How to Repair Cracks in a Concrete Driveway
Cracks appearing in driveways is one problem most homeowners are familiar with. Cracks are not only unsightly and unnatural, they can cause significant damage if left unrepaired. While a lot of people are likely to ignore cracks at first because of their deceptive minor appearances, cracks have been observed to actually cause severe damage if left unattended.
The common types of cracks that may appear in driveways have been summed up to be:
These are the most common types of cracks that occur in driveways and typically occur when small shifts in the ground cause shifting of the concrete material. This causes the top layer to crack and chip away, exposing a rougher surface underneath. These cracks are typically easy to repair by filling them with a specialized sealant or concrete patching paste.
Vertical or horizontal cracks
These are more serious types of driveway cracks, as they indicate a more serious shifting of the material below. These cracks should be repaired by first clearing away loose materials and then filling the crack with a specialized hot-pour rubberized sealant or concrete patching material.
Cracks caused by tree roots
Sometimes, an excavation might be done before paving a driveway, but it is not always that all parts of the tree root system are fully uprooted. These tree roots that are left unattended can cause extensive damage to your driveway if not addressed, as they grow in size and extend inside the asphalt surface. The only option is to dig out these roots and install a new driveway section.
Sinking or Shifting Cracks
If you notice your driveway sinking at one end, it could be caused by several factors, including an underground spring, the buildup of hydrostatic pressure underneath the concrete, or improper compaction of the base layer. If, however, your driveway is still relatively new and it is experiencing a shift, it could be an indication that it was not properly constructed.
Cracks caused by aging
No matter how well your driveway is constructed, the truth is that it will not last forever, and cracks might be one of the signs that your driveway is finally caving to the wear and tear that comes with aging. When cracks begin to appear over time, this is a sign that the driveway needs some repair. Filling in these cracks can be done by using an epoxy filler or patching materials, but it may not last long if the underlying base is deteriorating.
Causes of Concrete Driveway Cracks
Here are some common causes of the cracks in your driveway:
When there is too much weight on the driveway, this can cause cracks and also cause it to sink in some places, which causes an uneven surface. This can be caused by keeping heavy vehicles stationary during rainy periods or leaving a parked car for long periods of time without moving it out-of-the-way first.
Standing water or snow on a driveway can cause it to shift and crack over time because the ground beneath is not stable enough to take the weight. When there are drastic weather changes, this also causes cracks in concrete driveways as the materials expand and contract at different rates. This can lead to heaving in some areas and sinking in others.
This is perhaps one of the most common causes of cracks in driveways. A poorly prepared surface, either by the homeowner or a contractor, can cause cracks and uneven spots because it was not flat or properly compacted before concrete was poured. This is a common reason why some contractors try to blame homeowners for driveway cracks and other damage because they did not take the time to do it right. And unfortunately, if the homeowner does not have experience with concrete preparation, he may be unable to tell if a contractor is taking shortcuts or doing their best work.
Poor Materials and Workmanship
If a driveway is constructed using poor and inferior materials, this might lead to cracks and uneven areas. To avoid this, consider hiring a contractor that uses high-quality materials and is experienced with those materials. Keep in mind that some companies might not use the best materials, but they could still be good at what they do. For example, a company may have more experience with concrete but will only use it if homeowners request it.
An Unsafe Work Environment
Contractors who do not take safety precautions could put others at risk and cause property damage. For example, they may need to use heavy equipment and should be sure to properly secure that equipment so it doesn’t end up breaking the driveway they came to work on.
The best way to get the best is always to check out resources to see what contractors have earned good reviews from other customers. When evaluating potential contractors, talk to the experts in charge of the project to ask about their experience with that type of work, the safety precautions they take, and any special needs that might arise. When you have a good contractor on your side, you can rest easy knowing the project will be completed on time and that everyone’s safety is a top priority.
How to Repair Cracks in a Concrete Driveway
Here are the ways you can repair the cracks in your concrete driveway and get your driveway as good as new.
One of the most popular methods of repairing cracks in concrete driveways is epoxy injection. This involves drilling a small hole into the crack and injecting an epoxy resin into it. The resin will harden, permanently sealing the crack. While this type of repair might not be as effective for larger cracks or those that are deeper or wider, it is a quick and easy method that can be used on small cracks.
Concrete Crack Filler
However, if you do have larger cracks in your driveway, you may need to completely resurface the concrete. This will involve either removing and replacing sections of your driveway or simply adding a new layer over top of the existing one. The products available for the job come in a number of forms, and they provide a range of outcomes. The materials that are more accessible and less expensive perform less well, as you might anticipate. Just like the majority of house repairs, the greatest results are typically obtained by using higher quality materials and a little more effort.
