How to Save Money on a Concrete Driveway

There are several things to consider when saving money on a concrete driveway.

There are several things to consider when saving money on a concrete driveway.

When money is tight, it's important to save it where you can. Many home owners find that installation of concrete driveways can be quite expensive; however, there are some things that can be done to decrease the costs and save some money. These tips about concrete driveway installation can help you save money and avoid additional costs.

Calculate Correctly

Measure your driveway area, and measure it, again. Getting the correct dimensions will help you figure the amount of concrete you need to order, in addition to knowing how much lumber you'll need for forms and the amount of sub-grade material you'll need for the base of your driveway. Figure in that your driveway should be a minimum of 6 inches thick to avoid cracking under the weight of vehicles and normal use. Remember to figure in gravel or soil for the bed of your driveway, too.

Obtain Permit

Most cities require any home improvement project to pass inspection through the permit process before it's started. Provide your plans to your local planning commission and pay any required fees. At some point during your construction, a zoning official may stop by your home to inspect your work. Failing to obtain a permit may result in having to pay additional fines if you're caught working without one.

Determine Necessary Tools

If you think you may need a skid loader to excavate the dirt or move the gravel for your base, consider renting one from your local rental store. Additionally, renting a cement mixer is much more economical than purchasing one. You will need brooms and concrete floats to finish your concrete once it's poured. Borrow these tools, or rent them, instead of buying them, since you will probably not need them again anytime soon. If after your tool assessment, you decide that you have very few of the necessary tools for the job, it may be time to simply consider hiring a contractor to do the job for you.

Compare Material Costs

Shop around for the best prices you can find on concrete per yard and lumber for your forms. You may want to contact salvage companies for reduced rates on sub-grade materials, such as rebar or mesh.

Patch Your Driveway

Consider patching your existing driveway instead of pouring a new one. Use ready-mix concrete to fill in any gaps, holes or chips. Allow it to dry before for at least 24 hours before driving on the patched areas.

Avoid the Extras

Stamping and textured concrete look really good, but they can be really costly. If you're doing it yourself, the stamping equipment is expensive. If you're hiring someone to do it, they will charge you extra costs to stamp your driveway. Colored concrete can make quite a statement, but if money is the issue, avoid it; colored concrete is more expensive than standard. Keep your driveway as straight as possible. Extra bends and curves in it add more volume to it and can make it more difficult to set up.

About the Author

Vicki Wright, writing and editing professionally since 1996, has extensive business management, marketing and media experience. Wright has a Bachelor of Science in socio-poltical communication from Missouri State University and became certified as a leadership facilitator from the Kansas Leadership Center in 2010.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images