the grading, or even cause the concrete to crack.

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Now that you have your driveway space sloped slightly to allow drainage, you are ready to begin the next step. For this, you will need to purchase 2×4 pieces of wood. This allows you to break up the job into smaller, more manageable sections.

Each form should be rectangular, forming a grid where you will want your concrete driveway to be. You will use this grid to organize your work. These pieces of wood don’t have to be removed, there are pros and cons to taking out the forms, but most professionals remove them.

Pouring Your Concrete

The most exciting and hardest part of a DIY concrete driveway is pouring the concrete. You should start in one corner of the form and pour into the form while a second person spreads out the concrete. The key here is not to spread the concrete too far.

Once you have enough to fill the form that you made, you will continue on another square. Imagine the squares of your grid like a chessboard, and you are filling all the black squares first. You may be wondering how thick should a concrete driveway be? It is recommended you go around 4 inches thick.

Level the Concrete

Now that you’ve poured your concrete, you will want to make sure that the top is level. To do that, use a straight piece of wood that stretches across each section. Run it across, taking off any of the top layers that aren’t level with the rest.

Smoothing the Concrete

An important step in making sure your DIY concrete driveway is properly made is to smooth the concrete. Once you have leveled your concrete, you will need to go over it to make sure the surface is smooth. This is easier to do with at least two people, by yourself it can be a backbreaker.

There are specific tools that you can use, often these are often held in the hand, or on the end of a pole. Either way, use your darby or bull-float to smooth the top of the concrete and prevent it from having any uneven ridges or bumps.

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The average driveway width is between 9-12 feet for a single vehicle. Make sure that if you are putting in a large driveway, you edge the concrete and joint it. A single large block of concrete will crack because the ground underneath it will move over time.

Curing the Concrete

Concrete shouldn’t be cured while dry. If you leave the concrete alone the top can dry too fast, and this will cause it to crack or become powdery. Instead, cover the top with straw or sand and then wet it down. Make sure that your material on top stays moist, and don’t walk on it for at least 3 or 4 days.

Once this is finished, the concrete is set. You still shouldn’t drive on your concrete for another ten days. This will prevent the weight of your vehicle from shifting any concrete inside the block that isn’t fully cured.

Having a Professional Do It

While it seems simple, making your own driveway can be an expensive proposition if you have to purchase all the tools and wood that you will need. This is in addition to the cost of concrete and gravel. If you don’t have any of these tools, you should look into the cost to pave driveway. 

Professionals have access to equipment that will speed up the process, and there is less chance that you will experience cracking or breaking of the concrete. Having a concrete driveway can be a beautiful addition to any property and will increase the value of your home.

The Best Choice For You

Depending on your mechanical skill and the tools and help you have available a DIY concrete driveway may be a great undertaking. If you don’t have those things, you may want to consider having it done for you. You don’t want to risk injury or having a badly constructed driveway that will last for decades.

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