How To Order Concrete


Concrete is environmentally friendly. It is produced locally and can be made with reclaimed and recycled materials. Concrete is versatile, sustainable, preferred for durability, visually appealing, low maintenance, and emanates quality construction from the first glance.

Concrete does it all. Concrete is not only functional, it also lends itself to a wide variety of design options which can make a dramatic difference in home landscaping plans, as well as enhance and increase property values. Concrete driveways and walkways have become an essential part of a landscaping and outdoor living space plan that imparts an inviting image. The advancements in concrete now offer homeowners a vast variety of texture, color, and patterns that have elevated the anesthetics of concrete driveways and sidewalks to the status of a landscape design element, meeting today's homeowner's exacting demands.

Why have concrete driveways been known to give trouble-free service to homeowners?

The reason is SIMPLE.

Concrete is DURABLE.
Many driveways last for 30 years or more without major maintenance.

Concrete is SUSTAINABLE.
Concrete reduces heat absorption and contamination of our storm water systems.

Just as with many high quality products, concrete costs less over its service life than asphalt or pavers.

From the street to the garage, a personally designed concrete driveway and living spaces welcomes guests to your home, as well as adding enduring quality and value to your home.



Spending time at this stage is always a wise decision that can help to eliminate possible problems later on. One of the first things to consider is the size of your project.

The suggested width for a single-car driveway is 8 to 9 feet. For double width, plan to use 15 to 18 feet. If the distance from the street to a two or more car garage is long enough, the initial entry approach can be of single-car width and then widened near the garage to accommodate all of the car stalls. If space is available, extra parking or a turn-around area can be included. The planning stage is the time to consider adding that concrete patio or porch addition as well.

Regarding your project thickness, non-reinforced pavement 4 inches thick is standard for passenger car driveways. For heavier vehicles, a thickness of 5 inches is recommended. To eliminate standing water, the driveway or patio should slope towards the street a minimum of 1%, or 1/8 inch per foot for proper drainage.




Today's concrete can be formed into practically any shape, texture, pattern, or color. It's a way of adding a new dimension of quality and elegance to your home, at a reasonable cost. Visit for color and pattern ideas.

There are three beautiful options to add color to your concrete driveway, patio, sidewalk, basement floors or even countertops: liquid color, shake-on color and acid stains. Each method produces a different effect and a different level of color integration. All three require special design, preparation and application techniques and should be installed by an experienced, professional contractor.

Cemstone is the first ready-mixed concrete supplier in the Upper Midwest to install state-of-the-art, computer-controlled integral liquid color dispensing equipment. This means you can get a full range of stunning colors that are evenly distributed throughout the entire load of concrete, and even from one load to the next. Liquid color is often called integral color because the col-or is integrated throughout the entire mixture, not just on its surface. Cemstone's touch-screen operated Cam Liquid Color System makes customized colors a breeze and ensures consistent color from batch to batch.

Color hardener is used to add beautiful colorvibrant or subtleinto the surface of freshly placed concrete. It produces long wearing horizontal surfaces ideal for pedestrian or vehicular trafficindoors or out. This topical application uses pre-blended bags of granular color mixtures that give your project a more natural and varied coloration pattern to the finished concrete.

Applied after the concrete has already hardened, penetrating acid stains chemically combine with the concrete to produce one of a kind distinct weathered appearances. Acid Stains are ideal for interior concrete floors, walls and countertops.

Click here to view examples of projects


Open communication between property owners and concrete contractors result in smart buying decisions.


  1. Have a list of questions prepared prior to calling or meeting with contractors.
  2. Always get a minimum of 3 quotes to ensure you are getting a competitive price.

Call Cemstone's Certified installers at 651-686-4203.

  1. Always call the city to ask if a permit is needed and if there are regulations on construction hours.
  2. Require your concrete to be cured immediately after placement and sealed prior to the first winter.
  3. Concrete placements after Oct 1st require additional preparation and precaution. Research cold weather concretint prior to any placement.
  4. No deicing product other than sand or traction grit should be applied until the slab's second winter season.


About the Contractor:

  1. How long have you been in business?
    • Are you registered with the Better Business Bureau?
    • Do you offer financing?
  2. Do you offer financing?
  3. Will you issue a Lien release upon payment
    Unsure of what a Lien, pre-lien, or lien release means?


