A concrete apron is the widened area that connects the driveway to the street. Even if the driveway is crushed stone or asphalt is likely to have an apron made of concrete to accommodate any traffic that might turn into the drive.
Step 1- Check the Local Codes
Check with your local code enforcement agency to see what requirements and specifications they may have before you start to install the concrete apron.
Step 2 –Follow General Guidelines
Even if you are not subject to any code restrictions you can follow some general guidelines. A driveway meant to accommodate two cars side by side is from 16-feet to 24-feet wide. The width will be determined by the space available and the size of the vehicles using the driveway. Next, decide on the thickness of the slab. It should be at least 4 inches thick and up to 6 inches thick if it will accommodate trucks. Depending on the soil conditions you may need to add up to 2 more inches to the slab to make it durable. Take into account any drainage issues before installing the apron.
Step 3 – Compact the Soil
The soil should be compacted about 4” in depth. This is especially important where the soil is soft or known to shift and create foundation problems.
Step 4 – Lay the Gravel Bed
Dig down 8 to 10 inches and lay in a bed of gravel of about 4 inches in depth. The slab should be about 2 inches above grade.
Step 5 – Construct the Forms
Use 2”x6” lumber to make the forms that the concrete will be poured into. When putting in the forms remember to allow for a slope from the driveway level to the street and any curbs that you will need. To create the curved entry to the driveway pound stakes into the edge by the sidewalk 15 feet from the edge of the driveway. Put a nail into each stake. Attach a string to the nail and use it as a compass to create a curved pattern. Build forms to accommodate the curve.
Step 6 – Pour the Concrete
For added strength, you can lay down a grid of reinforcing steel rods. Pour in about 2 ½ inches of concrete and then lay put down the steel rods. Finally pour in the rest of the concrete. At this point, it should be smoothed with a float to create a level surface. Using a trowel cut in isolation joints about that are about one-fourth of the depth of the slab so that the concrete will be able to flex and minimize cracks.
Step 7 – Let It Cure
Let the concrete cure and dry thoroughly before driving on it. It is a good idea to stake it off so someone doesn’t turn into your drive by mistake.
Installing a concrete apron will look good from the street and protect your driveway.