When to Repair Your Driveway

If your concrete is aging, it can be difficult to determine if you should repair it or replace the entire thing. It can be very expensive to replace a driveway, yet repairing methods may not seem like a viable option. So how do you know if you should even try repairing it? Here are some factors to consider to determine whether to repair or replace.

grass growing out of a crack in the concrete

Climate

If you live in a place with freezing and thawing cycles during the winter, your driveway will become damaged more quickly. While damages begin as small cracks that can easily be repaired, larger cracks may soon begin to appear. Repairs in these harsh conditions are temporary, and the driveway will need to be replaced within a few years.

 

In more temperate climates that do not experience this cycle of freezing and thawing, however, driveway repairs are a more permanent solution to driveway cracks and damage because they will not be as worn down by the drastic changes in weather. You may wish to consider concrete driveway repair methods.

 

Age of the Driveway

The age of your driveway has a large impact on whether or not you should repair or replace the concrete. If your driveway is approaching 20 years old, you should consider replacing the entire thing. Trying to patch old concrete can be futile since new cracks will appear again very quickly after you’ve finished patching the old ones. Newer driveways, however, are still worth repairing if the damage isn’t too extensive.

 

Size of Cracking

Another factor that you should consider before choosing a concrete driveway repair method is how wide the concrete cracking is. Cracks that are no wider than a quarter of an inch are easy to fill and repair. However, if cracks are wider than that, or are very deep, you should consider replacing the entire driveway.

 

Some large cracks can be filled with thicker filler. Large holes can also be repaired if they are thoroughly cleaned before the repair. If your driveway has many deep cracks and large holes, it is more economical for you to replace it now instead of risking failed repairs.
 
 

Concrete Driveway Repair Methods

Once you determine that it is time to repair your driveway, you need to consider which concrete driveway repair methods will work best on your driveway. Here is a brief description of some different concrete driveway repair methods that will improve your driveway without having to completely replace it.  

 

Recoloring

a home with a colored driveway

Concrete can start to look aged over time, especially if it originally had color pigment in it. Although it may still be structurally sound, you may want to consider recoloring the concrete in order to increase curb appeal and make your driveway look like new. Recoloring the concrete also creates a great opportunity for you to landscape your front yard to look as beautiful as your recolored driveway.

 

In order to complete this concrete driveway repair method properly, you will first need to remove any existing sealer. Using a stripper, you can remove old sealers and prep the concrete to absorb any new stain you apply. Choose a stain color that complements the color of your house. This stain can be applied with a brush, roller, or strong industrial sprayer. After the stain has dried, apply a fresh coat of sealer to retain the color and protect it for years to come. We recommend that you use a water-based sealer and that you reapply sealer once a year, or every few years, in order to keep your recolored concrete looking new.

 

Engraving

a home with an engraved driveway

When a driveway becomes cracked, it can be more efficient to engrave the concrete to hide the cracks rather than replace the entire driveway. Engraving concrete involves adding patterns, color stains, and etching designs into the concrete to transform cracks into a piece of art. However, unlike overlays, engravings are as durable as the concrete itself once they are applied and can completely reinvent your driveway. Engravings won’t wear away because they are actually carved into the concrete itself.

 

The process of engraving concrete begins with cleaning the driveway and etching it with acid in order to provide a bond for stains. Some cracks are repaired if needed, but most are left untouched to contribute to the overall design of the etching. Concrete is then stained the desired color and engraved. Once this concrete driveway repair method is complete, a sealer is applied to protect the craftsmanship and beauty of the engraving. This process should be performed by professionals and can take anywhere from a few days to a week depending on the size of the area and the extent of existing cracks and damage.

 

Resurfacing

If your driveway has severe cracks or is made of asphalt, it may not be a good candidate for the previously mentioned concrete driveway repair methods. But, you may still not need to replace your driveway. You can salvage your driveway and make it look like new by resurfacing the concrete. Resurfacing concrete involves adding a new layer of asphalt to the surface. This essentially is a cover-up for any visible concrete damage. However, your foundation will still need to have a good foundation or else the new surface will begin to crack as well.

 

In order to resurface a driveway, it should be cleaned with a  pressure washer to remove dirt, oil, and flaking concrete. Next, a concrete resurfacer is mixed and applied to the concrete. A concrete resurfacer is typically a very strong product that adheres well to existing pavement.

 

If you come across large cracks that require intensive work, or if you find that a tree has caused the current cracks in your driveway, contact Aftermath Repair to help you determine the best course of action.

 

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