When installing a new concrete driveway, the transitions, where the new concrete meets the existing concrete areas, like the garage floor, sidewalks and the street... these should be a smooth transition. No trip hazards, no bumps and no low or high spots for water diversion.
Concrete transitions into the garage:
Regardless of the drainage, the transition should be smooth as opposed to a bump or a lip or anything that could act as a water barrier. This is important because an unethical contractor may lead us to believe that installing a bump is quite normal to divert water or to act as a barrier for water when installing concrete driveways. On the contrary!
Here's three examples of what we’re referring to:
A Driveway With A Slope Away From The Garage
If a driveway has a natural slope away from the garage, the sub-grade should be excavated equal to the thickness that’s being installed right in front of the concrete garage pad and continue out to maintain drainage away from the garage. When the concrete is installed, the transition should be smooth. No bumps, no water barriers, no feathering... nothing.
A Flat Driveway
If the driveway is flat, then the installation contractor will need to excavate down equal to the thickness of the proposed concrete thickness and continue out to make the water drain away from the garage. If that can't be done, then often times a swayle, a dip, or a drain channel can be installed which will divert any water from running towards the garage, off to the sides and ultimately off of the concrete. Still, the sub-grade should be excavated down equal to the thickness of the concrete being installed. When the concrete is installed and dries, this transition should be smooth as well.
A Driveway With A Slope Towards The Garage
If the driveway slopes down into the garage the installation contractor should excavate the sub-grade just before the concrete apron or garage floor equal to the thickness of the concrete being poured and cutting a swayle that goes down and then back up into the garage. Just enough to keep the water from running back up into the garage. Except in extreme downpours, this should keep the water from running down the driveway and into the garage. Again, the sub-grade needs to be excavated down the equivalent of the thickness of the concrete being installed for that smooth transition into the garage.
In extreme cases, a drain channel can be installed in front of the garage to divert heavy rainfalls or snow melt, but we don't recommend them as they can fill up with dirt and become plugged, as well as during the winter, can freeze full of ice.
Be cautious of any installation contractor that recommends a bump or a lip to divert the water. The only thing keeping a contractor from excavating this properly is the additional work that’s involved.
Concrete transitions onto sidewalks:
Just like the garage, the sub-grade should be excavated down equivalent to the thickness of concrete that’s being installed. This transition should be smooth as well, avoiding dangerous trip hazards.
Concrete transitions onto the street:
When it comes to the transition from the street onto the asphalt, just like the garage, the sub-grade should be excavated down equivalent to the thickness of concrete that’s being installed. This transition should be smooth as well. Some counties don't want your water from your driveway running into their road, therefore a swayle may need to be installed to divert the water coming off of the driveway. Either way, this should also be a smooth transition also.
All reputable contractors are going to take the time to ensure transitions are installed properly. But this is an area where "fly by night" contractors and travelers are going to cut corners and try to do minimal grading and feather these areas in. Short term, it may look just fine, but long term, they can be a nightmare.
Avoid concrete scams and see our report on "The Most Common Ways Concrete Installation Contractors Rip Us Off and How To Avoid Them"™.
Or make it easy and request a concrete installation estimate from one of our Trusted Contractors!
On the other hand, if you have already had your driveway installed and think you may have been ripped off, File A Complaint and we'll investigate it. If we find the contractor was in the wrong, we'll try to help you recoup your losses.