PART 2: HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT CONCRETE DRIVEWAY CONTRACTOR

Once you have decided which type of concrete driveway or patio finish is the right one for your home or office, the next step is to ensure you hire the right concrete driveway contractor within the Melbourne area. Although you might be tempted to use a non-professional for the job, there are pros and cons to doing so.

Pros of using a non-professional

It is often the cost factor that tempts homeowners and businesses to employ an amateur to install their concrete or exposed aggregate surfacing, and some of these amateurs can offer to do the job very quickly. However there is often a reason for the reduction in time and this is one of the negatives when it comes to using this type of contractor.

Cons of using a non-professional

Although you only get to see the surface of the concrete driveway or patio finish, it is the layers underneath that provide strength and stability. This means preparation of the ground underneath, including digging and levelling the ground, applying a membrane or geo-sheet if the earth is soft, putting in a sub-base as the main load bearer, and adding a bedding layer of sand before the paving layer. Finally, the concrete is finished off with a texture or aggregate and possibly colouring, all of which takes time to ensure it is completely done up to a professional standard.

A non-professional may try to skimp on some of the steps in order to save time and money, but it won’t be until you are a few months into using the driveway that you notice cracks or crumbling in the finish, and you become aware of underlying problems. A non-professional will probably not have the correct heavy-duty equipment or specialised tools needed to complete the job properly, and could end up carrying out the work without first ensuring that it conforms to any local council requirements, including planning permission or meeting the standards of Building Control.

Selection criteria to consider when choosing the right concrete driveway contractor

Start by talking to neighbours or relatives who have had new concrete driveways or patio finishes carried out by contractors in the Brighton, Toorak, Kew or Surrey Hills area. Look at the work that has been carried out, particularly if it was a few years ago, to see if it has stood the test of time. Check with your local Council to see if they have a list of approved contractors that they work with as well, and see if you can get a look at some of their work.

Check the condition of the concrete; if it has been incorrectly mixed or not cured properly then holes and cracks will start to appear. If intact, look at the overall finish of the work. On textured finishes the work should be even and free from any imprints, which shows the contractor failed to properly protect the surface during the curing of the cement. Uneven patio edges are also a giveaway of lack of attention to detail, and if joints are not placed less than 10 feet apart to control cracking, then problems can occur and cracks will appear in random places.

Current references should also be checked wherever possible, and then you need to get a couple of quotes, making sure they include the following:

✔ Site preparation and excavation
✔ Removal of old debris
✔ Slab thickness
✔ Surface finishes
✔ Tints/colours
✔ Replacement of any damaged turf/surrounding vegetation

Finally, if you can get a copy of their current liability insurance policy number, which you can verify, and if they are a verified member of a professional body relating to their occupation, then you will have covered all the angles needed to make the right choice for your job.

All you have to do then is place your order for a new concrete or raised aggregate driveway, and sit back and relax!