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Sorting out the drive and path

I’ve been getting increasingly fed up with the state of the path leading from the drive to the front door, and finally decided that Enough was Enough, and I’d get something done about it. It was made of square concrete slabs, probably about 40cm on a side, and was anything but flat and level. There was a large depression at the drive end, which formed a big puddle every time it rained, and turned to sheet ice in winter. It was getting to the state that I needed to put sturdy boots on just to put the bins out! Further up the path the slabs were so loose that they rocked if you stood on them, and were really becoming quite a trip hazard.

I could have just had the builder relay the existing slabs, but I’ve never liked them. We had the majority of the drive block paved with small dark grey setts when we had the extension built, and I wanted the path relaid to match. It took three men two days to do the work, but they’ve done an excellent job and I’m very pleased with it. It doesn’t quite match the drive, but I think it will once it’s had a chance to weather in a bit. It looks really good, and most importantly it doesn’t wobble and has been laid with a suitable camber so that it drains properly without forming a puddle!

While the builder was here quoting for the pathway, I also asked him to have a look at the sloping part of the drive which goes down onto the road. That’s the only bit of the drive that wasn’t block-paved, and was made of badly rutted and pot-holed concrete. I wanted the holes patched up and filled in. The builder hates doing what he calls a “bodge job”, and tried to convince me that I needed the whole area dug up and completely relaid. I told him that was the wrong answer, it wasn’t going to happen, and he should think again! I only wanted it patched, not completely redone from scratch. He finally conceded that it would be possible to pressure-wash the potholes clean, and to fill them with quick-drying cement. He clearly was uneasy at only doing part of a job, pointing out that it was difficult to know where to stop as there were so many potholes of different sizes. I said that I expected his men to use their professional judgement to do a sensible job within the parameters that I was prepared to pay for, so he reluctantly agreed to give me a quote!

The team filled in the potholes once they’d finished the path. However, the cement wasn’t quite as “quick drying” as they claimed. I took the precaution of phoning up before I left work to check that it would be ok to put the car up on the drive, and was told to wait twenty minutes before coming home, by which time the patches would be firm enough to drive over. In fact I left it over half an hour, but the cement still wasn’t dry and I put an impressive set of tyre tread marks in the newly laid cement! Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard to smooth them over with a bucket of water and a brush, and I resisted the temptation to sign my initials in the cement….. It does all look a bit of a patchwork, but was far more affordable and less fuss than getting the whole slope relaid. It should last a good few years before it needs redoing, by which time it could well be someone else’s problem!