CUSTOMERS NEEDS: Having already completed several projects for this customer in the past—minor roof and exterior wood wrought replacement, as well as a full kitchen remodel—they made contact with us to replace their front stoop and driveway.
The stoop had pulled away from their house by about 2 inches and the driveway, which was completely cracked throughout, showed signs of sinking about 6 inches and caused water to run across their walkway in the rain; however, many of their neighbors also noted that they were having similar problems with their stoops and driveways.
EXPLANATION: Since I have a strong background working with track builders, I explained to the customer that when her neighborhood was built 20 years ago, it was common practice to use 2000 psi concrete without adding rebar or crushed run underneath the driveway (although this still happens today). While this type of construction appears structurally sound at first, the only thing supporting the driveway is loosely-graded Georgia clay, dirt, and concrete.
In regards to the stoop, in many cases, builders fail to install a stoop arm that is the same depth as the basement footer; therefore, when the grader backfills the walls with dirt that has not been compacted, the dirt begins to sink over time, which eventually causes the stoop to pull away from the house.
OUR PROCESS: Since re-pouring the concrete presented us with the best opportunity for success, we began by re-grading the dirt so that it would have the proper pitch away from the garage and installed 2 inches of compacted crushed run material, before tying the rebar into the existing garage footer. From there, we built a 4-foot by 4-foot rebar grid throughout the driveway, and completed the process with properly-cured 4000 psi concrete.
The stoop also required a complete replacement, so after removing the original stoop and discovering that it was not properly tied to the home, we built a new foundation with concrete blocks before drilling rebar into the house and concrete slab. From there, we filled the block cells with concrete before pouring a 2-inch concrete cap on top. To finish the project, we installed a selection of beautiful field stone and created a sturdy footer for the perimeter stone to sit on.
To finish, since water control was also a problem due to the fact that the actual home sits lower than the curb, we decided to install a 12-inch by 12-inch landscape drain box at the corner of the walkway to divert all of the water from the driveway into this box. From there, in an effort to make sure the ground water would not compromise the integrity of the driveway, walkway, and stoop, we also connected the down spout into the underground drain system.
In the end, the customer was very pleased with our work and is already making plans for our next project—a master bathroom remodel.
Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | www.CresBuilders.com | 770-983-4698