A mechanic’s lien is a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property.

Notice of Pre-lien is a document notifying the owner of real property that materials or services are being furnished to his real property, putting him on notice that the one sending it would look to have a lien against the real property if those materials or services are not paid for.

A lien waiver  or lien release is a release of a claim of a lien. Such waivers are governed primarily by state laws, which vary by state. Upon signing a lien waiver, all rights to attach a lien to certain property or goods is relinquished.

Definition of a Concrete Flatwork Finisher - a craftsman who has demonstrated the ability to place, consolidate, finish, edge, joint, cure and protect concrete flatwork.

  1. Do you have references or other concrete projects I could see?
  2. Are any of your finishers ACI (American Concrete Institute) certified? If so, Can I have their name(s)? For verification of ACI Certified finishers, Click here
  3. What type of product does your quote include?
    Cemstone offers a performance concrete product called DURA-CRETE® that has been successful since 1989. Its patented composition is scientifically engineered to withstand harsh climates and unforgiving conditions.
  4. What kind of Curing Process will you be using?
  5. What kind of Sealing Process will you be using?



  1. What is your schedule like? When can this be done?
    1. It is not recommended that driveways, patios, sidewalks, steps, etc. be placed after October 1st without special precautions


  1. What is the cost of removing the existing driveway (including the disposal of material)?
  2. Ask what kind of subgrade each contractor recommends putting down. Subgrade should be uniform, providing adequate support to allow drainage.
  3. If the subgrade is in question, contact a Geotechnical Engineer.  There needs to be an adequate subgrade to endure the freeze/thaw cycles we go through each winter.  If it’s not adequate, your driveway can heave and crack.

TIP: Prior to the concrete being placed, the contractor should have the subgrade damp but not saturated.


  1. What is the cost per square foot?
    1. This is the easiest way to evenly compare the contractors.
    2. Request that any specialty items (i.e. finishes, color, etc.) be written out in the quote.
  2. How many cubic yards does my project need? Click here for Cemstone’s Homeowner’s calculator for driveways. (Concrete calculator for driveways only. Convert measurements to cy and sqft.)
  1. What type of concrete aggregate are you proposing for my driveway?
  2. Will these aggregate cause popouts?
  3. How will the contractor reinforce the project?
    1. Options: Fibers, Rebar, Wiremesh
  4. How will the contractor finish the project? What finishing options are available? What do these options cost?
    1. What finishing options are available?
    2. What do these options cost?
  5. What are the dimensions covered by your contractors' proposal?


How will the contractor cure the concrete?
Curing Concrete should begin immediately after final finishing. To increase the durability of the surface and service life of exterior concrete, it must be properly cured and sealed. Properly cured concrete retains the water added at the time of batching to prolong and maximize the hydration process of the concrete. Properly hydrated concrete increases strength, abrasion or freeze/thaw resistance decreases permeability and in turn extended the service life of concrete.

Inadequate curing can result in a significant loss of surface strength.


  1. For minimal popouts (surface defects), request a Class A aggregate such as granite.  Only use gravel when where it has a proven service record..
  2. Strength greater than or equal to 4500psi at 28 days.
  3. Water-Cement ratio of 0.45 or less.
  4. Air content: 5-8%.  (The air is needed to survive our winters)
  5. Thickness:  5” is recommended but 4” is acceptable if the subgrade conditions are ideal.

   6. What is the up charge for adding color to my driveway?

             a.  Click here to see Cemstone’s Intregal Liquid Color Chart.


  1.  Insist that the contractor order 3 c.y. or greater for each load to ensure your driveway matches.
  2. A sample panel should be poured prior to your project is recommended.
  3. Ask to see other driveways with the same color you are considering.  The color will vary from what you see on the printed material based on the materials put into the concrete.
  4. Finishing  – no additional water should be added to these loads as it will skew the color from load to load.  Also request that the finishing be done in the same direction for a consistent look.

7.  What is your curing and sealing process? Click Here

Click here to find your closest Cemstone Contractor Supply Store.

8. Do you have a maintenance program? What do you recommend?


Click here to download PDF of Cemstone's Homeowner's Guide for Concrete Projects

  1. DO NOT use deicers containing ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, or any other sulfate salt.
  2. No deicing product other than plan sand should be applied until the slab’s second winter season.