What is the correct thickness for a concrete driveway?
If you are looking to pour your own concrete driveway, or looking for contractor quotes, you might be confused as to how thick your driveway should be. This article will discuss the thickness of the road.
The thickness of concrete required for a driveway is based on the weight of the vehicles that will use it. Most homes with cars, trucks, or SUVs can suffice with a four-inch-thick concrete slab. This is based on vehicles that weigh 10,000 pounds. or less. To give an example, an average truck or SUV weighs between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds, and even a boat on a trailer usually doesn’t exceed 8,500.
Where you will see the need for a thicker driveway is if you plan to have heavier vehicles on it. For the average home, that largest vehicle is usually a motor home. Most RVs start at 10,000 pounds. and go up to 30,000 (which doesn’t necessarily take into account the extra weight loaded). So if you’re looking for a spot for your personal RV, you’ll want to go up to 5 or 6 inches thick for your concrete driveway.
Is thicker better to prevent cracking?
The concrete will crack. Period. However, thicker does not always mean less cracking is guaranteed. Generally, cracking is caused by other factors that may be related to thickness, but not caused by thickness. For example, as mentioned above, if too much weight is placed on a thinner concrete driveway, yes, it can ultimately lead to cracking. Another major cause of cracking is not having a solid foundation under the driveway. Concrete does its best on solid surfaces that have no movement. In areas where the soil is primarily sand or clay, severe cracks are more likely to occur. And, in such cases, a thinner poured driveway would suffer faster than a thicker one. However, a good contractor will know how to lay a proper foundation to prepare the ground for the concrete slab, so whether the driveway is four inches or five, precautions have been taken to protect it from excessive cracking. Also, the use of wire mesh or rebar (rebar) in placing the concrete will maintain the integrity of the concrete longer, regardless of the thickness of the slab.
Although the price of the job itself has many variables and can fluctuate across the country, it is approximately 20% more than the cost of concrete to go from a four-inch-thick slab to a five-inch-thick slab. However, adding that extra inch increases your driveway’s weight capacity by 50%.
If you choose the four-inch thickness, you will save money because that thickness does not require rebar to strengthen it. Most contractors use the wire mesh mentioned above, which is considerably cheaper and still very effective.