Repairing your driveway can be a simple DIY project for the weekend or can require a professional concrete contractor There are different levels of repairs that can be done, and it depends on the type of cracks or damages your concrete driveway has.
Many of the steps in repairing concrete driveways depend on the type of cement you are using to fill the cracks. Some concrete mixes can take hours or even days to set completely, and others are fully set and usable in less than an hour.
The easiest solution to a stable driveway without cracks is maintaining your concrete driveway the best you can. Everything you do, from driving to snow shoveling, impacts the integrity of the concrete. By limiting stresses on the surface, you can significantly extend the life of your concrete.
Here is how to repair and maintain your concrete driveway:
Knowing when to repair your concrete driveway is essential to ensuring the longevity of the surface. If small cracks are repaired when they first appear, it is much easier to do and will prevent them from causing more problems later.
Filling small cracks before they grow larger is essential to driveway maintenance. If you put off the repairs until the gaps are too large to readily fill, you could end up spending a much larger sum of money on repairs or replacement for your driveway. A flexible concrete is best to allow it to move with the surface of the crack, not to make it expand farther.
If you have cracks that are between ¼ of an inch and an inch, you can probably still repair these cracks and not have them worsen over a short amount of time. If your driveway is exposed to repeated freezing temperatures, the filler may cause damage over time if it is an inflexible type of concrete.
Large or Uneven Cracks:
Cracks that are jagged or uneven are the most difficult to repair. Repairs can be made, but it may require a professional to do the work. Unlevel cracks caused by tree roots or shifting ground need to be ground down to a level surface before filling to ensure the best results.
Know when it’s time to repair your driveway. Your driveway is reliant on you to keep it clean and sturdy. The following steps are a quick guide on how to prevent damaging your concrete from the start. If you follow as many of these tips as possible, your concrete will likely last longer and save you money over time.
Seal the Concrete:
Concrete is a porous material and needs to be sealed annually to maintain its strength. You can seal your concrete yourself, but it is crucial that you follow the directions on the packaging to ensure the process is done correctly. When ready to seal your concrete, check the weather forecast in your area to avoid sealing before rain or snow.
Concrete driveways are notorious for having stains and spills that are not cared for immediately, if at all. Many driveways have stains from oil or other chemicals, and these can damage the concrete beyond repair. While cleaning an oil stain may not seem like the most exciting way to spend an hour or two, it will go a long way in saving you money overall.
It may seem counterintuitive not to park on the driveway, but heavy loads stress the material and lead to cracks and damage. If you must park on the driveway, avoid parking near the edges, and these are the weakest points. Park in the middle of the driveway away to reduce stress and strain on the edges.
As mentioned previously, concrete is a porous material, and constant water exposure can seep into the concrete and damage it from within. If possible, redirect runoff spouts away from the concrete and directly into the gutter or the yard. Please note that rinsing your driveway to keep it clean will not damage the surface, only prolonged exposure.
If you have the opportunity to choose where trees are planted in relation to your driveway, ensure they are placed far enough away to prevent roots from damaging the concrete. A large tree next to a driveway can cause major cracks that are not repairable and can result in needing an entirely new driveway.
Avoid Deicing Chemicals:
If you live in a colder climate, you are likely familiar with the process of deicing. Chemicals such as road salt and other chemicals can damage the concrete over time. This leaves the concrete weaker and prone to damages. Cracked concrete is especially susceptible to cold temperatures as water can penetrate the cracks and freeze, causing the cracks to expand.