Why Driveway Repair Is Necessary
Concrete driveway surfaces work hard due to the heavy weight of vehicles and the elements. This wear can lead to cracking, holes, sunken sections, and poor drainage. Driveway Repair Charleston SC can save money over replacing it with new material and improve functionality and curb appeal. Isolated cracks, small potholes, and thin cracks resembling alligator scales can be repaired through localized patches and fillers.
Everyone hates to see the dreaded cracks start to appear in their driveway. Not only do they look unsightly, but they also make for easy entry points for snow melt and salt that can damage the surface of your driveway. If you don’t keep on top of them, they can even get so big that they begin to deform the shape of your driveway.
Hairline cracks less than 1/4-inch wide usually don’t indicate serious underlying problems, but if water gets into them and repeatedly freezes and expands, they can start to grow. A sealant can fill these cracks and protect the surface from water, ice, and salt.
Larger cracks that extend all the way across a section of your driveway are considered structural and will likely require repair with a concrete service. Wide, jagged cracks accompanied by heaving may indicate that your entire driveway slab needs replacement.
Driveway cracks can develop for a variety of reasons, most commonly due to ground movement and shifts in moisture content that cause the gravel or sand base to move under your driveway. The changes can be caused by the freezing and thawing cycles of the seasons, or it may be due to poor installation that allowed the soil under your driveway to pull away from the concrete.
In these cases, it is best to call in a professional. The expert can dig out the old material and replace it with a fresh layer of asphalt that will prevent the cracks from recurring.
Cracks along the edges of your driveway can often be repaired with a concrete repair product that contains an acrylic resin. These types of products can be poured into the cracks and spread with a trowel until it is level with the existing surface. Once the repair has been made, it is best to wait several hours before driving or walking on it.
Some of these products are textured to blend in with your driveway, disguising the fact that there were ever cracks to begin with. For the best results, use a concrete repair product that is designed for outdoor use and follow the application instructions on the label.
If your driveway has holes, whether they are a few inches deep or as big as an SUV, you should repair them. Not only are they unsightly, but hitting them while driving can damage your car or lead to serious tire problems.
Most of the time, these holes are caused by water displacement. Water from melting snow or water from rain can push the aggregate in dirt and gravel driveways out of place, leaving a hole that gets bigger as the freeze/thaw cycle does its work. When this happens, it is difficult to stop the process, but you can prevent the holes from getting any larger by taking care of them as soon as you notice them.
For smaller holes, use a concrete filler compound. This is typically available in tubes that can be used with a caulking gun. It is not as durable as a sealer, but it will provide a quick fix until you can get the area repaired by a professional.
To prepare the area for the compound, remove any debris that is stuck in the cracks or holes. Then, sweep the area to remove dirt, dust, or other debris that could interfere with the bonding process. If there are any weeds growing in the area, spray them with a weed killer that is safe for driveways. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how long you should let the weed killer take effect before moving on to the next step.
For deeper holes, dig out the loose material until you reach the subsoil level. Then, fill the area with a paver base until it is about 2 inches above the finished grade. Use a tamper to compact the base as you work, making sure to add more material as needed to make the area as flat as possible. Once the area is filled, drive a vehicle over it to further compact the material and test out the repair. This will also give you a good idea of how much more material is needed for the final repair. For the final touches, sand or grind down any rough areas of the compound to create a smooth surface.
Unlike surface cracks and potholes, sunken sections in your driveway indicate structural problems. Often, these areas experience water pooling, further damaging the material. This can lead to icy patches, algal growth, and eventually structural damage that requires costly repairs. Sunken sections are not only unsightly, but they can also create a trip hazard for your family and guests, as well as cause damage to cars as people drive over them.
Typically, driveway sinkage occurs from soil erosion and drainage issues. It can also be exacerbated by the movement of tree roots and the expansion or contraction of clay soils under a concrete driveway. If your home sits on a slope and your gutters are directing rainwater toward your driveway, this can also contribute to a sinking concrete or asphalt surface.
Newly developed homes may also be prone to sinking driveways, especially if the site was not properly prepared before building took place. This can be caused by ground shifts or subsurface problems that were not identified during the construction process.
In some cases, a driveway that is sinking due to frost heaves can be corrected using a process called slab jacking. This method involves injecting a specialized mixture under the driveway to lift it back into place. This is less expensive than pouring new concrete and can be done with minimal disruption to your property.
If your driveway is suffering from spalling, this is another sign that it is time to call in a professional for repair work. This type of damage happens when the thin layers of your concrete or brick driveway break apart, revealing deeper layers beneath. This can happen from weathering or the freeze/thaw cycle, or it can be caused by chemical burns from salt mixtures used to de-ice your driveway.
The cost of repairing your driveway will depend on the extent of the damage and how much area needs to be repaired. A complete replacement is usually the most expensive option, but this is sometimes the best choice if your driveway is in severe disrepair. Some repairs, however, can be accomplished for a fraction of this price if the problem is addressed early.
The edges of asphalt driveways aren’t as sturdy as the surface itself, and if they’re not dressed properly, they can crack and crumble. Adding landscape fabric or hardscape material, like crushed stone or gravel, is the best way to address this issue. It helps the driveway retain its strength, as well as providing a transition from the pavement to the lawn or garden.
A driveway with chipped or broken edges isn’t just unsightly, but it can also lead to more serious problems if left unaddressed. These issues can be caused by heavy traffic, weather conditions, or even accidental damage.
Taking steps to prevent this damage can save you a lot of money in the long run, as a damaged driveway requires more frequent repairs than one that is properly maintained. To keep your driveway looking its best, clean it regularly with a pressure washer or garden hose, and use a broom to eliminate dirt, leaves, and debris. In addition, keeping the weight of vehicles off the asphalt will help it last longer, as it is more prone to damage from excessive weight.
Another common sign that your driveway is in need of repair is the appearance of stains or spills. These can be caused by oil, grease, chemicals, or any other substances that seep into the surface of the concrete. Stains should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid them spreading and becoming more difficult to remove later on.
If your driveway is a bit uneven, it may be due to settling or shifting of the ground beneath it. This can cause people to trip and fall or damage their vehicle’s suspension. To fix this issue, patch holes and cracks with a polymer patch repair material, applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While these issues may seem minor, if you don’t take action, they could worsen over time and result in costly repairs for your home. For this reason, it’s important to be vigilant and catch any signs of damage to your concrete driveway as early as possible so you can make timely repairs and enjoy your property for years to come.