Whether you are installing a dumpster pad, roadway, parking lot, or driveway, concrete base preparation is virtually always critical. Unless the ground beneath your new pavement is as strong as granite, improper base preparation can lead to cracking or subsidence. To understand the importance of base preparation, it might be helpful to begin by exploring the concept in greater detail.
How Do Contractors Prepare a Concrete Base?
Concrete companies typically divide everything that lies beneath the pavement into three levels, which are the subgrade, subbase, and base.
1. The subgrade is the soil that is present at the site. It may be native, or it may be amended. Typically, concrete contractors compact the soil to remove air pockets and make the soil denser, more stable, and stronger.
2. The subbase is normally a laver of gravel that a concrete company installs on top of the subgrade. The thickness of the subbase plays a role in the amount of weight that the slab can support. The subbase can also help prevent groundwater from wicking up into the slab. To ensure that the subbase does its job, contractors must compact it properly.
3. The base course contains material that is easy to trim and compactible so that it will maintain stability throughout the construction process. The base helps your concrete contractor obtain a uniform slab thickness, an even surface, and the proper grade. The base can also reduce the likelihood of cracks from drying shrinkage. Just like the subgrade and subbase, a concrete company must compact the base properly.
How Do Concrete Companies Compact the Subgrade, Subbase, and Base?
Contractors may use either static or vibratory force to achieve proper compaction. Static force compaction involves just the weight of the machine. Vibratory force compaction may involve the use of ride-on or walk-behind machines with vibrating rollers or plates. The choice of equipment will depend on the size of the job as well as other specific factors.
How Important Is the Subgrade When Installing a Concrete Pavement?
Ultimately, the subgrade is what supports the weight of the pavement and everything on top of it. In the Dallas area, concrete contractors can encounter three different types of soil.
1. Topsoil is the worst type of soil for supporting a concrete driveway, parking lot, or road. It is virtually impossible to compact to any degree, much less to the degree that a concrete installation requires. Typically, concrete companies remove a specific depth of topsoil so that they can replace it with a suitable compactible soil.
2. Cohesive soils have a high amount of clay. Clay’s tendency to shrink and expand during dry and wet seasons can cause the slab to crack, uplift, or sink. Cohesive soils are also notoriously difficult to compact.
3. Granular soils have high amounts of gravel, sand, or both. Concrete contractors usually consider granular soils as the best type to find at a project’s site. Granular soils are easy to compact, drain water efficiently, and have the best load-bearing strength of all soil types.
When you need a trustworthy, experienced contractor for your concrete installation or concrete repair project, contact HI-TEK Paving. We have an exceptional reputation, great references, and a knowledgeable, highly skilled staff. We also offer asphalt paving and repair, sealcoating, asphalt overlays, parking lot striping, asphalt crack repairs, and parking lot maintenance. We serve customers throughout the DFW metroplex. For a free quote, fill out the online request form, email Info@HI-TEKPavingDallas.com, or call 214-908-9641.