Concrete Work

Concrete is very often ignored as a potential for drives or paving surfaces, often because of the percieved lack of colour or design that you can achieve when laying concrete. If you have grown up with your parents plain, boring sometimes cracked concrete surfaces please put those out of your mind now because concrete can look beautiful. The HUGE range of decorative, patterned concrete finishes become more and more popular these days and the choice of finishes offer a wide choice of colours, textures and patterns.

Plain-vanilla concrete is often used in places where a good look is not needed or required, for example shed bases, garage spaces, dog kennels, or hard standings. It’s cheap and easy to lay and utilitarian.

Modern-day concrete enhancements have led to the introduction of fibre-reinforced concrete that can make exceptionally strong pavements and driveways, getting rid of the need for steel reinforcement for heavy-duty work. Your local concrete supplier will be able to tell you which type of concrete is best suited for you if you give them a call.



100 mm), or whatever depth is necessary for the concrete slab you’re going to use. As part of that dinging make sure that all reads and any other organic material is removed. If there are any soft spots in the ground take those out and fill them in with probably, the sub base material that you’re going to use for the drive itself.

No matter what kind of concrete finish you want to use, the surface needs to be dug down to a depth of at least 4 inches

If the area that you are concreting is known to be particularly troublesome with hard to remove weeds, it’s probably a good idea to treat the soil once you’ve dug it out the general weedkiller. Although it is unlikely that any weed will be able to get through the concrete laid above it. If any edging blocks or pay viewers are going to be used, this is the best time to construct that edging. Brick edgings, when a plane or decorative or cobbles are suitable. Also, at this stage a temporary shuttering maple plywood or something like it can be used if you’re not going to have a decorative edging.

See also sub grades link here. Paragraph


Assuming that you have a good ground beneath you, concrete can be placed straight on top of a suitable hard wearing damp-proof membrane sheet over the prepared subgrade. If this concrete is being put down for particularly heavy duty work, or on poor ground, then it is a good idea to make a sub-base of compacted scalping is gravel (I.E.granular substrate) or a lean mix concrete beneath the concrete slab itself. Occasionally it is necessary to lay a sub-base over a geo-textile sheet. If you have particularly soft or dodgy soil, a well-laid sub-base is going to spread the load of the concrete slab (which is heavy in itself) but if you are particularly worried you really do need the advice or opinion of a civil or structural engineering specialist. If in doubt, your local authority will be happy to VAT I advise you about the local conditions and may even advise you about trustworthy, local contractors.

Preparing to lay

If you are laying the concrete path then you need to put down between 75 and 100 mm of concrete. If you are laying a driveway, garage space or hardstanding then you need to put down at least 100 mm of concrete. If you are going to put such vehicles as heavy duty bands, then a 150-200 mm concrete slab is required. And if you are going for very, very heavy loads like lorry parks commercial scrapyards and the like you really do need to put down at least 200 mm of concrete and that should also be professionally designed as it’s going to need a subbase, reinforcing mesh and/or reinforced concrete.

Damp proof membrane

The reason for your damp proof membrane is two-folder. First of you need to protect the bottom of the slab from ingress from damp or other chemicals in the subbase or subgrade and it’s also to protect damaging the concrete from beneath. The second point is that a DPM will stop the new concrete from getting to dry to quickly. Having no DPM can mean that the layers underneath the concrete soak the water out of the poured concrete and that is going to affect the final strengths of poured concrete. If the area to be concreted is wider than the width of your membrane you should overlap the layers membrane by 350 mm and in an ideal world those joints should be taped the suitable tape to stop groundwater getting up or water from the concrete going down.


Any reinforcing material required for concrete is there to make sure that any cracking that can occur does not threaten the overall strength and integrity of the poor. You can read more about this on our reinforcement page.

Movement joints

In large surfaces or specialist or awkward situations, it can be necessary to put in movement joints. These can be for expansion, contraction, isolating certain areas, or crack control and they are put in concrete slabs to protect the slab itself cracking or two take account of movement over time of a large slab.

The purpose and how they are done can be read about on our joints for concrete.

Buying concrete

Click here to learn about buying concrete, using concrete, pouring concrete how long to cure and how long to leave it before you use it.

To get back to our home page for the best block driveways in Bristol.

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