How to Prepare the Base for a Cement Driveway

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How to Prepare the Base for a Cement Driveway

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Designing and building a concrete driveway requires ample planning and preparation. The path of the driveway determines the various needs for the preparation of the area. A driveway that passes over moist soil or areas high in clay should have a layer of rock laid down for additional drainage. The driveway should ideally follow the contours of the land but can cut through small hills or inclines. Preparing the area requires digging out the ground, tamping the ground flat and laying down a moisture barrier of some form.


Mark the area for the driveway with marking paint. Spray a line around the desired edges of the concrete driveway.


Dig the area out to a depth of 7 to 8 inches. Extend slightly beyond the desired edges to allow room for the erection of concrete forms.


Tamp the ground with a hand tamper, a long pole with a heavy, square base and two handles on the sides, or with a mechanical tamper. The tamper compacts the dirt to provide a solid base for the structure.


Spread a 1-to-2-inch layer of crushed gravel with a rake. The gravel should extend to the edges of the hole and be level. Tamp the gravel smooth and flat. The remaining hole should be 6 inches deep. Add or remove gravel as needed to obtain the proper depth.


Stretch out 2-by-6-inch wood planks along the edges to act as the concrete form. Drive wood ground stakes into the ground with a mallet. Hammer nails through the stakes into the wood planks to secure the form to the ground and in the proper shape. Drive nails through the ends of one 2-by-6-inch plank into the end of a joining plank at an angle to secure the joints. The tops of the wood planks should be flushed with adjoining planks.


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