You might be looking at your concrete driveway, observing the cracks and other deterioration, and wonder if it is time to have it replaced. A typical concrete driveway has a life expectancy of about 30 years or so. But that is not to say that it won’t last longer. Of course, you could encounter problems with your driveway that would require repairs or replacement sooner than the anticipated 30-year mark. While concrete is one of the longest-lasting and economical materials you can utilize for a driveway, it does come with its share of problems. Here are a few problems you might encounter with your concrete driveway and possible solutions to these problems.
Benefits Concrete Offers
It would be best if you didn’t get the idea that a concrete driveway is a wrong choice; this is far from the truth. While concrete hosts its share of problems, there are several benefits it has to offer as well. For example, concrete is long-lasting, and it requires very little maintenance, so you can spend your free time working on other projects instead of dealing with your driveway.
Concrete also has a better load-bearing capacity than other driveway materials, which means you won’t do your driveway harm if you park a heavy trailer on it. Concrete is also highly customizable, and you are only limited to your imagination when trying to choose a good look for your driveway. In terms of texture, you can have a driveway that looks like cobblestone, or you can have a driveway that is made to look like bricks.
Common Concrete Problems
Spalling– Spalling is the peeling away or flaking of the tiny particles of cement at the surface. Fortunately, in most cases, this defect will not affect the lifespan of your driveway, even if left unrepaired. Concrete is porous and will absorb water. Spalling usually occurs when water gets trapped in the concrete and freezes and throws several times. Eventually, this can cause the surface of your driveway to flake and scale off.
Cracking– Why does concrete crack? There is no single answer as there are several reasons why concrete cracks. One reason why concrete cracks is due to excess water in the mix. Concrete will also crack if it dries too quickly. Finally, concrete will also crack if there is settlement that could be caused by water erosion or tree roots.
Discoloration– Discoloration is the change of color or hue of the concrete surface, and it occurs when there are inconsistencies in materials. While it is not aesthetically pleasing, it will not affect the integrity or lifespan of the driveway. Discoloration can also occur when something is spilled on your driveway and causes a stain.
Sinking– There are several reasons that can cause your concrete driveway to sink, and most have to do with the soil. If the soil underneath your driveway isn’t properly compacted, it could settle and cause sinking. If there is water that moves under the concrete driveway, it can wash away soil, and that could cause sinking. Finally, unsupported concrete slabs might slip away from the other sections and result in a sinking slab.
Pitting– There are several reasons why pitting could occur on concrete driveways. In some cases, it could be caused by abuse or misuse of the driveway, or it could happen simply due to the aging process. Other reasons for pitting include salt that is applied to concrete in the winter, the changes in the weather and temperatures, and improper finishing techniques.
How to Deal with Concrete Problems
Several of the problems that can occur in a concrete driveway can be caused by improper installation. The best way to avoid these potential problems is by ensuring you hire a quality cement contractor with knowledge and experience in their trade. Therefore, it is crucial that you hire the right contractor for your driveway, one who is reputable and has plenty of positive reviews. This guide to hiring the right contractor for your project is a very helpful and informative article and will help you through the process.
If your concrete driveway is spalling, you could have it patch with a color-matching compound, or you could have it resurfaced with an overlay. The last resort is to have the driveway repoured. Cracks in your concrete driveway can be repaired by using a repair product at your home improvement store. However, if the cracks are too big, you will have to have your driveway repaired by a professional.
There are several ways in which you can repair discolored cement. You can hide unsightly blotches with a tinted sealer found at your home improvement center. You can also have your entire driveway stained or colored; this will cover up the blotches and make your driveway look new again. If the discoloration is a stain, like oil from a leaking car, your best solution is to scrub it out. Here is a handy article that will guide you through the process of cleaning stains from your concrete surface.
You can help prevent sinking concrete by ensuring your gutters are clean and in good working order, so you don’t have excess water getting under your driveway and washing soil away. You will also want to ensure any trees in your yard aren’t too close to your driveway and cause problems.
If you are experiencing any of these problems with your driveway and don’t know what to do or if you have questions about them, please feel free to give us a call, and we will be happy to help in any way we can.