Installing a Recycled Concrete Driveway: Your Step by Step Guide

You’ve probably heard of recycling paper, plastic and glass, but have you heard of recycling concrete? Throughout recent years, this practice has really blossomed in its popularity, and today, people across the United States are recognizing the value of repurposing concrete.

The quality aggregate materials come from concrete that has been excavated from demo’d building foundations, sidewalks, parking lots, driveways and more. It is then carefully screened to remove any foreign debris and is properly sized for use as a crushed stone aggregate.

RCA material is so reliable and affordable that it is frequently selected for constructing residential driveways. Best of all, it’s fast and easy to install. If you think recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) is the right material for your new driveway, this post will walk you through the construction and installation process.

Materials Required for Recycled Concrete Driveway Construction

  • Landscaping Tape/Paint
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Special Excavation and Compacting Equipment (optional)
  • Landscaping Fabric
  • Crushed Stone for Base
  • RCA
  • Rake
  • Edging Material (optional)

Step-By-Step Guide to Recycled Concrete Driveway Construction

Here are the suggested steps for a successful recycled concrete driveway installation:

Step 1: Choose the Right Supplier

First things first: if you hope to pull off a well-done recycled concrete driveway installation, you need to have the right materials to do it. This means seeking out an incredible supplier that provides the very best materials, offers competitive wholesale pricing and will provide you with superior customer service.

Look for a supplier that actually manufactures its own RCA on site in a local concrete recycling plant. This will ensure that the business has total control over the quality of production and will take pride in the materials it’s selling. It’s wise, too, to look for a supplier in good-standing with the community for long time.

Established businesses are the ones that have proven themselves to a loyal customer base. Finally, check out customer reviews to see what types of experiences others have had before you.

Step 2: Plan Your Layout

Now that your supplier is squared away, you’re ready to make actual plans for your new driveway. Remember that your driveway is one of the first things that people will notice about your property and that you’ll have to live with it for a long time.

This means that it’s very important to take the time to carefully consider how you want your driveway to look. Will it be long or short? Narrow or wide? Rectangular or rounded? You may even want to consult with a landscaping professional to determine which look is most appropriate for your property and your budget.

Once you’ve settled on a design, be sure to mark off the boundaries with flags, twine or landscaping paint in order to have a frame of reference as you move forward with the remaining steps.

Step 3 : Excavate the Area

After making sure that all of your boundaries are clearly marked (and that the width of your recycled concrete driveway will be uniform throughout), you’re ready to proceed to the excavation phase. Unless you’re planning a very small driveway, you’re going to need more power than just a shovel and some elbow grease.

Most Do-It-Yourselfers prefer to rent special digging equipment and tools to ease up the process. Because you’ll need 3 separate 3″-4″ layers of crushed stone and RCA, you will need to dig to an overall depth of 9″-12″ for your driveway. Be sure to dig to an even depth across the entire base.

Step 4: Clear the Area

Once you’ve excavated the area entirely, you’ll need to clear the floor of the driveway as well as the side “walls” of any roots, sticks, rocks or other debris. This will help to prevent shifting and displacement in the future. Upon finishing this task, use a tamping tool, roller or other equipment to thoroughly compact the earth.

Step 5: Apply Landscaping Fabric

After installing a beautiful recycled concrete driveway, the last thing you want is for weeds and other unwanted vegetation to grow up from underneath and penetrate the surface.

This is unsightly and can create problems with stability. It’s wise to take preventative action against these issues by applying a layer of landscaping fabric before pouring your materials into the newly excavated area.

Step 6: Calculate Materials Needs

You can’t just “eyeball” your driveway’s coverage area and make a guess on how much RCA and other crushed stone to purchase. Doing so could end up in you purchasing either too much stone (and thus wasting money) or buying too little (which would hold up your project and likely require you to pay for a second delivery of materials – a waste!).

Fortunately, these types of issues can easily be avoided when you make use of a reliable online materials calculator. All you’ll need to do is enter the length and width of your project area followed by the depth (for each layer) to learn how many cubic yards or cubic tons to buy.

Step 7: Pour Base Layer

The larger crushed stone will need to cover the entire floor of your excavated driveway space to a depth of 3″-4″. Be sure to compact the layer before moving on to a second layer of slightly smaller crushed materials.

Step 8: Pour RCA

You’re finally ready to pour the recycled concrete aggregate atop your new recycled concrete driveway. Make sure to pour evenly to ensure that the depth is even across the entire surface.

Step 9: Compact and Rake

Because you’ll be driving over the surface of your new driveway so frequently, it’s important that you take measures to ensure that it’s as structurally sound and stable as possible. This can be accomplished by taking the time to compact the surface.

This step makes certain that there are no large voids or areas where aggregate materials could shift position and move, thus creating a large dip or pothole which would detract from the beauty and functionality of the driveway. A roller can be used for this process, or you can simply drive your vehicle over the surface several times.

When done, be sure to rake the RCA to a slight peak running down the center of the drive to help water roll off of the edges in the event of rain.

Step 10: Add Edging Material

Many homeowners find that lining the perimeter of their recycled concrete driveway with some type of stone or mason edging materials helps the driveway to really “pop” and adds visual interest to the property. Larger stone, bricks, pavers and similar materials are a great option here.

In addition to looking fabulous and increasing property value, a driveway edge or border can also help to prevent stones from being displaced and scattered about as a result of vehicular and foot traffic.

Ready to get started with your recycled concrete driveway installation? Reach out to the experts at Braen Stone. We have all of the materials you need to get the job done as efficiently and affordably as possible.

Our recycled concrete is available at competitive wholesale prices and can be picked up or bulk delivered to locations throughout NJ, NY, PA and CT.


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By | 2017-04-21T15:43:16+00:00 February 25th, 2016|RCA|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.