A caulking-like compound promoted for sealing concrete cracks falls into this less expensive category. It is often offered in a squeeze bottle or a caulking tube, and is applied by simply squeezing it into the cracks. Despite the fact that every crack will be filled to the level of the driveway, after just two years, the cracks are mostly likely to return, and sometimes they are far worse than before.
The best way to use a concrete crack filler is to remove sections of the driveway that are affected and resurface them all over again. This is a more expensive option, but it will ensure the crack is completely repaired and that no further damage can occur.
No matter which method you choose to use for repairing cracks in your concrete driveway, it is important to take action as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more severe the damage will become and the greater the cost of repair will be.
Preparations to Fill Concrete Cracks
The surface must be spotless and clear of any stray debris. For bigger operations, a pressure washer is the best equipment, although a regular garden hose can work just fine for small gaps.
Start by washing the entire driveway or, if there is only a small crack that has to be filled, a sizable area surrounding the crack. Before you have a chance to fix the crack, you don’t want any more soil or gravel blown into it. Blow out every scrap of material from the fracture with a pressure washer or hose set to the smallest stream setting. The loose debris that the washing won’t remove may be chipped away with an old screwdriver and hammer. A weed burner or portable propane torch can be used to burn out any obstinate growth before making sure that all vegetation is gone. If there is even a tiny piece of loose concrete, it needs to be removed using a chisel.
After removing the smallest pieces of dirt from the crevices, wash the surface once more, being careful not to merely wash the particles back into the cracks. Now you’re ready to go.
Materials Needed in a Concrete Driveway Cracks Project
These are some materials that you will need as you repair the cracks in your concrete driveway.
- Concrete repair compound or filler, such as hydraulic cement.
- Chisel and hammer or other tool for breaking out old mortar or concrete patches.
- Wire brush or stiff bristle brush to clean the surface of the driveway.
- Large trowel, chisel, or scraper for applying concrete repair compound.
- Tarp to protect plants and landscaping around the driveway.
- Plastic or metal sheet to cover the repair area and prevent moisture from seeping into the concrete.
- Protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and a dust mask.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Repairing Cracks in a Concrete Driveway
Severity of Damage
The cost of repairing cracks in a concrete driveway will depend on the size and severity of the cracks, as well as the type of materials and equipment used for the repair. If your concrete driveway has only minor cracks or surface damage, you can often make simple repairs yourself using basic tools and supplies like a trowel, patching compound, cleaning solvent, and sealant. These materials typically cost less than $50, and DIY repairs are usually quick and easy to complete.
However, if your driveway has major cracks or other damage, you may need to hire a professional concrete repair contractor. These contractors use specialized equipment and advanced materials to restore your driveway quickly and effectively, often at a cost of $100-$200 or more per square foot.
Costs of Materials
Any project involving the building of concrete is impacted by the cost of materials, supplies, and the accompanying shipping fees.
The cost of a project depends on the local labor rates or pay that the state specifies. However, the adoption of construction timesheet software by comparable solution providers like Raken will ensure that the bill for these rates is calculated accurately. This software enables construction workers to digitally log their time on the project, enabling a proper labor cost.
Most cement contractors claim that if site circumstances aren’t suitable, project costs may unexpectedly increase. Here are a few examples: poor soil quality; wetlands; contaminants; utility problems; environmental problems; and traffic problems.
Cement contractors in and around the States often set aside 10% of the overall budget as a contingency reserve to meet unanticipated expenses. A greater contingency of between 15% and 20% may be necessary, nevertheless, due to inflation and a shortage of materials and supplies.
Average Cost of Repairing Your Concrete Driveway
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$200 or more for professional repair services, or between $10-$50 for DIY repairs using basic tools and supplies.
DIY/Professional Repair Services
Even if DIY repair is a possibility, it’s vital to remember that fixing gaps is more complicated and specialized labor than you may assume. In order to do this, it could be a good idea to contract with a qualified contractor for these repairs. Be cautious, though, if you get proposals for a few hundred dollars to fix driveway cracks. In order to fill cracks, they must first be opened up, sanded, prepared, and then filled. Time and expert craftsmanship are required for this. Reputable professionals that perform that kind of work will charge more than a few hundred dollars, even if the repair work is less expensive than installing a new slab.
In addition, driveway assurance is a significant concern. Many contractors will provide a guarantee on driveway construction projects. However, they won’t for driveway repairs. Concrete driveways with big, many, deep, or cracked holes as well as drainage problems will ultimately need to be replaced. Patching might give you some time and delay a replacement by a few years, but it will require hard labor on your part for DIY projects and a financial commitment if you hire expert professionals. It should unquestionably be replaced if the concrete has a full crack.