The entry of the driveway is just a rock bed with no concrete. I want to replace it, it doesn't have to be replaced with concrete so I'm open to suggestions there. If it is a diy, what are the high level steps involved? What about tools? I know the old stuff has to go, but beyond that I don't know. I'm in MI, USA also in case there are some local laws anyone is aware of.

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    My guess is that most DIY'ers would underestimate the physical demands of such a job – Steven Apr 23 '13 at 18:49
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    Well, there's two questions here, really. One is removing an existing concrete driveway. The other is putting in a driveway. The former is tough DIY, smashing and hauling concrete is not a simple job. The latter can certainly be DIY, but we'd likely need to know what you are looking to replace it with. There's lots of options for driveways. Perhaps adding a few more details will help people answer the 'is it DIY' part. – DA01 Apr 23 '13 at 18:59
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    @MDMoore313 "How do I make a concrete pad?" is a good, on topic, answerable question. "Can I do it myself?" is not. I personally don't agree any "Is [project] diy" question should be on topic, but that's a matter for Meta. – Tester101 Apr 23 '13 at 19:00
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    If you want an idea of the kind of work involved in removing that amount of earth, take a look at my blog post which will eventually go up on DIY.SE's blog - giamban.co/patio.php I haven't even started on the patio yet; still working on leveling and building forms for the planting beds. Not to demotivate you; just to give you an idea. I'm doing it with just hand tools also - no Skid Steer or excavators. – lsiunsuex Apr 23 '13 at 19:23
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    If you can stand the elevation gain, the existing rocks might work just fine as part of the concrete base. – Bryce Oct 27 '13 at 0:51

DIY option:

  • rent a skid steer
  • scrape off existing driveway
  • buy crushed rock
  • spread with skid steer, rake
  • rent a compacter and compact crushed rock layer
  • bring in sand, spread, screed and level.
  • buy concrete pavers
  • start laying them
  • depending on your age/health, buy lots of Advil

Good luck!

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    LOL. I love this answer. – shirlock homes Apr 23 '13 at 18:47
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    For the record, I have done this for a Patio--though I went with a wheelbarrow/shovel over the Skid Steer. Never again. – DA01 Apr 23 '13 at 18:57
  • @DA01 how big was the patio? – MDMoore313 Apr 23 '13 at 18:59
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    @MDMoore313 I suppose it depends on your concrete, but I imagine you'd need a high powered impact drill to make easy work of the concrete. The idea, however, is that it's easier to drill a bunch of holes than it is to spend a week with a sledgehammer. – DA01 Apr 23 '13 at 19:34
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    40'X10'X6" is 200 cubic feet. Concrete weighs about 150lb/cu ft. Total weight would be 15 tons. Sure you could use a mere 4" slab and hope no one parks anything really heavy on it, but that calc ignores excavation for the gravel/sand bed. That'll at least double the weight you need to move. 30 tons is more than a couple of trips to the landfill with your 1/2ton pickup. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 23 '13 at 23:43

It depends if you want it to function or function and look good too. DAO1 had a good answer.

I think you asked if hanging blinds is a DIY. On a scale of 1 to 100 hanging blinds is maybe a 10. Doing your driveway is maybe in the upper 80s. DAO1 gave you probably the easiest way to do it. Even doing it this way requires lots of man power, renting lots of tools, and being patient.

You need to figure out how much it will cost to rent these tools in your area, how much manpower you have (I would guess 50 total hours needed), how much materials will cost, and compare this price to having someone pour you a driveway/garage.

Also think about the mistakes you could make - things not being flat or level - and how hard it will be to rectify these mistakes. And then the last thing - how much is your house worth? If a paved driveway will cost 5K and add 4K to the value of your house then you are only out 1K. If you do a sloppy job with pavers - you have spent money and your house might not have any increased value. If your job is done really bad then it could decrease value of the house since there will be more removal.

I am not saying don't do the pavers. I am saying as a DIYer you need to weigh the costs and your ability to do finishing touches. Kind of like someone saying they want granite countertops, should they get a slab and make the countertops themselves?

If this is a starter home and you have 4-5 friends you can count on for a weekend then I might think about it.

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    And if you can get 4-5 friends to help add in the price of a keg, pizza, and advil. – DMoore Apr 23 '13 at 19:13
  • +1, for a minute I thought you were going to tell me granny did this too.... Good point about the countertops, and the diy scale. – MDMoore313 Apr 23 '13 at 19:13
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    I wouldn't help even the granny with this one! Lots of hard work. There would have to be evening entertainment included for me to even think about it. – DMoore Apr 23 '13 at 19:42

Yes. Removing and pouring a concrete driveway can definitely be done by a nonprofessional.

Remove the old material

Move the material that is currently occupying the space, to a different location. Make sure the different location is appropriate for the material, and the owner of that location is aware the material will be moved there.

Prepare for the new material

Make sure the space that previously contained the material that was moved, is ready to receive the material that will replace the material that was removed. This may involve packing down the material below the material that was removed.

Put in the new material

Finally, you'll put the new material into the space that the removed material used to occupy. This may involve adding different types of materials in layers, and possibly preparing each layer of material for the next layer of material.


Now that the previous material has been replaced by new material, you can enjoy your driveway.

  • I agree and I worked for a concrete company in college. But in my area the costs of renting everything would come pretty close to getting someone to do it for you. And even with a background in doing the work I wouldn't do my own garage. Driveway maybe but garage no way. – DMoore Apr 23 '13 at 19:48
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    @DMoore Not everything is about $$$. How do you put a price on the satisfaction I get knowing I did the job myself? – Tester101 Apr 23 '13 at 19:50
  • that is a really good point. Maybe I didn't see the artisan value in a driveway. If it were finishing touches in a house I might see it differently. Interesting to see what % of people are asking questions because they want to do the work or because they need/have to do the work because of $. – DMoore Apr 23 '13 at 20:01
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    Artisan schmartisan. There are very few DIY projects I would not undertake even though I am capable of performing the task. Concrete work involving finishing on any scale is one of them. Pour day is heavy, miserable work, and usually stressful with the mud threatening to quickly turn into a 15 ton useless blob. No thanks. But yeah, can be done. – bcworkz Apr 23 '13 at 21:40
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    assuming your aren't trying to mix, pour, or finish the concrete yourself then this is do-able. all your really responsible for is the site preparation which is easy if you get a skid steer. also might want to hire some one to either stamp your concrete and/or cast pigment directly after the pour. they make casting pigments that not only color the concrete and make it look good but can also transform the top 1/4" to harden to roughly 5500 - 7000 PSI making it incredibly durable. – TugboatCaptain Apr 24 '13 at 10:29

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