There are dozens of companies in the Tulsa area that can tear out and replace simple flat concrete, like driveways, sidewalks and patios, around your house. However, if you want a truly quality job designed from the start to perform as expected for decades, then the list of qualified resources shrinks dramatically.
One of these more highly qualified companies is Engineered Concrete Systems. As the company’s name implies, all projects are reviewed by a professional engineer. This step helps ensure that the project meets the key design standards, which maximize the strength of the concrete and the lifespan of the finished work. The relatively small difference in upfront cost for a proper installation pales in comparison to that of a future failure, tear-out and replacement cycle.
What separates a proper concrete installation from the rest? Let’s take a look at a great example. Driveways are the most common repair job in the world of concrete. Every home has a driveway, which sees heavier traffic and usage than any other concrete around the house. Many existing driveways, sidewalks and patios, known as “flat work,” have historically been, and commonly still are, poured directly onto the soil. Some have reinforcing steel, called rebar, embedded, but most do not. These are choices made strictly to reduce job cost.
In contrast, proper concrete installation includes a compacted gravel bed to separate the new concrete from the soil. Direct soil contact prevents the concrete from curing properly and reaching its maximum strength. Given enough time, direct soil contact can lead to premature failure and potential breakdown of the concrete itself. The gravel bed also helps protect the concrete from soil movements that might create destructive stresses on the concrete. The addition of rebar helps to prevent the concrete from experiencing tensile stresses. Concrete handles compression beautifully, but tension leads to cracking. Together this system works very well to extend the useful life of the installation. But, it does have a higher initial cost than a stripped-down installation.