Driveways are one of the most used parts of a home or a building that is why it should be durable and free from damage for many years. For this reason, concrete driveways are an excellent option if you want a driveway that can stay in good condition for a significant number of years. However, just because concrete is durable doesn't mean it's not vulnerable to environmental factors and other damages. The good news is that several concrete repairs can solve the problem.
Concrete Driveway Problems and Solutions
Driveway problems come in various forms, and there are different methods to fix them.
Cracks are the most common concrete problems and not just for driveways. Small cracks can be fixed using a compound and some tools that are available at local hardware stores.
Concrete Driveway Crack
Concrete driveway cracks should be given attention to as soon as you see it to prevent more significant problems. When doing small repairs, make sure to follow what's indicated in the product label strictly. Wide and uneven cracks should be dealt with immediately because it could mean structural problems. Big cracks like this can be unsightly and dangerous. If your driveway feels uneven when you step on it or appears to be crumbling, it can mean that it needs to be repaired right away. It is always recommended to seek assistance from professionals about replacement and resurfacing of driveways. They will be able to identify whether a crack can be solved my simple sealing or if it needs more than that. Why do concrete driveways crack? It can be inevitable over time. However, it can occur sooner because of wrong installation and issues with the foundation.
Another driveway issue is sunken concrete where you can notice the surface of your driveway starts to sink. It can be brought about by low-quality of the concrete mixture or due to heavyweight. Remember that residential driveways are not meant for heavy trucks and can be damaged by it. If you have sunken concrete, a professional concrete contractor can drill small holes on the concrete's surface and fill it with a mixture to increase the height back to normal. For cooler areas, frost heave caused by moisture in the ground can be common. It typically leads to cracks and uneven surface. In cases like this, concrete replacement is an ideal remedy.
Choosing Between Driveway Resurfacing and Driveway Replacement
Concrete Driveway Resurfacing
If you are looking for a long-term solution for your concrete driveway problems, resurfacing is an excellent choice. First, inspect the concrete and assess how many cracks and how wide and deep they are. Deep and large cracks may need more than simple repairs and require resurfacing.
How much does it cost to resurface a concrete driveway?
With concrete driveway repairs, contractors generally consider the size of the driveway. On average, driveway resurfacing can cost $5 to $7 per square foot. Driveway resurfacing is a quicker and cheaper alternative to installing a new driveway. If you opt for decorative overlay, it can cost $7 to $12 per square foot. Resurfacing involves pouring a new layer over the damaged concrete to make a better-looking and even driveway.
Concrete Driveway Repair
It is best to leave the job to professional concrete contractors because resurfacing requires skills and precision throughout the process.
Concrete Driveway Replacement
If you have a driveway that is older than 20 years old, it is best to have it replaced than resurfaced. Usually, old driveways suffer from larger cracks and damaged foundations that can no longer be fixed by resurfacing. You may even inspect hazardous holes and cracks and more severe issues with an uneven surface with older concrete driveways. Driveway replacement is done by removing the top layer and digging a new foundation.
How much does it cost to replace a concrete driveway?
Like concrete driveway resurfacing, contractors also look at the size of the area that needs replacement. It usually ranges from $8 to $10 per square foot. A good foundation is crucial for a concrete driveway. If the foundation is compromised, the problem will keep occurring, and you need to have it repaired again and again. Simple repairs will only last for some time, and the problem resurfaces again. If you know the difference between driveway resurfacing and driveway replacement, you can be guided as to which option is best for your repair requirements.
How to Maintain Your Driveway
Weather changes, pressure from the weight, and other factors can affect the condition of your driveway throughout the years. This is where the importance of maintenance comes into play. With regular maintenance, your concrete driveway can last for many years with nominal issues on cracks and other damages. Power washing with the right pressure is an effective way to clean your concrete driveway. Resealing is also an excellent way to help your concrete look its best for many years.
Get rid of oil and gas stains right away because they can lead to severe damages to existing cracks.
If possible, do not use harsh chemicals that contain ammonium nitrates and sulfates on your concrete because they can harm the overall quality of your concrete driveway.
Concrete driveways will eventually experience deterioration over the years due to natural factors and wear and tear. The first step to identifying the best repair method that is fit to your driveway is to assess the extent of the damage. You can take care of small cracks on your concrete driveway using tools and products that are locally available. In extreme cases, it is best to hire a professional concrete contractor to perform resurfacing or replacement on your driveway. These experts will consider the size of the area, the material needed, and the design of the concrete to come up with the final pricing. If you prefer a new design or color for your driveway, we recommend resurfacing. However, if the issue is as bad as structural damage, replacement is the best repair method to use.
Keep in mind that no repair will be successful without identifying the root cause of the problem. The issue will just come back, which means more expensive cost on your part.
To keep the quality of your concrete driveway, professional concrete contractors recommend routine maintenance.
There is no doubt that concrete is strong and durable. However, if not correctly installed, it can still get cracks and damages. Cracks in your concrete don't only cause an eyesore, but it can also take from the overall value of your home. Concrete repairs are easy that is why we recommend you giving it a try. If you are looking for a DIY material to help you with the repair, the most recommended product to use is Epoxy. It is a 2-component polyurethane polymer that doesn't need routing. Epoxy is ideal for filling hairline cracks, can be applied in freezing temperatures, and is stronger than concrete; that is why it is best to use for repair. However, you have to remember that repairs can only be a temporary solution, depending on the root cause of the problem.
Common Reasons for Cracked Concrete
Sub-base Issue- A crack can be the result of concrete that wasn't appropriately compacted. Concrete will accumulate in one area instead of spreading evenly across the entire concrete. The concrete will eventually try to even itself out which will lead to cracks.
Cold Temperatures- The cold weather brought by the winter season can be concrete's worst enemy. When the dirt accumulated under concrete freezes, it can lift the concrete and expand. The pressure coming from the expansion can then lead to cracks.
Shrinking- It is natural for concrete to shrink when it dries. However, when the mixture was not cured correctly, or there was too much water, concrete will crack when it shrinks. One way to prevent concrete from cracking when it dries is by cutting expansion joints into the floor.
Whatever the reason for the cracks in your concrete, repairing it can be a band-aid solution. If there is an issue with the sub-base, there may be a need to remove and redo it. If you repair the crack, it may solve the problem for a few months, but the problem will resurface after some time. A crack that is caused by the cold, you may not need to think about it until the next winter. If the problem is due to shrinkage, there may be a need for a permanent repair.
How to Repair the Crack
Once you're done with the process and you are still not satisfied with the result, you may want to consider hiring a professional concrete contractor to handle the job for you.